Since those previews were written, there have been some notable changes. On the women’s side, Amanda Basham is probably out. Jackie is out and Natalie Thompson is out. However, Sabrina Little and Amy Rusiecki are in. Sabrina will compete for a top-five finish and Amy should find herself somewhere in the top ten. On the men’s side, Jorge is out but Dylan Bowman is in. The 2015 champ, Mario Mendoza, may be in – it’s still up in the air. Other additions include Brian Rusiecki and Fred Joslyn. All in all, this is one of the most competitive fields ever for an east-coast ultra.
The weather forecast is low 70s with a chance of rain. That’s pretty much what it was like last year – the course gets a little slippery and a little muddy, but it’s definitely preferable to the 90-degree temperatures that are forecast for this weekend!
Final Analysis: The Women’s Race
I could geek out on running stuff all day, every day – so here you have it. I expect a fairly conservative start to the women’s race. The top returnees (Laura and Karen) have no incentive to take it out hard, and the newbees will be thrown off by the variable terrain early on. If anyone tries to make an early break, I suspect it will be Caitlin Smith. With Amanda out, this race will be wide open!!
Predicted winning time: 8:32:00
Predicted top five:
– Caitlin Smith
– Laura Kline
– Sabrina Little
– Heather Hoechst
– Karen Holland
Final Analysis: The Men’s Race
Here’s the flip side. I think this race will go out stupid fast – key word possibly being stupid. I don’t think Matt Flaherty, Tyler Sigl and Zach Ornelas will stop to enjoy the scenery the first few miles. The question is who else will go with them and how much carnage will there be. Last year, Jared also went out pretty quick, but it was his first ultra, and he didn’t know the course as well as he does now. Mario sat back a little and was able to move through the top of the field. That strategy worked in 2015, but the field this year is much deeper. Dylan Bowman is also a closer.
Predicted winning time: 6:54:00
Predicted top five:
– Jared Burdick
– Dylan Bowman
– Mario Mendoza (if he makes it)
– Matt Flaherty
– Jan Wellford
Other important race notes:
– with Chad Trumbo not on the entry list, Matt Flaherty’s mustache will have no real competition this year
– the men’s race has never had an east-coast winner
– the race has runners from Nike, Topo, Altra, North Face and Salomon – anyone I’m missing?
– will Ian be able to produce a sound from the ram’s horn?
– which Ithaca beers will be most popular during the post-race festivities?
– for a different perspective, check out this race preview from Lauren