News and Notes
USA Takes Top Spots at Golden Trail Championship
Jim Walmsley and Rachel Drake both finished second overall in the Golden Trail Series Championship 4-day stage race. The race included an internationally stacked field of mountain runners, with overall wins going to Remi Bonnet and Maude Mathys – both of Switzerland. Each of the courses traversed steep sections of trail across the islands of Azores, an archipelago of Portuguese islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 2 hours from Europe and 5 hours from North America.
78-Year-Old Finishes 100 Miles
Denis Trafecanty finished the 2020 Javelina Jundred 100-miler in 29:31, making him one of the top two oldest 100-mile finishes ever recorded. Scott Mills, 69, paced Trafecanty in an effort to help him get a Western States qualifying race finish.
Transcon Guiness WR
Sandra Villines, 48, officially holds the Guiness World Record for the Fastest crossing of America (USA) set by a female. Villines continues to hold the female transcon FKT (from San Francisco to New York) in 54 days, 16 hr and 24 min, which was set in November 2017.
Malcom Nabs TRT FKT
Corrine Malcom snagged the women’s supported Tahoe Rim Trail FKT on October 20, finishing in 1 day, 20 hr, 51 min and 25 sec. The previous record was set by Krissy Moehl in 2015, in 1 day, 23 hr and 29 min. The route is 171 miles around Lake Tahoe in California, and includes approximately 31,000 feet of elevation gain.
Western States 200 FKT
Dan Barger set out on October 30 to run the Western States Endurance Run 100-mile course from Auburn to Olympic Valley and back again. Barger had an aortic valve replacement in 2015, which he says, “…didn’t seem to slow me down much.” He finished back in Auburn on the Placer High track on November 1 in a time of 59 hr and 48 min.
Sabbe Wins World Backyard
Team Belgium’s Karel Sabbe won the Backyard world title in 75 yards (312.5 miles), with an assist from team member Merijn Geerts who helped Sabbe reach the 75th lap by running all 74 with Sabbe (308.33 miles). Team USA finished in 283.33 miles, with Courtney Dauwalter being the last person standing in Tennessee. Read more about this year’s Big’s Backyard on page 42.
Tollefson and Bitter Win Javelina
Tim Tollefson battled for the win at this year’s Javelina Jundred 100-miler. Crossing the finish in 13:28, he was 40 minutes ahead of second-place finisher, Nick Coury, who came in at 14:09. Tollefson’s time was the third fastest ever on the course.
Nicole Bitter finished third overall in the race and first female in 15:17. She also finished 40 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Darce Claus who came in at 15:58. Bitter’s time was second fastest ever on the desert looped course.
Third-place finishers were Sean Van Horn in 16:01 and Kalie Demerjian in 16:10.
In the 100K race, Andrew Belus and Lisa Roberts, both of Tucson, AZ, finished in 8:02 and 8:56, respectively, as first place male and female finishers.
Letters to the Editor
The November 2020 issue contained a great article by Amy Rusiecki that asked, “Why Run Ultras?” With respect, I think she overthought it. The answer is quite simple: it feels really good – sometimes almost orgasmic – when we stop.
Matthew Gunn, 44, of Willard, UT, passed away on October 18. Matt spent many years teaching elementary school and Spanish in Ogden, Logan and St. George, Utah. After helping young adults in Haiti learn to be entrepreneurs, he returned home with a desire to become one himself. He started an event company, Ultra Adventures, by creating events in and around Utah’s most breathtaking scenery, including Zion, Bryce, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef and the Tushars mountain range. These races allowed him to share his passion for Utah’s majesty and beauty with thousands of athletes from around the world.
He also found joy in seeing others improve their circumstances. This desire was at the core of who he was and led to his work developing and providing self-sustaining living solutions, including building an orphanage in Haiti after the earthquake devastations of 2010, and later helped with rebuilding hogans for the people of Monument Valley.
Matt is survived by his children Abraham, Lia, Hazel and Olive Gunn, his wife Toby, and stepchildren, Paileigh and Taden. He was preceded in death by his father, Spencer Gunn.