UTMB starts this morning at 11:30 EST. I know I waited until the last minute on this one so I’m only going to preview the American runners. Cringe! I hope my international followers can forgive me!
The American Men
Tony Krupicka: Tony was running near the front of last year’s race before being forced to drop because of an injury. He hasn’t raced a lot lately, but he has picked up some good wins this year (Jemez Mountain 50-Miler and The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail). If he is healthy, he will definitely be in contention.
Timothy Olson: Timothy placed fourth last yeat at UTMB. At the time, he said it was the hardest race he’d ever done. I’m guessing that has changed after Hardrock. Regardless, look for Timothy to start conservatively and move up throughout the race. The only question is, how far up will he be able to make it? Could this be his redemption?
Mike Foote: Mike finished fifth last year at UTMB. In a way, I’m hoping he wins just so I can see the confused look on all of the Europeans’ faces when he raises the flag of Montana.
Dakota Jones: Dakota is a little unpredictable. He dropped out of Hardrock with a sprained ankle. He is only 23 years old but he has shown the ability to run well and win on every type of course. He’s been hanging out with Kilian lately – perhaps getting some pointers?
Hal Koerner: The great ultrarunner and author is looking to improve on his 38:55:39 finish from 2011. That should not be a problem. He looks like he’s in great shape – perhaps he is looking to win back more than his pride.
Brian Rusiecki: In the last five months, Brian has raced five 50-milers and two 100-milers. That is a ton of racing! He’s obviously in great shape but is he burnt out? I doubt it. However, while he has won on some challenging courses (Cascade Crest, Mountain Masochist), it hasn’t been anything like UTMB. Nevertheless, he is my dark horse to slip into the top ten.
Mike Wardian: Mike didn’t get a mention on iRunFar but I think he’s another dark horse to make the top ten. The quirky Virginian is as much a constant in the sport as anyone, and I wouldn’t put it past him to drop a great race.
The American Women
Rory Bosio: Last year, Rory finished 7th overall. If she runs like that again, she will win again. Last year, she was less than an hour behind Timothy Olson (4th place). How high up the ladder can Rory go?
Meghan Arbogast: Meghan was 13th last year at UTMB. She probably won’t be in contention for the win, but a top-ten finish is definitely a possibility. She seems like a great lady and I really hope she can get it done.
Ashley Arnold: Ashley has not raced well over the last year. However, when she is good, she’s very good. At UTMB, a great day will place her in the top three. Let’s see if she can make it happen.
Here are a few short videos from The North Face – they are pretty entertaining: