Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Leadville 100 Predictions

I won't be running myself, but I will be in America's highest incorporated town this weekend with the family following the action in the early going before pacing Harry Harcrow to a sub-19 hour finish through the last 25 miles. Sub 25-hour runners get the big dinner plate belt buckle, but the real challenge is the 20-hour mark. Here's a quick look at a few of the names that could, and maybe should, be getting back into Leadville before midnight.

The Contenders

I'll start with the front of the field and the headline match-up: Tim Parr vs. Anton Krupicka. There is absolutely no doubt that Parr is fit and ready, having just won the US Mountain Running qualifier at Cheyenne Canon a few weeks back, in addition to destroying the field just four days ago at the Pikes Ascent in a blistering 2:12. He trains at high altitude, has surely been running high mileage, and will surprise a few people who maybe haven't heard of him before and think this race is all about Tony. Which brings me to Krupicka, two time winner and second fastest ever over the course. Not only has Tony won the race twice, but he also lives and trains through the summer months in Leadville. He set a very impressive course record at the USATF 50 mile championship a few weeks back, and appears to be in great shape. If I were a bookmaker, I'd have to make Tony the favorite, but I certainly wouldn't be offering any better than 2-1 on Tim.

My pick? I'm gonna stick my neck out and say that Parr wins this duel, but not necessarily the race.

The other contender for the win? Dennis Flanagan. He came from nowhere to win the Leadville Marathon, setting a seven-minute course record in the process and beating Tony by a convincing eight minutes. For whatever reason he didn't show up for the Leadville 50, so there might be some injury doubts, in addition to doubts that he can go the distance (having never run a 100 miler before - as far as I know), but he certainly knows how to run trail and how to run trail fast. Definitely a wild card.

The Chase Pack

Nobody is giving much love to the defending champ, Duncan Callahan, in discussing this year's race, which is a mistake. He may not have the ability to run 16 hours, but he'll be in the vicinity should the lead runners crumble and whither under too hot of a pace. Duncan had a solid run for third at the Leadville Marathon, in addition to a few other races through the season, but his focus appears to be 100% centered on Leadville. He trains hard, has a strong competitive spirit and will be ready. Look for him to beat his winning time of 18:02 from last year.

Zeke Tiernan was third last year in a strong 18:37. I have no idea how his season is going, but based on last year's finish, he has to be considered for a top five this year.

Andy Jones Wilkins has been running well this year, as he seems to do most years in the 100-mile category. He won Rocky Raccoon, placed 10th at States, and then followed that up a couple weeks later with a very strong run at Hardrock. You can count on Andy to sweep up any carnage that comes his way through the last 25 miles. Top five.

Harry Harcrow is another steady 100 miler who knows how to get it done. He's shooting for a PR, so anything under 19:30. I'll be pacing him through the last 25 and will be wielding the whip. I hope to get him home in under 19 hours, but first he's got to get to Fish Hatchery in one piece and on pace.

Nick Pedatella has been logging some big miles in training and says he's hoping to go under 20 hours. He is more than capable of going under 20. Nick, you should be looking at the 19-hour number!

Ryan Burch. Well, all I can say about Ryan and Leadville is that he proposed to Megan, his wife, on top of Sugarloaf last year on the way back to Leadville, all while blowing up big time. This followed a similar disappointment the year before (the blowing up part). That said, he keeps pushing out impressive 50-mile performances, including wins at Leadville and Jemez Mountain this year alone. He's pretty steadfast in his desire to 'get it done' in under 25 hours, all while not suffering too much, regardless of how much I've been prodding him to run competitively. If he can get to the turn and back over Hope in good shape, he might mount a late charge, but don't look for him to be running too hard; he just wants the monkey off his back.

Charles Corfield has had a couple of strong finishes at Leadville. Look for him to run under 20 and challenge for a top five.

Jeff Beuche has gone under 20 hours before and finished top three in '06. No idea what kind of shape he is in this year, but should run strong.

Glenn Steckler has had some good 50-mile finishes this year, including a fourth at Fruita and fifth at Collegiate Peaks. He ran Leadville in the 22-hour range last year. Has the potential to go faster.

Jason Koop has run Leadville in the 22-hour range. Could be there again for a top ten.

Other names I recognize that could run well

Todd Ganglehoff
Garrett Graubins
Scott Klopfenstein
Ryan Cooper
Bryon Powell

Shout outs

Kirk Apt is running his 15th (or something like that) Leadville this year. He won way back when in a record-slow winning time. The trails were rivers that year, apparently.

Jonathan Zeif is a friend, local trail runner and member of the Fort Collins Running Club looking for the big 1,000 mile belt buckle this year. No doubt in my mind that he will get it done, it's just a question of how fast he will go.

Doug Nash is another friend and member of the Fort Collins Running Club. He's had two good finishes at Leadville and is dogged enough to pull off a third, despite a sketchy training build-up.

Corey Hanson is another local trail runner and occasional running partner. Normally I would put him higher in the rankings as he is a fast runner, but he's been dealing with some Achilles issues and is deep into his bid for Leadman'dom. With a finish on Saturday/Sunday he becomes a Leadman. No doubt in my mind that it will happen.

Jeff O'Reilly has had a nightmare season with injuries, and he dropped from last year's race. He hasn't run much, if at all, in the last two months, but I'm pulling for him to save his season by getting a finish at Leadville on Sunday.

Brooks Williams is Anton K's former room-mate, landlord, and all around nice guy. This will be his first 100, so I hope he's been getting some good advice from Anton.

Jon Teisher, aka PitBrownie, will be looking to set a PBR consumption record over the course of a 100 miler. I believe he put away three at Hardrock in addition to a shot of whiskey and a fat cigar. I know he can do better at Leadville. Oh, and he's looking for some redemption on his DNF from last year. Go get it Brownie!

Top ten prediction

Tim Parr
Anton Krupicka
Duncan Callahan
Zeke Tiernan
Dennis Flanagan
Andy Jones Wilkins
Harry Harcorw
Nick Pedatella
Jeff Beuche
Charles Corfield


The women's race looks to be a three-filly affair with Darcy Africa, Jamie Donaldson and, to a lesser extent, Anita Fromm in with a shout. If I had to pick a winner, my money would be on Darcy, but Jamie is a very strong and experienced 100 miler. Coming off her repeat win at Badwater a few weeks back, she should give Darcy a run for her money. Anita is much slower than these two, but should be good for third.


  1. Simply I go with a person who has proven at the course and distance over a newbie - particularly in a 100. I have not run a 100 but I have talked to enough guys to know it is a different game. What you feel at 40 miles is tough. What you feel a marathon distance later with more than a marathon to go ... ouch.

  2. Yea I vote Tony/Jamie. Until either of them don't win an ultra race, its like betting against Matt Carpenter at Pikes Peak. That is not meant as a slight against anybody else at all. But these two chaps string together 200+ mile weeks during training like nobody's business.

  3. Tony is going to rock it. He is good at the endurance angle where these other guys don't have the background.

    Glad you will be there to cover the race for us. Looking forward to running this myself in 2010.

  4. All in all, I think Leadville is going to be pretty good watching this year.

    Although, I think it will be Tonys race to lose. Experience, course knowledge and downright mountain speed favors Tony vs. Parr. I also think if Parr really puts it down there is no way he can recover in time to compete at the Worlds. I actually think if Parr passed on LT he could potentially medal. I am also going to put Zeke ahead of Duncan, just a gut feeling. Garret will also break the top ten. The cool thing about the men's race is that every person you mentioned is capable of going sub 20 if they have the right race and are in top shape. Smart running is what is going to make the top ten. It will be fun to see how the cards fall.

    Although Jamie and Darcy are both solid runners, I am going to have to give this to Darcy. She just has the mountain running credentials to get it done. Although if Jamie runs a smart race she can make up serious time on the flats. Third will be a dark horse.

    I also think Harry has the potential to go top five, and with you making him work it should be no problem.

    Have a good weekend.

  5. Jamie has set PRs in 2009 for 24 hours (136 miles) and 12 hours (78 miles). Huge numbers. She is on top of her game this year. Will be interesting to 'watch'.

  6. Still no Tony on the start list. That's going to be a shame if he runs, wins, and is not recognized as the winner.

    Flanagan actually ran at CSU in college.

    Boulder roadies will be pulling for Jayson Swigart, 1:08 half marathoner and 2:33 marathoner.

    Another fast 2:30ish road guy, Humberto Zelaya, is on the start list, although he was well off the pace at the Leadville Marathon.

  7. Thanks for the mention. I want the big buckle, and the best way to guarantee one is to break 24 hours!

    But you're crazy for picking Tim P. Tony has been training like a madman on the course. Similar to what Kyle did when he crushed Hardrock. I think Tony will get the record, especially since Timmy will be pushing him for 40 miles or so.

    Saw Parr at the top of Pikes Peak, and he was running so hard that I just assumed he was not going to be doing Leadville since it looked like he couldn't recover in time from such an effort. Still hope he does well, it will be awesome to add another horse to the ultrarunning ranks.

    1. Tony
    2. Timmy
    3. AJW
    4. Duncan
    5. Harry

    Dark horse would have to be Swigart, those are some impressive times. And look for Brian Fisher to get into the top 10.

    And remember, beer is on me if you can somehow slow Harry down enough for me to catch him...

  8. GZ - Being a Brit, I like to pull for the underdog. You've got to run your first 100 at some point (Tony did, and he won). Tim doesn't seem to run races for fun, he runs them to win. If this is the focus of his season, which apparently it is, then I can only believe he is ready.

    Todd - On your comment about running Leadville before Worlds, it seems to me that whether he runs Pb hard or easy, he's still gonna be hurting, so he might as well run hard. Also, refer to point above about him not running races for fun. I would agree, however, that it is Tony's race to lose. On Duncan vs Tiernan, close call, but Duncan is ready, ready, ready. Tiernan might be too, but I'm calling it for Duncan.

    Brett - on the women's race, I think it will be close, but if Darcy is in shape then refer to Todd's point about mountain experience versus running in circles for hours on end.

  9. Brownie - refer to comment above on Tim vs Tony. I'm sticking to my guns, but if you're looking to get even further into beer debt, then I'd be happy to wager a pint on it.

    Good luck on breaking 24 hours. Tip - stay off the juice Friday night, Leadville starts early.

  10. I don't know how frequently they update the entrants list - rumor was that Tony was not on the list because he didn't register in time, it's BS if they don't let him in for that reason. He beats Tim Parr on experience.

    As far as I know Zeke Tiernan and Dennis Flanagan have not raced any ultras this year. So it is a tough call on these two. But I think Duncan will run ~17:30 and take 3rd. The rest of the top-10 is pretty open. But I think AJW will take 4th, Tiernan 5th, Flanagan 6th.

    As for me, 19 might be a bit of a stretch...all depends on how things go up powerline climb and around the lake.

  11. Nick - Agreed on Duncan. That was actually the number he mentioned when I asked him at the Leadville Marathon what his time goal for the 100 was.

    Flanagan is a total wild card as far as I am concerned, so AJW could well take 4th, but I think Tiernan will edge him out. After Parr, Krupicka (if he runs), Callahan and maybe Flanagan it is essentially a craps shoot as far as I'm concerned, although AJW and Tiernan would be my guess for the next two spots. Definitely beyond those guys, it is totally open.

    Have fun out there, and remember the race doesn't start until mile 75, but you've still got to keep yourself in the mix up to that point. Run with confidence!

  12. You're on for that bet. I gotta win a pint from someone one of these days!

  13. Tony's running as far as I can see. Something crazy will have to happen to have him not win.

    Everyone's top fives are missing two guys I both hope for and feel like will be in it: Nick Pedatella and Garett Graubins.

    Have a great time pacing there, Nick! Wish I could see it first hand.

  14. Tim - Not sure Nick has a top five in him, and I really don't know enough about Garrett's form to comment, but I'll take your word for it.

    On Tony, I kind of threw that Tim prediction out there to let people know that this one will not be as one-sided as Tony's two previous runs at Leadville. Whether or not Tim can win is another story, but as I said before I like to pull for the underdog so we'll see. I'm just excited that there is race beyond Tony's race for the CR. Should help him get there, if he's gonna get there.

    This is about as geeked as I've been for a race that I'm not running. Can't wait to follow the action, and then jump into it. Got to love Pbville!

  15. Hey Nick,

    First off - well done at PPA! I was truly impressed with your time being there for the first time.

    Tony is the man to beat. Timmy may have better leg speed than Tony but so does Zeke and Aaron (I beleive) - experience goes a long way. In my opinion, leg speed doesn't translate over 100 miles - it helps - but when you're cooked, you're cooked. Tim Parr has never run 100 has he? He could rip one but based on others, (look at Matt C. first time at Leadville - 22:XX) he will meet a demon that will beat him up pretty good. I predict Tony, Duncan, Zeke, AJW, Parr. No $$ or beer on that! Looking forward to a great race nonetheless. See you there!

  16. I don't really know Tim, and so I will preface this with - I wish him and all the competitors well.

    But I am scratching my head here ... a hundred a couple weeks before worlds? I think Tim could kick butt in worlds but ... well, if he rocks Pb-ville and then comes back and throws down well at worlds - the dude is instant legend. But it just does not seem probable. Hope I am wrong.

  17. Scott - I'm pretty sure this is Tim's first 100, so that is obviously an x factor. That said, he knows what racing 100 is all about, having paced Duncan at Leadville twice, in addition to training with him up in Gunnison on a regular basis. I don't want to sound too much like a cheerleader for the guy, as I don't know him and I only threw his name out there to drum up a bit of conversation, but if I was ever going to pick a guy to bust one out in his first 100, then Tim would be that guy.

    GZ - I couldn't agree more. It took me much longer than I thought it would to feel fully recovered from Bighorn in June. It wasn't so much a muscular thing, but more an all-around fatigue thing. It was probably six weeks before I felt like I had any real zip back in my legs. Maybe he recovers quickly, but my guess is that his race in Italy will be seriously compromised. At the end of the day though, it's his decision. Not like anyone is making any money off this sport, so might as well enjoy it to the max.

  18. I'm with ya. I would love to see Timmy give Tony a run for his money OR better yet, have Tony try to chase down Timmy - makes for a good race.

  19. I have gotten the impression that Tim's main goal for the year was Leadville so it isn't surprising that he is running it even though it may compromise a good run at worlds.

    Nick - I'll have to go for a top five now. Although I just found out I have a really low blood count due to anemia...hopefully once I get this fixed in a few months I won't be nearly as slow with all those extra blood cells.

  20. As far as I can tell, the last time Jamie and Darcy ran Leadville, Jamie beat her by 30 minutes. So I'm saying Tony/Jamie and Parr not even in the top 5...if for no other reason than just to stir up trouble. :) But seriously, I wish nothing but the best for everyone - I just hope its a good race and everyone stays safe.

  21. Well done Nick picking the had a lot of doubters! And more seasoned handicappers didn't even put Tim on their odds list! Kyle

  22. Good pick. I have to wonder if the race would have played out differently if Tony ran this "tactically" for the win versus going for the CR. Obviously it did not work out ...

    Where do these guys keep those damn ore carts anyway?

  23. Kyle, I think I know of whom you talk! BTW - I picked third too. Experience counts in 100 milers, but not as much as some seem to think.

    GZ - I watched Timmy and Tony come up over Hope Pass outbound (got some cool footage that I'll put up later) and they were within 5 minutes of each other. Timmy was cramping at that stage, so I figured then that I'd be eating humble pie with regards to my pick. Looks like he came back very strong towards the end.

    It was a blisteringly hot day in Leadville yesterday and there was some serious carnage on the course. It was a close race the whole way, course record attempt or not. Don't think it would have made a blind bit of difference if Anton was 'just' shooting for the win.

    I finally got to bed at 4:30 this morning after a marathon pacing session. Harry finished 27th in 23:10 after sleeping for over an hour just 13 miles from the finish. I have never seen anyone as depleted as Harry was, but he still managed to get the job done. Nothing but respect.

    Obviously Tim had a great race, but performance of the day, among those that I know, definitely goes to Nick P. Ran strong and controlled the whole way. Also a big shout out to Ryan B who finally got the 100 mile monkey off his back with a strong and controlled run. Congrats to both.

  24. Nick, it's Karl, send me over an email, I lost yours somehow. Need the Speedgoat application filled out.