The US goes ultra, this weekend...
Some of the biggest races in the US calendar take place this weekend, and into next week, as runners from around the globe flock to Colorado for the Pikes Peak Marathon, the famous Leadville 100 and utterly massive (in scale) Trans Rockies Race...
We won’t even try to match Bryon Powell and the excellent iRunFar site for in-depth race previews and analysis of these ultra-trail ‘monuments’, which will no doubt appear across the next 3-4 days.
But we’ll give it a go!
There is some big UK multi-stage interest as Brits Tom Owens and Ricky Lightfoot join forces at the Trans Rockies. Owens, along with usual partner Andy Symonds, was second at this classic event in 2008, and will look to put things right with a win this time round.
After two superb wins at the Trans Alpine Run in 2009 and 2010 (also with Symonds), plus a big win at the recent German multi-day The 4 Trails, Owens has these types of events dialled, and with Lightfoot coming back strongly after injury the British duo will be a strong proposition as the race gets underway on Sunday.
Having had partner Anita Ortiz drop out with injury Scoland’s Angela Mudge will be desperately seeking a late replacement in her return event after injury. The mountain running legend also took wins at the 2009 and ’10 Trans Alpine Run in the mixed category and looks to add the Trans Rockies to her unrivalled array of achievements in the last 10-15 years.
Running the mixed category will be Kiwi Anna Frost, and new-found ultra trail man, Rickey Gates. Frost has become an accomplished long-distance trail and mountain runner following her big win the TNF 50 in San Francisco last November and her recent exploits at the 4 Trails race, and will go into the event getting stronger and stronger after some early-season injury problems.
After a recent win at the Canadian Death Race Gates (who is perhaps better known for his exploits on the international mountain running circuit) tries his hand at this beast in the Rockies and with their optimistic and upbeat outlooks on life you can bet that Rickey and Frosty will be an entertaining (and hard to beat!) coupling.
At Leadville there will be a strong line-up, as some of ultra-trail running’s top athletes attempt to win this classic event which sits alongside the Western States and Hardrock as a 100-mile great.
Top SA distance man Ryan Sandes will be taking to the start line as he looks to add this one to his impressive achievements in his relatively young career, which include the super-tough 4 Deserts quartet of wins. ‘Hedgey’ will be paced by the likes of Anna Frost, Josh Korn and Adam Chase. and has been out in the States for a few weeks, targeting Leadville before moving back to Europe for the UTMB in a couple of weeks.
The legendary “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile Run is where it all started 29 years ago. This is it. The race where legends are created — and limits are tested. One hundred miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain — from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet.
Racing gets underway at 4am, Leadville local time, this Saturday.
At Pikes Peak the Ascent (up only) and Marathon (up and down) is as usual loaded with predominantly US mountain and ultra talent.
Mr Pikes Peak Matt Carpenter once again goes in the marathon as he attempts to win his 8th PPM race on his 21st appearance at the event. The 47 year-old will face 2010 second and third placers Daryl Parker and Jordi Ginesta, as he attempts to make it 6 consecutive wins – incredible! Racing gets underway at 7am on Sunday.
The PP Ascent will be super-competitive as usual. With names like Max King, Rickey Gates (before heading to start the Trans Rockies on the Sunday), Mike Kloser and Josh Eberly in the men’s event. The women’s race lacks a stand-out favourite, however we are sure that there will be some great competition on this 14,115ft US National Historic Landmark come Saturday morning.