While it’s been a week or so since the Alpine Challenge, a combination of waiting on the results and myself being away a lot recently has meant for a slight delay in the report back, which I also thought would be good to throw in the run down from the famous Kepler Ultra over in New Zealand too.
Alpine Challenge (60km, 100km & 160km)
Starting with the Alpine Challenge, there were great results all round, and in none other than the 60km event, in which three ladies dominated the entire race. Sasha Lee might not be a name known to many, but those who know her can tell you what a gun runner she is. Smashing the rest of the course, she won in a time of 6hrs 12mins, which I believe was a new overall course record. Watch this space, this girl has some serious running talent.
Next in line was Sophie Brown, finishing in a highly credible 6hrs 29mins, with Kylee Woods in third in a time of 6hrs 49mins. Propping up the men’s results were James Eather in 7hrs 46mins in first place, Ola Ropponen in 8hrs 33mins and Jonathan Ennis-King 8hrs 39mins.
In the 100km results, Luke Glapa took the overall honours in a time of 12hrs 30mins, with Oowan Davies not far behind in 12hrs 38mins. Jed Anderson-Habel finished off the male podium in third in a time of 13hrs 6mins. In the ladies race, Nicole Paton took out yet another local win in a time of 14hrs 25mins, with Estonian, Millerine Brikker in second place in 16hrs 25mins. Geordi Maclean was third in a time of 21hrs dead.
In the big daddy 100 miler, Jordan Maki-Richards set a new female course record in a time of 27hrs 28mins, with Rebecca Taipari in second in 37hrs 49mins. Lisa Rush was third in 38hrs 9mins.
In the men’s race, Italian pre-race favourite David Giannelli won overall in a time of 24hrs 36mins with local boy Dan Beard in second in 25hrs 2mins. Kiwi Andrew Hough was third in 26hrs 38mins.
Kepler Challenge (60km)
Over in New Zealand this past weekend, one of the biggest ultras around, the 60km Kepler Challenge took place, and once again produced some fine performances.
Pick of the bunch was Ruby Muir’s fine run, which was less than 90 seconds outside the female course record. Ruby finished in a time of 5hrs 24mins. In second was Cecilia Flori in 5hrs 44mins with Margie Campbell third in 5hrs 56mins.
Over in the men’s race, Sam McCutcheon showed his class to take the overall win by some fair distance from Aussie battler, Stu Gibson. Sam won in a time of 4hrs 49mins, with Stu finishing in 5hrs 10mins. Gene Beveridge finished just a minute behind Stu in 5hrs 11mins.
The big US lottery draws
This weekend also saw the drawing of two of the most iconic races in the ultra world, Western States and Hardrock 100. With a better chance of being run over by a car, both lotteries are incredibly tough to be drawn from, unless you’ve been waiting a decent five or six years and have multiple tickets to your name. Even then, some poor sod who has a 70% plus chance of getting in, still doesn’t make it!
Looking at the line-up and being brutally honest, the ladies line-up looks the better on paper and it’s fantastic to see so many high-class ladies running back here again. Among the notables back this year from the ladies top ten and UTWT places are:
- Cat Bradley
- Kaytlyn Gerbin
- Fiona Hayvice (yeah!!!)
- Stephanie Howe Violett
- Andrea Huser
- Nicole Kalogeropoulos
- Meghan Laws
- Jacqueline Merritt
- Sabrina Stanley
- Kaci Lickteig
In the mens, most notables include:
- Jeff Browning
- Christopher Denucci
- Paul Giblin
- Mark Hammond
- Jesse Haynes
- Kyle Pietari
- Ian Sharman
- Jim Walmsley
- Zach Miller
This year a plethora of Aussies made the cut, with big shout outs to: Katherine MacMillan, Kristen Brace, Martin Hack, Russell Evans, Toni Gracia, Tom James, Chris Jacobson, Stuart Hughes, Brett Standring and Adam Waites. And of course, Kiwi Fiona Hayvice is back for another tilt following her amazing fifth place at this year’s race.
Over at Hardrock and there’s some very familiar male faces returning for another bash at the big one. The lottery draw is split by runner’s experience, with runners placed into one of three divisions with separate lotteries, those being ‘veterans’ (finished Hardrock five or more times), ‘nevers’, those who’ve never finished Hardrock and ‘else’, runner with between one and four finishes. In the men, the big guns are:
- Kilian Jornet
- Mike Foote
- Adam Campbell
- Xavier Thevenard
- Mike Wardian
- Pau Capell (second on the ‘never’ waitlist)
In the ladies:
- Andrea Hauser
- Kaori Niwa
- Nikki Kimball
- Darla Askew
- Anna Frost (9th on the ‘else’ waitlist)
- Darcy Piceu (9th on the ‘veteran’ waitlist)
- Bethany Lewis (8th on the ‘else’ waitlist)
- Sabrina Stanley (5th of the ‘never’ waitlist)
For the Aussies, four-time Hardrock finisher and ultra legend, Andy Hewat is back to lay claim to his fifth finish and early himself a veteran spot for future years, while ‘never’ man, Roger Hanney of Hoka superstar status grabs his first start. Well done both.
Finally a special shout out to Lucy Bartholomew for her excellent win over in South Africa at the Ultra Trail Cape Town, breaking the course record, along with Scotty Hawker, who continues his excellent return to form with a third place there too.
Feature image credit: Nicole Paton with the rocking 60km ladies at Alpine Challenge