Madison, WI – 9 April 2016 – written by Lin Gentling & Tim Yanacheck.
Under typical winter blustery conditions in Madison, WI, the 2016 100K National Championships were held. After a brutal wind on Friday during packet pick-up where anything not tied done disappeared into the atmosphere, Saturday dawned with a slight breeze, clear skies, and temperatures of 18 degrees. This was not a morning for mere mortals… at the start line were the eventual 2016 100K champions…and there were several who envisioned themselves in that position.
At the start line was the 2015 50K Mad City winner and course record holder, a 2016 Olympic Marathon Trails runner, two past 100K national champions, a member of the 2015 50K USA team and silver medalist team at the world 50K world championships, a 48 hour world record holder, a 48 hour women’s national record holder, someone who has lost 80 #, a 50 state marathoner, a two time member of the USA 24 hour team, a three time member of the USA 100K team, a silver medalist at the world championship 24 hour, the 2016 100K trail race national champion, a runner preparing for Comrades, Ice Age 50 miler course record holder, and a member of the 2015 USA ultra trail team comprised the 22 starters… wow, quite an impressive group of runners. But anything can happen over the course of 6 – 8 hours and it certainly did on this day.
From the start, Geoff Burns (Ann Arbor, MI) took off like he was running only one 10K loop finishing the first loop in 38:27 followed by Patrick Reagan (Savannah, GA) in 39:46 and in 3rd position was Timmy Parr )Leadville, CO) in 39:47. After the 1st loop 7 runners were within 3:10 of one another. The first 30K the men’s positions remained the same with Burns, Reagan, and Parr. At 40K, Burns was in a race by himself with over a 10 minute lead at 40K. Plus he was constantly smiling seemingly having a blast. Parr had dropped to 6th place with Nick Accardo (New Orleans, LA) assuming the 3rd spot. The positions remained the same at 50K with Burns speeding through in 3:04 and a 12 minute lead over Reagan. At 70K, Anthony Kunkel (Durango, CO) took over 3rd position from Accardo and Burns lead increasing to almost 14 minutes .Meanwhile Steve Sowers (Bozeman, MT) was sneaking up in position to 6th position and was aiming to break the 50-54 age group 100K record of 7:38:43 set in 1982 by John L. Sullivan. At 80K Kunkel dropped and Mike Bialick (Minnetonka, MN), last year’s 100K national champion, moved into 3rd position by 90K followed by Accardo in 4th place. However at this point the race was really among Burns and Reagan as Reagan had closed the gap at 90K to just a little over 8 minutes. With 10K remaining, the after burners ignited, especially with Reagan who was in a chase to close in on Burns. Reagan ran out of real estate as Geoff Burns crossed the 100K finish line in 6:30:37 becoming the 2016 100K National Champion in a Mad City course record and automatically qualifying as a US team member for the 2016 IAU World Championships to be held in Spain at the end of the year. Just behind Burns was Reagan who had closed the gap the final loop by 3 minutes on Burns, finishing in 6:35:56. Finishing 3rd in 7:15:54 was Mike Bialick. In addition to Burns’ auto team 100K qualifier, both Reagan and Bialick achieved times for 2016 100 team consideration.
Meanwhile Steve Sowers, was in his own race to break the 34 year old age group record, crossing the finish line in 4th position and 7:38:31 breaking the old 50-54 age group record by 12 seconds!!
On the ladies front, Cassie Scallon (Boulder, CO) took off fast in 1st position at 10K with Traci Falbo (Charlestown, IN) in 2nd, less than 4 minutes behind and Anna Hailey (Gardendale, TX) in 3rd, 5 minutes behind Cassie. At 30K, with Cassie still in the lead, position, 2nd and 3rd changed with Anna taking over 2nd spot and Traci just over a minute behind. At 50K Cassie remained in the lead in 3:51:00 and 13 minutes over Traci who had now moved back into 2nd position with Anna just 1:13 behind. Anna dropped at 60K and Nora Bird (Cottage Grove, WI) moved into the 3rd spot, well over an hour behind Traci in 2nd at 70K. At 80K, Traci took over the lead from Cassie who was struggling, but intent on continuing to the finish. Traci came through 80K in 6:34:55, Cassie in 6:34:55, and now Shannon Johnston (Cary, NC) in 3rd in 7:25:23. At 90K, Shannon had begun to close the gap on Cassie and was within 2:27 of her. With 10K remaining, Traci looked strong and was running at her best. The chase was on between Shannon and Cassie for 2nd and 3rd. In addition to being a member of the US 24 hour national team, Traci Falbo crossed the finish line in 1st place in 8:27:10 and earned an automatic qualifier for the 2016 100K US national team. Cassie was impressive as she regained her stamina and strength on the final loop to finish 2nd in 9:12:49, with Shannon Johnston in 3rd position in 9:18:04.
Just for the record, the accompanying 50K race was an automatic qualifier for the US 50K national team competing in Doha, Qatar in November. Top overall male, Tyler Andrews (Arlington, VA) in 2:56:01 and 50K female champion, Claudia Becque Boulder, CO) finishing in 3:32:26 were named to the US team.
The day was perfect for running after the sun peered over the horizon. The wind did pick up, but on a loop course there is as much advantage as there is disadvantage. The temps warmed up into the high 30’s and we never worried about hyperthermia. There were some very impressive performances as well as some very gutsy efforts. Timo Yanacheck, race director, put on another outstanding 100K race (as well as a 50K race and 50K 5 person relay) as evidenced by every runner shortly after finishing, making the effort to personally thank him for his efforts and for facilitating memorable experiences for everyone.
Full results can be found here.