Many storylines at the Mad City 100KApril 5, 2010
The Mad City 100K, to be held in Madison, Wisconsin on April 10th, could be previewed from many perspectives. Below are a few of them.
[Update for April 8th: Oz Pearlman is no longer listed as an entrant.]
Quality, Not Quantity. Only 30 people are registered for the 100K as of this writing, but many of them have a legitimate shot at a USATF championship title and a berth on the United States 100K team that will compete in Gibraltar on November 7th. Top women include Meghan Arbogast, Annette Bednosky, Jenny Capel, Sonya Decker, Melanie Fryar, and Krissy Moehl. Top men include Michael Arnstein, Howard Nippert, Chikara Omine, Oz Pearlman, Chad Ricklefs, Matt Woods, and yours truly. (My apologies to anyone who was unfairly omitted from this list.)
Which Weather Will Prevail? Weather was unseasonably chilly during the first two Mad City 100K’s (in 2007 and 2008). Water was said to have frozen after being poured into aid station cups, although reports that runners broke their teeth on hardened gel packets are probably apocryphal. Last year, the 100K was shortened to a 50K and the temperatures were fine. The 10th is forecasted to be mostly sunny with a high of 63 degrees. We shall see.
Men’s Race: Another JFK? Five of the male contenders listed above raced each other in the JFK 50 Mile last November: me (1st, 5:50:13), Arnstein (2nd, 5:50:58), Woods (3rd, 5:54:10), Ricklefs (5th, 6:06:51), and Pearlman (7th, 6:09:30). There are plenty of reasons to think that things could turn out differently at Mad City, however. JFK was Woods’ first race of 50 miles or longer, so he may be ready to challenge for the win this time around. Pearlman was hampered at JFK by residual fatigue from the Chicago Lakefront 50-Miler, which he had won (in an excellent time of 5:25) just three weeks earlier. And it would be a mistake to ignore Nippert, America’s best 100K road runner between 2002 and 2007 and one of three former USATF 100K road champions in the field (along with Ricklefs and me).
Women’s Race: Who Will Challenge Arbogast? The Corvallis, Oregon resident has the best road 100K credentials of the women, including a 5th-place 8:04 at last June’s World Cup 100K. She also ran 2:46 at the Napa Valley Marathon in February. Bednosky finished only six minutes behind Arbogast at JFK. Moehl has both low-18-minute 5K speed and the endurance to win rugged 100-milers such as the Tour du Mont Blanc but hasn’t raced a lot of flat ultras, so it will be interesting to see how she fares. Decker, a 2:51 marathoner, is returning to Mad City after two valiant but unsuccessful previous attempts to run a national team-worthy time there.
Youth Versus Experience. In races as long as 100 kilometers, “masters” runners (40 and older) can sometimes keep pace with their younger counterparts, leading to spectacular and entertaining intergenerational duels. Among those capable of teaching the young whippersnappers a thing or two are Arbogast (48), Bednosky (43), Decker (43), Nippert (44), and Ricklefs (42). And any list of overaged overachievers competing at Mad City would be incomplete without Roy Pirrung (61), who was on the national 24-hour team as recently as last year.
To find out what actually happens, you can tune into the Mad City webcast, which will be posted to http://www.runrace.net/findarace.php?id=10100WI&tab=a5.