By Barb Jewell, RRCA WI State Representative
The RRCA National Ultra Championship was held Saturday, May 11th in La Grange, Wisconsin at the 38th Annual Ice Age Trail 50, one of the oldest continuously-running ultras in the country.
The race is sponsored by the Badgerland Striders and staged entirely by enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers, with many of the volunteers having served Ice Age runners for more than 20 years. Jeff Mallach has served as race director for the past 10 years.
Participants included many first time ultrarunners as well as 12 starters in the Ice Age Hall of Fame with more than 20 finishes. Runners were treated to a cool and overcast day as they made their way through the scenic and historic trails in the Southern Kettle Moraine Forest. The challenging course traverses forests, rocky ridges, and open prairies and features lakes, kettles, kames, erratics and other natural features left when the glaciers retreated from Wisconsin more than 10,000 years ago.
361 runners completed the race in an average time of 10:15:12. One of the event highlights is the coming together of volunteers and spectators to cheer on the final runners to beat the cut-off time of 12 hours. It was quite an emotional scene as the final official finisher crossed the line with just 45 seconds to spare.
While the course record of 5:41:07 set by Max King in 2014 was not threatened, Michael Quesnell, 25, of Madison, WI finished in an excellent time of 6:33:20 to take top honors. Blair Doney, 29, of Denver, CO was the overall female champion in 7:42:48.
Congratulations RRCA National Ultra Champions:
Michael Quesnell, age 25, of Madison, WI, in a time of 6:33:20
Blair Doney, age 29, of Denver, CO in a time of 7:42:48 (pictured above)
Ondrej Tomek with a time of 7:53:02
Jennifer St. Amand with a time of 9:08:50
John Horns with a time of 8:07:19
Meg Pond Louthan with a time of 9:32:48
MALE SENIOR GRANDMASTER:
David Ulbert with a time of 9:07:25
FEMALE SENIOR GRANDMASTER:
Kathy Siculan with a time of 11:32:44
Since 1958, the RRCA has awarded championship events through a competitive bidding process
at the National, Regional, and State level to RRCA member clubs and events to promote the sport of distance running. The RRCA Championship Event Series is the largest grassroots-organized running series in the U.S. with over 200 races participating that attract nearly 300,000 participants.
The goal of the RRCA Championship Event Series is to celebrate and shine a spotlight on well-run, community-focused events and to award top performing runners in the open, masters (40+), grand masters (50+), and senior grand masters (60+) categories for both men and women.