Madison, Wisconsin – One heck of an ultramarathon race was run in this year’s Mad City 100K on April 9. The first-place man and the first-place woman both broke course records. This was the 2011 U.S. national championship 100-kilometer road race, and the competition was befitting a championship race.
The 100 kilometers is made up of ten loops around a scenic, urban 10-kilometer course here in Madison.
Andy Henshaw, 25, of Steilacoom, Washington, took the lead after the first 20 kilometers and stayed ahead of the other men until he broke the finish line tape in 6 hours, 47 minutes, 34 seconds, a new course record. The previous record of 6:56:57 had been set by Michael Wardian in 2008.
No woman had broken the 8-hour barrier in the Mad City race before. Not one but two did it this year. Devon Crosby-Helms, 28, of San Francisco, and Pam Smith, 36, of Salem, Oregon, dueled nearly to the end. Crosby-Helms crossed the finish line first, setting a new women’s course record at 7:46:33, shattering the old mark of 8:00:52 set just last year by Meghan Arbogast. Close behind came Smith, also bettering the course record in 7:53:17.
By winning the national championship titles, both
Henshaw and Crosby-Helms earned automatic berths on
the U.S. ultramarathon team traveling to The Netherlands
in September for the World Championship 100K race.
To be eligible for consideration for Team USA,
men are required to run a qualifying race faster than
7 hours, 20 minutes, and women faster than 8 hours, 20 minutes. In addition to Henshaw, three other men posted sub-7:20:00 times in the Mad City 100K this year.
David Riddle, 29, of Cincinnati, finished second to Henshaw in 6:59:11, only the third runner to ever break 7 hours on the Mad City course. Riddle ran a patient, disciplined race and was closing on Henshaw throughout the final three loops.
Todd Braje, 34, of Arcta, California, finished third in 7:04:42, making a strong bid for selection to Team USA and a trip to the World Championship. Not wishing to be left behind when the other elite American runners head to The Netherlands was veteran Chad Ricklefs, 43, of Boulder, Colorado, whose time of 7:09:55 was good for fourth place. Finishing just outside the qualifying standard time in fifth place was Zach Gingerich, 31, of Aurora, Illinois, in 7:24:48.
The highest Wisconsin finisher and therefore the winner of the “state 100K championship” was Eric Tadt, 23, of Madison, in 9:05:49.
The Mad City ultramarathons included a non-championship 50-kilometer road race as well. First place was won by Jim O’Brien, 32, of Chicago, in a time of 3:27:07. In second place overall was the first-place woman, Carolyn Smith, 45, of Fox Point, Wisconsin, in 3:51:07. Jon Eiden, 26, of Milwaukee, was third in 3:57:30.
Russell Cheney, 69, of Torrance, California, finished in 26th place in the 50K event. In doing so, he competed his 300th race of marathon distance or longer.