This Leadville 100 Run preview will be like Liza Howard, short and sweet.
Fot once, we have a women’s race that is far more interesting than the men’s. I say this mostly because women at the top level seem to know, and, more importantly, remember race after race how to run these things without exploding at mile 75 like a male front runner brimming with testosterone. The ladies have a stacked field up front. In order of how I see it breaking down at the finish line on 6th Ave…
For the guys it’s a mixture of pure speed (Aish, Aldous, Arnstien), consistent grinders (Clark, Torrance, Jaime), and some wildcards (Krupicka, Tiernan, Waggoner).
If Tony Krupicka tries to run at the front with Jay Aldous and Michael Aish and hits Winfield (mile 50) any faster than 7:25, he’ll be in trouble later. The only reason Tony is a wildcard is based on two things: He hasn’t run Leadville smart since 2007 and he hasn’t raced a 100 in a year and a half. If he runs smart with the intent to win (as opposed to a race against time), he’s the one to beat. Michael Aish definitely falls into the wild card slot as well. Of course, if he runs his 10k PR pace at Leadville, he’ll finish in 7 hours 26 mins (wow.). Aish’s Leadville run may seem like a publicity stunt but the Kiwi went to college in Gunnison (8,000+ ft elevation), where he ran to national titles. He also competed in two Olympics (’00 and ’04) and ran his first ultra, the Silver Rush 50 miler this year (Leadville) for the win in 6:54 (just 4 mins off course record time). If he runs to Winfield at a reasonable effort (like 7:30-ish) and holds the fueling together, this guy is the one to take down Carpenter’s course record of 15:42.
Another interesting competition playing out is the Leadman Series (look it up). Currently, Tim Waggoner leads the series by a scant 3 mins 39 secs with just the 100 mile run left to determine the victor. Troy Howard, a dominating, albeit quiet, force in ultrarunning (one of the top 10 fastest Hardrock 100 times) is lingering behind Tim W. in 2nd after beating him in the 100 mi mtb race last Saturday by 24 mins. Troy has a solid chance to run 18:30-19 this weekend, so Tim W. ran 19:19 for 6th overall here in 2010 in his first 100 mile attempt but that was with an epic meltdown (I saw it live after pacing him for 50 miles) and being forced to walk slowly for the last 5 miles, so 19:19 is soft for him. He will have to pull out all his knowledge and speed and any other tricks up his sleeve to hold off Troy. Look for Tim Waggoner to be lurking near the podium. I’ll be pacing him again for the last 50 and, frankly, hope to hang on.
The way I see it.
Please feel free to comment with opinions on who you think will be ripping up the fast out-n-back course. Check out Footfeathers’ guide to “How to Run the Leadville 100”