A couple of big races took place this past weekend and as always there were many story lines that emerged. A couple that stood out to me
Ryan Sandes's 100 Mile Debut
South African Ryan Sandes won the Leadville 100 miler with the 3rd fastest time in the race's 28 year history. Yeah, that little race in Colorado that attracts one of the largest fields of any North American 100 miler. The race with a low point of 9,600 feet, and a high point of 12,620 while cresting Hope Pass...twice. That little race where the two fastest times ahead of this 100 mile rookie's performance are Matt "The Lung" Carpenter and Anton "My Bones Heal Faster Than Yours" Krupicka.
It's not like Sandes is inexperienced by any stretch of the imagination though, as he's the only person to ever sweep the Racing The Planet stage racing series. That does little to diminish the shocking caliber of his 100 mile debut however. And, if you happen to be keeping tabs, yes that another Salomon victory this year, and yes that's the 4th major US race to be won by an 'out of towner' since December.
NF 50 Champs - Heras
WS 100 - Jornet
Hardrock - Chorier
Leadville - Sandes
Can a U.S. runner finally snag victory at the most competitive race of the year, starting in France on Friday evening? (and yes my heart bleeds just a little bit every time I think about missing out on that starting line)
Dave Mackey Back Atop UROY 2011 Voting?
Dave Mackey got back to form again on the weekend by breaking yet another course record. This time at the Waldo 100k in Oregon. This one is summed up nicely right on their homepage: It is not a beginner-level ultra and participation in the race should not be taken lightly.
Dave shaved just over four minutes off of Erik Skagg's 2009 effort, in which you may recall he ran himself straight into the hospital, which thankfully he eventually fully recovered from.
After Mackey finished 8th at Western States he seemed to fall out of favor with the UROY chatter, even though his 8th place finish was a pretty damn solid 16h36m effort.
It will be interested to see what the voters think come year’s end, though there is still a lot of racing to go. I'm curious if we'll see similar to past years, where there seems to be a weighted voting process associated with the distance of the runs upon one's resume. Though it's pretty hard to argue the stats:
-1st CR Bandera 100k
-1st Amercan River 50m
-1st Miwok 100k
-8th Western States 100m
-1st CR Waldo 100k
Canadian Back In The Mix
Canadian runner Chris Downie broke onto the scene a few years back with some impressive results, before seeming to disappear for about a year. Well it appears the BC native is back with a vengeance as he pulled off a very impressive 4th place finish at the above mentioned Waldo 100k on the weekend. Downie finished just ahead of Oregon's own Yassine Diboun, who is a highly regarded ultra runner, and all around great guy period.
I believe Chris's next race will be another Oregon gem, the Pine to Palm 100 miler in mid September, and I'll say right now that I'm picking him for a podium finish. Chris has shown nothing but success over longer distance runs while winning his first 100mile and 146km races.
So whatdaya think? Is Ryan Sandes poised to become the next great 100 mile runner? Is Dave Mackey your pick for UROY through 2/3 of the year? Have you ever raced against Chris Downie and come away shocked that a man who looks like a football player can be so damn fast?