Story and photos by USATF Championship liaison Howard Nippert.
Jon Olsen (Modesto, CA) and Traci Falbo (Jeffersonville, IN) claimed top spots at the 2018 USATF 100 Mile Road National Championship hosted at the Jackpot Ultra Festival in Henderson, NV this past Saturday, February 17. Olsen waivered little from an eight minute per mile pace over the concrete and gravel 2.5 mile course in Cornerstone Park. Jean Pommier (Cupertino, CA) took the early lead with Mike Bialick (Minnetonka, MN) in tow. Bialick was forced to retire from the event soon after. Olsen settled into 3rd early and let the hard surface, early pace, and heat take its toll. Around the 60 mile mark, Bialick fell, hurting his knees along with his chances of fighting either Olsen or Pommier. Olsen moved into the lead around 8 ½ hours thru and never relinquished control again, cruising to an almost two hour margin over runner-up Pommier. Olsen’s mark was also a new course record by over two hours and ten minutes.
In the women’s race, Cassie Scallon (Santa Barbara, CA) took the early lead just behind Olsen, but approximately three hours into the event, a hamstring issue developed, forcing her to save her body for another day. Falbo then found herself with a commanding lead but then faced stomach issued which slowed her pace and forced several prolonged stops. When the sun fell over the horizon and shadows fell on the course, the temperature dropped and Falbo regained her stride, going on to win and break the course record previously held by Natalie Larson (’16) by 20 minutes.
Olsen and Falbo each earned $1000 for the win and $500 for the respective course records.
Olsen was also winner of the male 40-44 age group. Pommier was winner of male 50-54 age group. Falbo won the female 45-49 age group.
The 2019 edition of the Jackpot Ultra Festival will serve as the 2019 USATF 100 Mile National Road Championship on February 15-17, 2019.
Results and additional race information can be found at: www.beyondlimitsrunning.com