USATF 100 km National Championships & Mad City 100 km Race Preview

Under frigid and snow covered conditions, the 2018 100 km National Championships will be held in Madison WI on a new 5K loop course on Saturday, April 7. Warner Park is the venue for this year’s 100K, just down the street from the WI governor’s mansion. It does offer an enclosed heated shelter which will bring warmth to the unusually cold temps for this time of the year. Vilas/Wingra Park, the site of the previous 100K national championships, is undergoing several construction projects and will not be available during 2018.

The weather forecast for Saturday is predicted to bring partly cloudy skies with a high temperature of 33 F and a start time low of 16 F. Winds will be moderate at about 11 MPH. There is between 4 – 6” of snow cover.

Traci Falbo racing at the 2017 IAU 24 Hour World Championships.

Traci Falbo racing at the 2017 IAU 24 Hour World Championships.

That will not deter the 25 100K runners from the start line at 6:30 AM. The course will close at 7:30 PM providing plenty of time for runners to navigate the 5K loop twenty times. While the weather cannot be controlled, race director Timo Yanacheck has done everything possible to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all involved. He and his hard working local operating committee have attended to every detail including personalized bibs, a wide variety of aid station food, accommodating support personnel, plenty of course volunteers, and ensuring everything is in order for accuracy and sanctioning. The 100K will be run under USATF and IAU rules and regulations. Additionally, assuming the qualification times are met, the winning male and female will have automatic spots on the 2018 US 100K national team competing in Croatia on September 8, 2018.

Among the women, leading the elite field will be Traci Falbo, Liza Howard, and Denise Bourassa. Traci’s credentials include American and world record holder indoor track 48 hour event, 4 time Team USA member on both the 24Hr and 100K teams competing in world championships, gold medal in World Masters 100K age group 45-49, 1st at Tunnel Hill 100 (American Trail 100 Record at the time), 1st at Burning River 100, a Grand Slam of Ultrarunning finisher. Traci won the 2016 Mad City (USATF 100K National Championship). Traci’s home is in Jeffersonville, IN.

Liza hales from San Antonio, TX, and is a very seasoned runner having achieved success in several high profile races. Her wins include Umstead 100 mile, Javelina 100 with a course record at the time, Rocky Raccoon 100 mile, she was the 2011 USATF 50 mile national champion, and has won the high altitude Leadville 100 mile among her many achievements.

From St. Louis, MO, Denise Bourassa has the 4th fastest Grand Slam finishing time to her credit, having done 4 100 mile races in 10 weeks, including being 8th at Western States and 4th at Wasatch in 2014. The “100 Miles of Istruia”, part of the Ultra Trail World Tour, took Denise to Croatia in 2016 where she finished 3rd in a very strong women’s field. In 2015 at the Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc, as part of Team Patagonia, she was the 14th female. Denise has 3 wins to her credit during 2018 already at Land between the Lakes 60K, 12 Hr Howard Aslinger Memorial Endurance Run, and the Beulah Challenge 9 Hr.

Eric LiPuma on his was to winning the 2018 USATF 50 km National Championships

Eric LiPuma (right) on his was to winning the 2018 USATF 50 km National Championships

The men’s field has several standouts, but among the favorites are Eric LiPuma, Geoff Burns, and Chad Ricklefs. LiPuma, of Boulder, CO, most recently won the 2018 50K USATF National Championship in 3:03:50. In July, 2017, he shared the win at the Big Horn 100 mile with three others in oppressive rainy conditions.

Burns from Ann Arbor, MI, is quite familiar with the Mad City event having won the 2016 100K National Championship when the course was at Vilas Park in what continues as the course record in 6:30:37. This is the third fastest ever by an American. The win put him on the 2016 USA 100K National Team competing at IAU 100K World Championships in Spain where he took 5th place in the world at 6:38:34 and was part of the bronze medaling US team. In 2015 Burns won the Mad City 50K race setting course record 3:00:57 and again earning his way onto the 2015 USA 50K National Team competing at IAU 50K World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where he placed 10th in the world in 3:06:37 and was part of the silver medal team.

Chad Ricklefs, another runner from Boulder CO, has an envious resume of ultraruning experience and is the most experienced master’s runner. He has a 50-mile PR of 5:24 and a 100K PR of 7:01. En route to those PRs, he has been on several national 100K teams competing in world championships. Ricklefs has been competing in ultramarathons at a national level since 1998 and reached an all-time high in his career in 2007, placing 17th overall at the 2007 IAU 100 km World Cup. He has been named the USATF Ultrarunner of the Year, Ultramagazine Runner of the Year, has twice won the prestigious Leadville Trail 100 Mile, and has been a previous 100K and 50 mile road national champion. From 2002 – 2011, Ricklefs represented the USA on 10 100K national teams. At age 50, he does not show any signs of slowing down.

Chad at the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships

Chad Ricklefs at the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships

RunRace.net, the company that handles the race day timing have set up a webcast to track runners during the race. Here is the description furnished by RunRace.net’s Bill Thom: “As with past editions of MadCity Ultras, the website of RunRace will be webcasting this year’s events in near real-time. As participants complete each lap, their splits will be recorded at our repeating 5-kilometer checkpoint, as well as our mid-lap checkpoint. From there splits will be posted to our webcast, which will update runner and team progress, and will be available for viewing across the internet.”

You may view updates of runner/team progress under the “Webcast” tab through the following link: https://www.runrace.net/findarace.php?id=18097WI&tab=a5

An easier to remember link, which lands on MadCity Ultras “Race Detail” page: https://RunRace.net/madcity

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