Monday, February 9, 2015

Black Canyon 100k Predictions

I'm looking forward to heading over to Arizona and checking out a new trail this weekend.  While I usually seek out races with more elevation gain and loss, this race looks fun.  I'll get to run through Saguaro Cacti and hopefully it will be technical enough to slow everyone down a bit.

course photo from

MEN - 1st finisher ~ 8:20:

1) Ryan Ghelfi 
photo by Nate Dunn

Looks like he's recently moved from Ashland to Flagstaff.  He placed 18th at North Face 50M last year, 4th at Run Rabbit Run 100, and 6th at Sonoma.  He runs a lot of competitive races and does well.  He's got my nod for the dubbya.

2) Catlow Shipek
photo by Criss Furman

He's a very well rounded runner, from winning Javelina Jundred in 14:51, winning Zane Grey to solid Skyrunning results.  He's stepped up his game recently and will earn the other golden ticket to the big dance at Western States since this is a Montrail Cup raace.

3) Hal Koerner 
photo from
While he hasn't raced since last April, and is recovering from a knee injury, he's still Hal.  If he shows up he'll do well.  He's won Hardrock, Javelina Jundred and all kinda of races in between.  If he's healthy he will be up front.

Kalib Wilkinson 
photo by Alberto R. Cardona
He placed 4th at JFK last year, has run a 7:29 100k, a 3:28 50k.   Word on the street is he is out.

Jacob Puzey

Another Flagstaffian, he's racked up a bunch of W's including a couple at Peterson Ridge Rumble.  He's been posting impressive stuff on Strava lately.  I don't think he's run anything over 50 miles.  

Dave James 

Dave has a very impressive long list of remarkable results, such as his 14:20 win at Javelina Jundred.  He's not consistently this good, so will he show up and end up on the podium, or have an off day.  Either way it's exciting to see his name on the list.

Ford Smith

Dude's only 18, but he's won his last 3 races, including a 5:48 50 miler.  He hasn't done as well at his couple 100 milers.  We'll see how he does at 100k.

Jeremy Wolf 

Jeremy has run well at a handful of sky running races lately, Flagstaff, Rut, and Speedgoat.  Seems like he likes the 50k distance.  We'll see how this Montanan holds up in the heat over a longer distance.  Will be running around overseas with Schlarb.

Michael Daigeaun

Hailing from Austin, Michael has some W's under his belt, including a 3:23 50k and 8:02 100k.

Michael Carson 

photo from
 Michael won this race last year and has done very well at tons of local races, including a W at Man V. Horse.

Brian Tinder 

He's won the Bootlegger 25k the last two years in a row, so he has speed.  He doesn't have as many stout results at longer distances, he did place 4th here last year.

Dennis Pollow Jr.  

He's run a 3:24 50k and has a lot of other fast times at local races.

Mark Richtman 

Mark will pass a lot of people towards the end.  He reminds me a bit of my friends Tommy Nielsen,  they're both seasoned veterans with a lot of talent.  People will be sitting around the finish line after the race talking about when Mark passed them, mile 40, 50, etc.  He placed 4th at Miwok last year.  He's looking fit on recent Strava runs and is primed for a solid result.

Michael Versteeg 

Michael placed 2nd here last year, and has a lot of solid results at Squamish, Lake Sonoma and last years Flagstaff 55k Skyrunning race.

Sion Lupowitz 

Fresh of a Cold Water Rumble 52k win last month, he'll be ready to party.  He hasn't run anything over 50M, so we'll see how an extra 11 miles of rocks treats him.

Jacob Singleton

Placed 4th at the Flagstaff 55k last year.  Hasn't run farther than 50 miles, but I gotta show my fellow San Gabriel Mountains front range runner from Glendora some love.

Zac Marion
Zac heat training.

Winner of the Ouray 100M and Bryce 100M last year.

WOMEN - 1st place finisher ~ 9:10

1) Kaci Lickteig 

photo by Belinda Agamaite
After placing 6th at WS last year she went on to win Javelina Jundred in 15:40

2) Michele Yates 

With many wins including North Face 50 and Run Rabbit Run, she's the real deal, pure athlete.  She hasn't raced since June and has an adorable two month old now.  Didn't Paula Radcliffe set the marathon record shortly after giving birth?  We'll see if two months of solid training is enough for her to run away with a victory.

3) Angela Shartel 

With Kaci already guaranteed a WS slot, I predict Angela will snag the second ticket to the big dance.  She just keeps getting better and better, winning Massanutten last year and placing 5th at Lake Sonoma.

Caroline Boller

photo by Ultrasportsphotos

Caroline tends to run competitive races and do well in them.  She placed 3rd this January at Bandera 100k and was 5th in December at North Face 50M.  It doesn't feel right to place her back in fourth, but it's a competitive field!

Neela D'Souza

Neela hasn't run over 50 miles yet, but she has won most of the races she has run.  This will probably be her most competitive run yet.

Sonja Wieck
photo from

While she's only run a handful of ultras, her results include wins at Moab 55k (pictured above) and a hundred miler in Utah, so she has speed and she can run far.  I believe she's a triathlete and has qualified for Kona before.

Gina Lucrezi 
photo by Tad Davis

A USATF 10k champ with a recent W at Silver Rush 50M, and good results at races like North Face, Chuckanut and Ice Age... I've got a feeling she's chasing the golden ticket.

Leslie Howlett 

With a win at Bryce 100M last year, a 4th at Run Rabbit Run 100M and other good results at competitive races, she'll be in the mix.

Katrin Silva 

Last years winner.  She Also won Chimera 100M last year and three other races.  

Katie Desplinter

Won Bishop High Sierra 50M last year, has been running PR's lately in training.  I expect a 100k PR for her this Saturday.

Holly Miller

She's won a couple 50k's, how will she do with twice the distance?

If I've learned anything from my history of feeble attempts at predicting ultra results, it's this:  At least a couple of the men and women won't show, at least a couple will drop and a couple will blow up but grunt out a finish.  As Jon Clark says, ultra running is a sport of attrition.  

I'm sure I've given too little credit to some, too much to others, or failed to see someone that should be mentioned.  Please let me know what you think!

As per usual I didn't put myself anywhere on the list.  I am feeling fresh, but a little undertrained.  Flat races aren't my forte, but I like to mix it up and this race looks like a good time.  I always have fun in Arizona, and/or when I'm surrounded by Arizonans, can't wait for Saturday!


  1. Nice preview Chris! Just an fyi...when you have a baby you can't start running right away, so it has been more like 6 weeks of training for Michele. Also, she did run a marathon in July and some shorter races in the fall so she was able to keep her fitness...well as well as a pregnant woman can. Good luck this weekend! We will see you there!

  2. Thanks for filling me in. See you soon =)

  3. Michael D is a low 2:20's marathoner, if he has a good day he'll be in podium contention of not the outright win.

  4. Will be fun to see you Saturday Chris! Where did you get that picture? Lol :)

  5. Versteeg, Shipek, Carson & Smith make that a very interesting mix along with everyone else! It was a super-competitive SOB 100km and this one doesn't look like it'll disappoint either :)

  6. Don't count out Sion Lupowitz! I wouldn't be surprised if he is top ten.

    1. Oops! I had him on my hand written list and failed to type him in. I think he won his last race and he will definitely be in the mix.

  7. Jeremy Wolf and I are headed to New Zealand, so no Wolf.
    Rob Coslick is another guy who will be in the top 10 mix. Sub 2:30 marathon, he has won 4 straight X-Terra races this winter in Phoenix, 90+ miles/week. WhiIe it's his first ultra, I'm confident, I'm also his coach :)

  8. Jeremy Wolf and I are headed to New Zealand, so no Wolf.
    Rob Coslick is another guy who will be in the top 10 mix. Sub 2:30 marathon, he has won 4 straight X-Terra races this winter in Phoenix, 90+ miles/week. WhiIe it's his first ultra, I'm confident, I'm also his coach :)

    1. Have fun in New Zealand Jason and thanks for the heads up on Rob. He sounds legit!