2016 round up … what a year it was

Last updated: 28-Dec-16

By Alice Morrison 

It’s been a fantastic year in the ultra running community. World records smashed, stereotypes vanquished and hopes and dreams realised. We have been covering it all the way and here is our look back at 2016. Put those tired feet up and enjoy.

Record Breakers

The year kicked off with Adam Kimble beginning his quest to break the record for the fastest crossing of America on foot which had stood since 1980 at 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes. It was set by Frank Giannino Jnr. The route is just over 3,000 miles long and starts at Huntington Beach, California, finishing in Times Square. 

Sadly, he was not to succeed but later in the year, Pete Kostelnick did. He ran the 3,100 miles between San Francisco and New York in 42 days 6 hours 30 minutes, which comes out as an average of around 73 miles a day. Just after the race, Pete said, “It was more mentally and emotionally draining than physical. I think if you can get past the mental part of it and train your body… I think training for this, mentally training for it, putting in the miles, was as important as training my body.”

Challenges

There is nothing an ultra runner likes more than a challenge and there were lots of them this year – many of them to raise awareness of great causes like Marina Ranger and Lucja Leonard’s 500km near-naked jaunt across Holland in five days to raise money and awareness for the Pink Ribbon Foundation

Another of our favourites was Ben Smith’s 401 Challenge. Ben ran his 401st marathon in his home city of Bristol (England, UK) on Wednesday 5th October to complete his epic feat of running 401 marathons in 401 days to raise money for Stonewall and Kidscape and to campaign against bullying. He ran a massive 10,506 miles, burned over 2.5 million calories, wore out 22 pairs of trainers and gave 101 motivational talks to schools, colleges and universities to raise awareness of bullying. When he ran his 53rd marathon on October 23, he broke the Guinness World Record for the most marathons run on consecutive days.

Let’s hear it for the girls

Let’s hear it

A year of fantastic performances by female athletes in the sport, breaking records, placing highly overall and winning outright. In June, British ultra runner, Jo Williams, triumphed at the Richtersveld Transfrontier Wildrun winning the race with Tobias Mews coming in second. She took first place in the run with a fantastic time of 22.23.01 and Tobias Mews came in in second place and as first man with 22.42.00.

The 2016 Australia’s Big Red Run will be remembered by the dominant and outstanding performance of 2015 MDS ladies champion, Elisabet Barnes who won the race. Elisabet broke away on day 1 to win the stage outright, on day 2 under the harsh wet conditions she repeated the process and this scenario was echoed on day 5. Stage 4 was the only one she lost.  

Age is no barrier

The legend that is Marco Olmo (68) proved, once again, that age IS just a number by coming first in the Ultra Bolivia Race 2016 –  a 170 km self-supported race over 6 stages across the Bolivian Altiplano in South America. Marco completed in a time of 16:44:10, well ahead of ahead of Frenchman Christophe Martin (19:08:45) and the Canadian Paul Chan (20:18:35). He also set a new course record, breaking Tommy Chen’s 18:25:03.

In October, Doyle Carpenter (77) won the Endless Mile in Alabaster, Alabama, completing 149 miles within the 48-hour time limit. According to Hirofumi Tanaka, director of the Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, the older the age group, the sharper the improvement, narrowing the performance gap between older and younger athletes.

The Classics

No round up of the year would be complete without a quick look back at the classics.

Marathon des Sables – MDS: Rachid El Morabity stormed first place for the men, the reigning champion retook his crown. For the women, the Russian Natalia Sedykh ran a truly brilliant race and surged ahead from the start. The team competition was almost a foregone conclusion for first place with so many of the top male runners being members of TGCC but congratulations also to Team I Run 4 Hope, who came in second and ran to raise awareness of ADHD. 

UTMB: It is THE iconic single-stage mountain race which passes through three different countries as it follows the route of the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Italy and Switzerland. 170km with 10000m of ascent. 2500 starters set off. Ludovic Pommeret of France and Caroline Chaverot also of France were the heroic winners. 

BADWATER: The men and the women’s records were crushed at Badwater 135 this year. Pete Kostelnick, who won last year, came in at 21.56.32 which bested the previous record by an hour. It was set by Valmir Nunes, who won in 2007. Alyson Venti delivered a time of 25.33.07 after running an impeccable race and coming fifth overall. 

And finally… the one we all want to do

Pasang Lama. Photo credit: RunUltra.

The Everest Trail Race was won by Pasang Lama Sherpa (Nepal) and Andreja Sterle Podobnik (Slovenia). Winding through the remote Solukhumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal, the Everest Trail Race (ETR) is an annual multi-stage footrace, with a brutal range in altitude of more than 25,000 metres. Along hard trails of frozen earth, crunching through crisp snow and running over different types of rock, red, green and grey in colour, it covers a gruelling 160km over six days.

One for 2017? Sign up here.

"Ben Smith ran a massive 10,506 miles, burned over 2.5 million calories, wore out 22 pairs of trainers and gave 101 motivational talks to schools, colleges and universities to raise awareness of bullying"

Like what you read?

Click here to sign up for more

Related news

Latest news

MIUT 85k Race Report

MIUT 85k Race Report I want to share my experience of the MIUT 85k as a novice Ultra-Runner – what my background is, how I prepared, how

Read More »

SEARCH

Filters

Distance
Distance - slider
0KM500KM
Entry Fee
Entry Fee - slider
010000

DATE SEARCh

Date Range

Global - Virtual

Elevation

A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for

For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Elevation

An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for

Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Brutal

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude)

Suitable for

Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Expert

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat)

Suitable for

Experienced runners who have completed at least 4 ultras in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Advanced

Elevation

Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Intermediate

Elevation

Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed at least one ultra in last 6 months or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Beginner

Elevation

Very little change < 500 metres

Suitable for

First ultra event. Runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running (>26 miles) in the last 6 months.