Dear copywriter of the Boden catalogue (see here), I welcome you to a brave new world where Females start every adventure with a pair of very fast legs, fellow mischief-makers and clothes are made to get muddy. They fill their pockets with moss, rocks and 100% grit. This is the way to the Womens Weekly trail round up.
Okay here we go; it is that time of the year when I don't only get daily reminders of how far we still have to come for young girls to feel they own their right to adventures but also of why I steer away from signing up for UK based races in the winter months. The conditions in Blighty were not kind for tackling trails over the past seven days. Lets start with the action beneath the clouds hanging over the western cliffs of Kernow;
ARC OF ATTRITION - 50 miles / 2560 m and 100 miles / 5190m
This is the event that really challenges that previously mentioned pledge each year. The trails of the South- and North West coast of Cornwall are IMHO some of the finest of this queendom, they are rugged, undulating and come with some stunning views, well if the weather is kind enough to give you clear skies that is … The 100 mile course of the Arc starts down south in Coverack where it takes the runners along the SW coast path through the Lizard Peninsula and onwards to the country's most western point at Lands End. From there it continues through Poldark territory towards St Ives and then along the steep cliffs of the North West to the Finish line in Porthtowan. The little brother race starts from the Minarck Theatre in Porthcurno and follows the same path as the main course. The full and half Arcs runs on a way-marked course but are largely self- navigated and supported races with an average of 20 miles between the check points. Not an easy feat in the best of weathers and in the worst of weathers ... well lets just say you need a bit more than flowers in your Gore Tex pocket to get through.
Centurion regular Laura Swanton (https://www.instagram.com/lauralovestorun8/)won this years edition of the Arc 100 with a stellar performance, she held the lead position from the start through a variety of weather conditions and when she came into the finish it was in a position of 7th runner OA and a time of 26:48:13. She was initially told that she’d broken the course record, but alas they the organisers then corrected themselves to confirm that she’d missed it by a tantalising 15minutes. Impressive start to the year of Swanton who finished her 2018 by winning the Autumn 100. Second lady home was experienced runner Anna Troup who when she is not busy tackling UTMB courses is another Centurion frequenter and last year we saw her win the Thames Path 100. In third place was Sharon Spriggs from Carlisle Tri Club with a finishing time of 30:42:51.
On the 50 mile course the local ladies were dominating a hale plagued race with Emily Cook taking an eleven minute victory over Sally Crabb in second. In third place, forty-five minutes behind Crabb was Jennifer Forbes.
1.Emily Cook 11:30:14
2. Sally Crabb 11:41:54
3. Jennifer Forbes 12:26:44
1. Laura Swanton 26:48:13 (7th OA)
2. Anna Troup 27:35:07
3. Sharon Spriggs 30:42:51
<GB> Thanks to Laura Swanton for supporting the WRR and getting in touch to correct us about the course record. Go get it next year!
9 DRAGONS ULTRA 50/50
Yes readers, another Hong Kong race to cast our sun yearning eyes over whilst waiting for the mud to dry. The 9 Dragons Ultra runs over two days on two courses with two different distances. It starts at the 00.00 klaxon on the Saturday with a 50 mile and 5000 m elevation gain trail race and finishes with 50 k and another 3500 meters of climbing on the Sunday. This is a rather new race but its already getting recognition as being notoriously hard and judging by the results the rumours speaks the truth. Experienced US elite runner and all around legend Magdalena Boulet won the ladies race with a total time of 22:18:41, she spent 13:45 of that on the first 50 miles. That in it self tells of a very gnarly course. Second fastest female over the two combined courses was local runner Jcy Ho in 24:24:451 and coming in as third with a total time of 25:32:23 was Christine Woon from Malaysia.
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Today I became the 9th dragon after conquering the 8 dragons (peaks on the course). The back to back 50miler & 50k race provided stunning views and also over 8600 meters of climbing. I earned each view for sure. Physically this was a very challenging course for me and mentally I had to work hard to keep moving towards the finish line. There were many moments where the stairs looked like an ideal place to sit and just enjoy the view. I resisted and then I got chased by an angry wild monkey 🐒. What a weekend. Thank you @the9dragonsultra for this awesome challenge and congratulations to everyone who raced. You are magical Hong Kong 🇭🇰 #guforit #womenwhofly #timetofly #stancerun #exploreperfection #trails #endurance #ultras #trailrunning #hongkong #run #runningcommunity #stairs #steps #stones #the5050 #the9dragons
ROCKY RACCOON 100, 100 miles / 1638 m
The fast 4 X 50 mile looped course of the RR 100 used to play host for the US 100 mile national trail championships and attract a long list of big name soil-churners to its start line. This championship free 2019 edition was seriously lacking on big numbers of elite legs in the womens race and the winner and sole sub 20-finisher (this is a fast course) was the for me unknown Maria Sylte. She finished in 19:19 with more than 90 minutes down to second female finisher Julija Soryte and with nearly 2 and a half hours on Jessica Hardy in third.
1. Maria Sylte 19:19
2. Julija Soryte 20:56
3. Jessica Hardy 21:48
GRIZEDALE 26, 42 km /1100m
Before you register for this classic trail marathon running over an undulating course through the Grizedale Forest you might want to consider taking that 'no winter races in UK' vow of mine. The combination of the Lake District and the month of February is, as this years edition of the race proved, synonymous with S**t weather. This does not stop some incredible people from signing up and busting out great performances however. Kate Morris won the women's race in a blistering 3:57:22 which saw her land on 4th in the OA rankings. Not far behind in 4:07 and 7th OA was Lorraine Slater. Third lady through the ice covered forests of the lakes was Louise Winter in 4:15.
1.(4OA) Kate Morris 3:57:22
2.(7OA) Lorraine Slater 4:07:13
3. Louise Winter 4:15:44
TARAWERA ULTRAMARATHON 100 miles / 100 km
It is time for the second race in this years UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour) Series this weekend and in contrast to Rocky Racoon the line up of New Zealands biggest race of the year is looking as good as its scenery. Lining up for the 100 k course is a big chunk of Americas top 20 trail elites; Meghan Laws, Amanda Basham, Sally McRae AND Courtney Dauwalter. Camille Heron is on the starting list for the 100 mile race but seeing that she was in a car accident landing her in a hospital bed last week I'm not sure she will be running (imagine if she is but decides to drop town to the 100 k though …. OOOOF). There are a bunch of strong Australian runners on the starting list for the 100 k race as well, Alana Vought and Jess Carroll could both contend for podium places and lets not forget about local lass Cecilia Flori who DNF'ed last year and will be hungry for a revenge on home trails.
I could not find an official list of elite runners for the 2019 edition of this 6 day stage race across the jungle of Costa Rica but the social media rumours are speaking of appearances by both previous winner Elisabet Barnes and the Salomon sponsored bad ass Ida Nilsson, now that sounds intriguing enough to get me to the livetracker!
IN OTHER NEWS
The team for the 2019 ITRA Trail World Championship was announced by British Athletics last week and the ladies squad is looking STRONG and smells of noble metals!
Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn (Twitter @katieboden4)
Jo Meek (Insta @running_squirrel)
Charlotte Morgan (power of 10 profile)
Holly Page (insta @hollyapage)
Jasmin Paris (Twitter @jasminkparis)
Georgia Tindley (insta @gtindley)
I dare say that this is the strongest team that GB has had for many years and I can't wait to see what this bunch of crushers will do over the course in Mirandha do Corvo in Portugal come June! We will be back with a closer look at the six runners previous performances closer to race day.