2015 Ice Age Preview
The 2014 edition of the Ice Age Trail 50 mile was a race that some said would never happen. Combine moderate temperatures, extremely fast like-minded competitors, and a dry course and you get the fastest single day in Ice Age history! The relatively cool air temperatures at the start which rose along with the humidity through the day challenged the hundreds who took part in the Ice Age 50 Mile. One word described the men’s race, speed, and Max King ended up being the fastest resetting the course record (5:41:07) in the process! The women’s race was a little more spread out with Kaci Lickteig taking the win and the course record (6:41:39)!
The 2015 edition of the Ice Age Trail 50 miler has undergone some changes. First, the sponsor changed from Montrail to Salomon. Second, the race will no longer be offering automatic Western States 100 entries. What has not changed is the fact that this is a storied race, on a deceivingly difficult course, with a very fast field. The Ice Age Trail 50 has always drawn those newer to ultras, those with incredible road speed, and the wily veterans. This year will be no different. Following is a short breakdown of those who may contend for the top spots on Saturday!
Joshua Brimhall (AdiUltra/Nathan Sport)Josh definitely fits into the veteran category. With more than 60 ultra finishes you will rarely see a finish lower than 5th; in fact most of Josh’s finishes are 1st or 2nd. Most recently Josh took fourth at the Zane Grey 50 miler, a race most would describe as the hardest 50 miler in the States. Josh has also won a 50k in 3:34. The last time he raced Ice Age (2013) he fell a little shy of his goal of a win with a 6:25. Expect Josh to come ready to race, and looking for some payback from this course.
Zachary Ornelas (Skechers)There seems to be one thing in common with all “Skechers” sponsored athletes (Meb Keflezighi, Kara Goucher…) they are all ridiculously fast. Well Zach is no different. Zach just obliterated the competition at the US 50k Road Championships at the Coumsett 50k with an otherworldly time of 2:52:17!! That’s right; only 6 North American’s have run a faster 50k. Zach, a teacher from Michigan, is new to ultras. He gave ultras a go in 2014, while also running his first Marathon, a 2:20! (Yes he still plans to go for an Olympic Trials Qualifier) Expect Zach to come ready to chase down Max King’s CR and anyone else who gets in front of him!
Zach Bitter (Altra)Another Zach, one who is not new to Ultras or Ice Age is Zach Bitter. This will be Zach’s 4th Ice Age 50. He has a 1st, 3rd, and 6th. As impressive as Zach’s Ice Age stats are, it is the rest of his resume that sets him apart from most other runners. The 100 Mile American Record (11:47), the 12 Hour world record (101.66 miles), the 200k American Track Record (16:23:33), and the 6th fastest 50 mile time ever (5:12:36) to name a few. To top those off he also represented the USA at the 2014 world 100k Championships in Qatar finishing in 6th (6:48). Recently Zach attempted to better his own 100 mile American record and go after world record, only to succumb to some severe quad issues. In the past when a race has not gone according to plan for Zach he has shown the ability to channel all of the frustration into his next event. With Zach’s intimate course knowledge expect him to come ready to hammer this course!
Chris RubeschChris has finished 27 ultras, garnering 26 top 10’s, 7 wins, and a few course records. He has raced Ice Age twice now with an 11th and 10th place finish. Chris has a 100 mile PR of 16:40, and really knows how to push through the suffering. Look for him to push hard with the front.
Stuart KolbStuart is a Wisconsin native with 14 Ice Age 50 Mile finishes. 13 of those have been top 10’s! Stuart has a 50 mile PR of 6:10 and an Ice Age 50 mile PR of 6:32. With his experience and course knowledge look for him to run right behind the front pack waiting to pick off any who struggle!
Jessica GarciaJessica is a Wisconsin native who races to win. Jessica has finished 9 ultras in her career with 7 of those being top 3 finishes. She ran Ice Age in 2014 placing 6th in 8:14. She recently took 3rd at the Chicago Lakefront 50K. Expect Jessica to bring her speed and toughness to this race.
Annie WeissAnnie, a registered dietician, burst onto the trail ultra scene in 2011. Crossing over from a road racing background she quickly won her first two ultras (50k’s) and took second in her first 50 miler. Then injury struck. Annie started her comeback in 2014 and is now being coached by Tommy “Rivers” Puzey and comeback she has! So far in 2015 Annie has taken 5th at the uber competitive Black Canyon 100K, and a 3rd at the Chippewa 50k. Look for Annie to continue that comeback. OH as an aside the last time Annie raced an Ice Age Trail event it was the 50k and she won.
Serena WilcoxSerena ran her first ultra in 2008, so she knows a thing or two about racing. She also happens to know something about winning while suffering. She won the 2011 Vermont 100, and last year took 12th at the Western States 100. She has a 50 mile PR of 7:35 so she also knows how to run really fast. Serena is slated to run Western States again this year. She has already run a 50k and 50 mile as tune ups. Watch for Serena to run her own race, and if she’s in position take it out for the win.
Also for your reading pleasure, here is the link to the www.iRunFar.com "This Week In Running: May 4th 2015" article including the Ice Age Trail preview information. Please check back in to the www.iRunFar.com site on Monday May 11th for a recap of the action for the race!