Plenty Of Americans Secure Qualification To 2024 UTMB World Series Finals After Challenging Weekend At Kodiak Ultras By UTMB

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This weekend, in the city of Big Bear Lake, California, just three hours outside of Los Angeles, runners were challenged by Kodiak Ultra Marathons by UTMB.

The race would also serve as a dual qualifier to the 2024 UTMB World Series Final, held at the end of August in Chamonix, France, and the 2024 Western States Endurance Run.

The weekend featured five different race categories, including 100 miles, 100k, 50k, 20k, and 10k.

Ultrarunners in these races would be faced with changing climates throughout the races. The varying topography would bring runners through high desert, sub-alpine, and semi-arid climates.

France’s Bouillard and Bannwarth Take Victories in 100-Mile Race

In the men’s 100-mile race, Tony Torres (UTMB Index 763) was looking to defend his 2022 and 2021 titles and was the favorite coming into the race.

He would have to face a strong international field with Jhon Barrera (UTMB Index 841) of Columbia, Nicholas Lightbody (UTMB Index 828) of Canada, and Vincent Bouillard (UTMB Index 794) of France.

The Frenchman Vincent Bouillard would cover the challenge 100-mile course in 16:22:08 to take the top step on the podium in dominant style.

Bouillard came into Kodiak Ultras with momentum from a win earlier this year at Gorge Waterfalls 100k.

Michael Tappel of the USA was a little under two hours behind Bouillard. Tappel would place second after completing the course in 18:15:29

Columbian Jhon Barrera would round out the top three, crossing the line in 19:24:51.

Race favorite Tony Torres would not complete the race. 

In the women’s 100-mile race, Tara Fraga (UTMB Index 740) of the USA was a strong favorite, coming off a top-ten finish at UTMB Mont Blanc CCC last month.

She wouldn’t be without strong competition in France’s Claire Bannwarth (UTMB Index 696), who has had a busy and successful season, with Kodiak Ultras being her tenth 100-mile race of the 2023 season.

After 21:10:28, it would be France’s Claire Bannwarth across the line first. 

In a dominant performance, it would be over 2 hours and 40 minutes before second place Genevieve Harrison of the USA would complete the course in 23:51:48. Her American compatriot Caroline Himbert would come in close to Harrison with a time of 24:11:45.

Tara Fraga, one of the race favorites, would not complete the race.

Americans Farvard and Basham Win 100k On Home Soil

In the 100k race, the men’s field included American Jesus Topete JR (UTMB Index 778), who would be looking to defend his title after winning last year’s edition.

However, it would be American Rod Farvard who completed the race first with a time of 9:18:22. France’s Benard Valentin would finish 20 minutes behind in 9:39:39. American Tommy Sullivan would round out the podium, finishing in 10:10:05.

Topete would settle for a top-ten place, completing the course in 11:33:33.

The women’s race also featured the previous edition’s winner, Alissa St Laurent (UTMB Index 706) of Canada. She would be carrying momentum into the race after a victory last month at the Grindstone Trail Running Festival 100-mile race

It would be an American sweep on the podium, with Amanda Basham completing the course in 11:04:13. Amy Sturgill and Brigette Takeuchi would take second and third, completing the course in 11:41:08 and 12:03:18, respectively.

American Podium Sweeps In Men’s and Women’s 50k Race

It would be the 50k race to feature the deepest fields. 

In the men’s race, American Seth Ruhling (UTMB Index 893) was coming off a sixth-place finish at UTMB Mont Blanc CCC earlier this year. 

He would be challenged by fellow Americans Eli Hemming (UTMB Index 913) and Anthony Costales (UTMB Index 890). 

It would be American Chad Hall who claimed victory with a stunning time of 3:45:41.

Following close behind to take second place was Hemming, who completed the course in 3:49:35.

Rounding out an all-American podium was Philip Royer, who crossed the line after 3:56:05.

The women’s race featured Dani Moreno (UTMB Index 773), who has shown top form all season, winning the Eiger Ultra Trail E35 earlier this year.

She would be up against American EmKay Sullivan, who was looking for redemption following a disappointing DNF at the UTMB World Series Finals

It would be Moreno to take a convincing victory after completing the course in 4:19:08.

Behind her would be Bailey Kowalczyk, who finished the race in 4:27:04. Rounding out the podium was Tabor Hemming, who was 20 minutes back from Moreno, finishing in a time of 4:40:49.

The next UTMB World Series Race on the calendar is Ultra Trail Mount Yun, taking place from October 20 to 22 in China.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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