Countdown to The North Face Championship - Page 2
Last year’s top two women—Anna Frost and Ellie Greenwood—won’t be returning this year, while Joelle Vaught, 37, of Boise, Idaho, who came in third last year (she also took second in 2009 and fourth in 2010), will be going for the win. Vaught has been collecting first-place finishes this year, including the Lake Sonoma 50, the Pocatello 50 and the Waldo 100K, among other impressive performances.
Veteran Krissy Moehl, 33, of Boulder, Colorado, who won the Mountain Masochist 50 earlier this month, is in good form. Swedish runner Emelie Forsberg, 25, the 2012 Skyrunning World Champ, kick started a headline-making career in both mountain and ultrarunning in one fell swoop. Forsberg put herself on the map this year with a second-place finish at the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Race and third-place finishes in both the Zegama Marathon and Ultra Cavalls del Vent. She won a Skyrunning World Series title and took third place in the Skyrunning Ultra Series.
Past TNF 50 Endurance Challenge champs Kami Semick, a 46-year-old American now living in Hong Kong, the UK’s Lizzy Hawker, 36, and Caitlin Smith, 31, of Oakland, California will be in the running this weekend as well. International athletes like France’s Maud Gobert and Canadian Christina Clark, 32, will toe the line too. Boulder’s Tina Lewis, 38, who won this year’s Leadville 100 along with the Miwok 100K, and Bethany Lewis, 34, of Salt Lake City, Utah, who set the women’s Grand Canyon double-crossing record in 2011, round out the field.
The men’s field is also talent packed. Only two of last year’s top-10 finishers will return (Jason Wolfe, 36, of Flagstaff, Arizona, and Mike Foote, 29, of Missoula, Montana), making room for some Colorado-based ultra-racing newcomers—like Joel Hamilton (40, from Denver) and Chris Siemers (30, also from Denver), both of whom qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon, and Cameron Clayton, 24, from Boulder (who set a course record in his debut ultra at the Run Rabbit Run 50-mile earlier this year)—along with a slew of veterans.
Ian Sharman, 32, of Bend, Oregon, fifth at the 2012 Western States, fourth at the UROC 100K in September and fourth in the JFK 50, will be a contender. Hal Koerner, 36, of Ashland, Oregon, and Dave Mackey, 43, of Boulder, Colorado, are both having strong years too. Dylan Bowman, 26, of Aspen, Colorado, has momentum coming off great performances at the Bandera 100K, the Leona Divide 50, the Western States 100 and the Run Rabbit Run 100. Sage Canady, 26, of Boulder, Colorado, another serious contender, won the White River 50 (with a notable course record) and this year’s Mount Washington Road Race; he also took second place in the UROC 100K, his ultra debut. Under-the-radar runners like Leor Pantilat 27, a resident of San Carlos, California, and Rickey Gates, 31, of the Bay Area, are looking to open eyes this weekend as well.