Javelina Jundred Recap
This past Saturday, the 20th edition of the Javelina Jundred (JJ100) took place in McDowell Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona. The 100-mile course, renowned for its costumed runners, takes five twenty-mile loops through the desert. For the second year in a row, the JJ100 is one of seven Golden Ticket Races for the 2023 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (WSER100), awarding the top two women and men automatic entries into next year’s WSER100.
With Aravaipa race director Jubilee Page in one of her many costumes for the occasion, race morning kicked off perfectly with temperatures in the low 50s. Perhaps a surprise to many, favorites in both fields appeared to take a more conservative approach through loop one than was anticipated in all the pre-race speculation. The lead runners all looked dialed in on heat mitigation – employing wet sponges, frozen t-shirts and arm sleeves stuffed with ice, as temperatures crept into the mid-80s in the afternoon desert heat. Both men’s and women’s fields clustered closely to each other for the first two loops of the course, except for pro-long course triathlete Heather Jackson (Hoka), who pushed the pace early. She embedded herself amongst the men’s lead pack, opening an eight-minute gap on the women’s field through the first loop of the race, splitting a blistering 2:46:26 in the opening twenty-two miles.
Fresh off a 16th place finish at the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona earlier this month, Heather Jackson continued to surge through the halfway point of the race, splitting times comparable to Camille Herron’s 2021 course record pace. Jackson maintained her lead until late in the fourth loop, when she was passed by Salida, CO’s Devon Yanko (Unsponsored). Jackson would ultimately surrender several more places over the remaining twenty-five miles. Despite recently being diagnosed with Lupus, Yanko held calm and strong for the remainder of the race, crossing the finish line in 14:36:10 for first female, second fastest women’s time in race history, and a Master’s Course Record. The result is her 2nd sub-15 hour 100-mile result this year (the other at Umstead 100, in 14:22) and bettered Yanko’s previous winning time (14:52:06) at the 2015 JJ100. Devon joins Kaci Lickteig (2014, 2019) in being the only two-time winners of the JJ100.
In second place, Pennsylvania’s Riley Brady (Unsponsored), worked their way up the field in the final forty miles, and clocked in at 14:45:43, for the third fastest time ever thrown down at JJ100. Riley will be the first non-binary athlete to secure a golden ticket to WSER. No stranger to this course was third-place Nicole Bitter (Altra Running), now of Austin, Texas, who added to the speedy times with the fifth fastest JJ100 time in 15:16:25. Kaci Lickteig (Hoka) and Heather Jackson rounded out the top five women, finishing in 15:40:45 and 15:42:18 respectively. Other notable finishers in the women’s elite field included Kat Drew (Arc’teryx) in 6th at 15:43:03, Annie Hughes (Hoka) in 9th at 16:27:54, and Arden Young (Unsponsored) in 10th at 16:34:29. Favorites headed into the weekend, Anne Marie Madden (Salomon), Stefanie Flippin (Hoka) and Manuela Soccol (Craft) all unfortunately did not finish on Saturday.
In the men’s race, the lead pack was steady throughout the duration of the race, apart from an early drop by pre-race podium favorite Matt Daniels (Nike Trail) after loop two due to foot issues. Jonathan Rea (Unsponsored) and Dakota Jones (NNormal) co-led the race from the second loop onward, staying in contact within a half mile of each other. Rea made a move to match Jones going into the final lap, but Dakota fended him off, charging to the finish line at in 12:58:02, a new course record. This time improves on Patrick Reagan’s 2017 mark of 13:01:14. Dakota’s finishing push was all that more impressive given he was 7 minutes down on Reagan’s time heading into the final lap. Jonathan came through 8 minutes later, finishing in 13:05:58, the third fastest time in course history. Midwestern ultrarunning community favorite Arlen Glick (Unsponsored) arrived at the finish in 13:25:48, with the top five being filled out by Ashland, Oregon’s Brett Hornig (Unsponsored) in 13:45:00 and Phoenix local Nick Coury (Unsponsored) in 13:52:42
Other noteworthy finishers from the men’s pre-race favourites included Mark Hammond (Altra Running) at 14th in 18:19:44, and 18-year-old Owen Thornton (Rabbit Elite) at 15th in 18:44:42. Elite male runners Jacob Puzey (Craft Sportswear) and Jeremy Pope (Unsponsored) did not finish the race.
In the 100k race, Lotti Brinks (Salomon) and Scott Traer (Unsponsored) both took the wins in course record fashion. Lotti ran a blistering 8:36:01, besting Courtney Dauwalter’s 2016 8:48:21, and Scott blazed to 7:31:46, bettering Christian Gering’s 2019 7:58:43.
Pending official confirmation from Western States, Devon Yanko and Riley Brady are expected to take the Golden Tickets from the women’s race, while Dakota Jones and Jonathan Rea should do the same from the men’s race. Full race results available here.
Golden Trail World Series 2022 Finals (October 26-30, 2022)
Following a week of racing on the island of Madeira, the Golden Trail World Series (GTWS) Final has concluded! The five-day stage race invited elite runners from the across the globe to battle for a considerable prize purse, with the athlete’s overall placement in the finals determined by the results of their week of racing, combined with their top three results from the summer race series. For a more complete preview of the race format, the stages, and major contenders in the men’s and women’s fields check out the article published on Freetrail last week. Let’s take a look at how the races broke down:
Stage 1 Recap – Seixal
In pre-race interviews, Rémi Bonnet (Salomon) indicated that he would be gunning for the overall win right out of the gate. A noted uphill specialist, Rémi came out hot on the first day of racing, building a lead in the opening climb. Only Elhousine Elazzaoui (Pini Mountain Racing) responded to the early charge in the challenging rainy and muddy conditions. Rémi (2:04:41) edged out Elhousine (2:05:18) for the overall win in this stage, with Petro Mamu (Scarpa) hanging on for a distant third (2:11:44). Despite facing an exhausting multi-day journey to Madeira, Allie McLaughlin (On Running) led the women’s race wire-to-wire (2:30:25). Nursing a broken wrist, Nienke Brinkman (Nike Trail / NN Running Team) appeared to race a bit more conservatively on the wet downhills, finishing second (2:33:20), with Elise Poncet (Team Sidas X Matryx) using the downhills to her advantage to capture third (2:34:37). We saw our first instance of a “tactical” off day with American Dani Moreno (Hoka One One/Rabbit) taking advantage of the leeway afforded to not race every stage, hoping to race on fresh legs for Stage 2.
Stage 2 Recap – Machico
Rémi kept up his momentum from stage one, pushing for a convincing back-to-back win (2:08:12), breaking away from the field on the second climb. British athlete (competing for Austria, in the Open Division) Thomas Roach held on for second place (2:17:32). Bart Przedwojewski (Salomon) hammered the final downhill of the stage to overtake five men to claim third (2:18:17), but the move came with risk and he sustained a knee injury that required stitches. Taking advantage of Allie McLaughlin and Sophia Laukli (Salomon) sitting out this stage, Nienke Brinkman pushed for a solid win in 2:39:55. Bailey Kowalczyk (Salomon) and Julie Roux (Salomon) were both strong on the downhills and held on for second (2:43:38) and third place (2:44:44) respectively. Drier, hotter conditions led to some attrition, including early favorite Dani Moreno, who despite finishing 14th, required IV fluids and therefore was not allowed to continue in the series.
Stage 3 Recap – Caniçal
Compared to other races in the finals, this sprint stage only offered “half points”. The sprint format sent two runners off every minute. Elhousine Elazzaoui (24:54) pushed an incredible pace from the start to earn a stage win, with Rémi Bonnet (25:32) and Petro Mamu (26:02) clocking in behind him. Nienke Brinkman (30:16) took the sprint stage win on her birthday, while Allie McLaughlin (31:15) and Sophia Laukli (31:36) were sent off together and appear to have gone slightly off course, which may have cost them their place to Nienke.
Stage 4 Recap – Curral das Freiras
Another day, and another win for Rémi (2:22:27) showcasing his ascending speed by capturing the Climbing segment of this stage as well. Elhousine (2:30:14) was hot on Ruy Ueda’s (Red Bull) tail on the closing descent (2:31:10) and overtook him to grab second. Ruy advanced through the field all day to claim third, in a tight battle where third through eighth place were only separated by three minutes. Nienke (2:50:14) outpowered Sophia (2:54:15) through the flatter central part of the stage to position herself for the win, with Elise Poncet (2:56:20) nabbing another third place finish. With their wins in Stage 4, Rémi and Nienke had secured enough points to be declared Overall Winners of the GTWS Final.
Stage 5 Recap – Funchal
With the series winners secured, the final stage had significant implications for how the prize money would shake out for the rest of the top runners. On an out-and-back course towards one of the island’s high points, Allie McLaughlin put a large gap on the rest of the field buying her enough time to win the stage (on her birthday!) comfortably in 2:39:34, with Nienke (2:46:42) and Julie Roux (2:50:55) trailing behind. Having already locked in a finals win, Rémi Bonnet participated in the stage with the aim of winning the “Uphill” segment to secure a cash prize. Having put enough of a gap on the field on the climb towards Pico do Ariero, Remi consequently cruised to yet another stage win in 2:20:05. Near the finish Elhousine (2:25:05) and Petro (2:25:13) slipped by Ruy to grab second and third, with Ruy falling to fourth in 2:25:20.
After a week of racing, the final standings in the women’s field: (1) Nienke Brinkman – 1026 points; (2) Sophia Laukli – 799 points; (3) Sara Alonso (Salomon) – 782 points; (4) Elise Poncet – 702 points; (5) Bailey Kowalczyk – 680 points; (6) Caitlin Fielder (Salomon) – 662 points; (7) Julie Roux – 605 points; (8) Marcela Vasinova (Salomon) – 561 points; (9) Allie McLaughlin – 544 points; (10) Theres Lebouef (Compressport) – 496 points.
In the men’s field, we had: (1) Rémi Bonnet – 968 points; (2) Elhousine Elazzaoui – 720 points; (3) Thibaut Baronian (Salomon) – 714 points; (4) Ruy Ueda – 686 points; (5) Eli Hemming – 634 points; (6) Robert Pkemboi Matayango (Sky Runners Kenya) – 629 points; (7) Daniel Osanz (Adidas Terrex) – 592 points; (8) Manuel Merillas (Scarpa) – 572 points; (9) Anthony Felber (Team Sidas X Matryx) – 564 points; (10) Petro Mamu – 524 points.
All images were provided by PNW based photographer, videographer, and designer Nick Danielson.