The fastest women's ultramarathon runner took 15.8% longer to complete the race than the fastest man.
Ultra newcomers Redding, Fagan claim U.S. 50k titles
On August 24 Redding, of Stanley, Idaho, made a decisive move at the 26-mile mark of the Headlands 50k near Sausalito, California, and disappeared into a heavy fog. He ran strong enough over the last five miles to claim the USA Track & Field 50k Trail Championship and finish in a course-record 3 hours 50 minutes 46 seconds. Mackey, who hadn't lost a race between 25 and 50 miles in 2002, also shattered the old course record with a 3:53:43 effort.
Prior to 2002, Redding, 30, had never raced farther than 13.1 miles. But the former collegiate track runner (who's also a strong cross-country mountain biker) turned a few heads with a runner-up finish at last spring's Way Too Cool 50k and even more when he won in one of the strongest 50k fields of the year at the Headlands race.
"I was looking back a lot to see what kind of lead I had," said Redding, who works in an Idaho salmon hatchery. "It wasn't easy to tell because of the fog."
Mackey, 32, was coming off a solid win at the San Juan Solstice 50-miler (8:43:23) on June 22, a race in which he beat Oregon's Nate McDowell and took nearly 40 minutes off the course record. Earlier in the year, Mackey won the Death Valley Trail Marathon, San Juan 50k, and Collegiate Peaks 25-miler in record time. (To his credit, Mackey had competed in the two-day Salomon X-Adventure Race near Lake Tahoe, California, just six days earlier.) North Carolina's Bryan Dayton (3rd, 3:59:52), Washington's William Emerson (4th, 4:01:14), and Massachusetts' Ben Nephew (5th, 4:01:47) were among the others who gave chase to Redding at the Headlands race.
Mary Fagan, another relative newcomer to ultramarathons, took the women's U.S. 50k crown in 4:30:59. The 26-year-old high school biology teacher ran away from the rest of the women in the field early in the race and finished more than a mile and a half ahead of runner-up Krissy Moehl of Seattle (4:44:33). Fagan, who has won three of the four ultra races she's entered, narrowly missed the women's course record of 4:29:11 set by Karen Brown in 1999.
Tom Johnson (6th overall) won the men's masters title (4:04:30), while Luanne Park (3rd overall) won the women's masters runner (4:59:37). Redding, Fagan, Johnson, and Park each earned $300 for their victories.
McDowell, Heaslett crowned U.S. 50-mile champs
"He said, 'You've got more power than I do today,' and he stepped aside," said McDowell, 30, of Corvallis, Oregon, who pocketed $1400 for the victory. "I felt really strong at that point. But Karl's one of my idols, so for him to do that was really amazing."
Wisconsin's Ann Heaslett was amazing as well, covering the course in 8:13:17 to earn the women's title and a $1400 winner's check. She overcame a 5-minute deficit to early leader Petra Pirc (8:15:11) to secure the win, finally taking the lead with less than two miles to go.
Arizona's Dennis Poolheco won the men's masters title (6th overall, 7:21:49) while California's Luanne Park was the first women's masters finisher (36th overall, 9:03:11).
McDowell, a former track and cross-country runner at the University of Michigan, earned his first U.S. title by outrunning Colorado's Hal Koerner (2nd, 7:01:11), Washington's William Emerson (3rd, 7:07:27), Utah's Meltzer (4th, 7:12:47), and Washington's Scott Jurek, 28 (5th, 7:16:20). Emerson was the 2001 USATF 50-mile winner on the same course, while Jurek is the four-time defending champion at the Western States 100 in Auburn, California.
"It was like a peloton of runners for the first half of the race," McDowell said. "When we started to move in the second half, I felt strong. I said to myself, 'I feel like running hard, so let's see what happens.' After that I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing."
Ricklefs shatters Leadville mark
Anthea Schmid of Crested Butte, Colorado, turned in an impressive double by winning the women's title at Leadville (19:44:24), the first 100-miler of her career. Six weeks earlier, she had shattered the women's course record at the San Juan Solstice 50-miler (9:52:46). The Leadville 100 had its biggest field to date (465 runners), but a similar finishing rate (41 percent) as in previous years. This year was the 20th running of the race.
Morse, Pearce win New England titles
Vermont's Eric Morse won his second consecutive USATF New England mountain-running title in June despite losing a race in the series for the first time since 1999. Morse, the 2001 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year, tallied a near-perfect score of 399.11 to win the four-race title. The 37-year-old broke his own course record at the 3.8-mile Mount Ascutney Run (28:44) in Windsor, Vermont, and also won the 4.3-mile Wachusett Mountain Run (24:20) in Princeton, Massachusetts, and the 8.5-mile Mount Kearsarge Run (51:49) in Warner, New Hampshire.
Morse's only loss came at the hands of rival Craig Fram at the Pack Monadnock Run, a 10-miler between Wilton and Temple, New Hampshire. Fram, 43, of New Hampshire, became the first master's runner to take an overall win at a USATF New England mountain race (1:00:58) with his impressive 33-second win over Morse. Runner-up Mike Casner (372.03 points) and third-place finisher Richard Bolt (371.74) also turned in strong performances in the New England circuit.
For the women's New England title, Cathy Pearce (312.09 points) narrowly edged Suzy West (306.48) by winning at Wachusett (30:35), Mount Ascutney (37:29), and Pack Monadnock (1:17:20). Nikki Kimball, the top women's finisher at Mt. Kearsage (1:04:30), had been neck-and-neck with Pearce and West but did not run the final race because she was competing for the U.S. at the World Challenge 100k in Belgium.
The New England series is the only USATF-sanctioned mountain-running circuit in the U.S. Visit www.ustafne.org more information about the USATF New England Trail Running Series.