Exploring the Limits of Age-Group Running at the 2023 Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival – iRunFar

Exploring the Limits of Age-Group Working on the 2023 Jackpot Ultrarunning Competition – iRunFar

Final weekend I had a front-row seat on the USATF 100 Mile Street Nationwide Championships, which have been a part of the Jackpot Ultrarunning Competition, a celebration of working which takes place in stunning Henderson, Nevada. As a commentator for Aravaipa Working’s livestream protection of the race, I obtained to see all of the runners stream by our sales space each mile or so. It offered an exquisite perception into the challenges and alternatives of 100-mile street racing.

Whereas the competitors for the general nationwide championships was a bit much less stacked than in earlier years, in a number of of the age teams, there was intense competitors. Specifically, the lads’s 80-to-84 age group featured 5 seasoned extremely veterans who had clearly come to compete and to compete laborious.  And within the girls’s age-group races, 5 girls of their 60s and 70s took on the space and the competitors of their numerous age teams.

2023 USATF 100 Mile Street Nationwide Championships Males’s Age-Group Races

The boys’s 80-the to-84 age group, there was 83-year-old Edward Rousseau, a veteran who ran his first extremely in 1990 and who has competed in additional than 100 ultras over his profession.

Eighty-one-year-old Todd Leigh was returning to the Jackpot Ultras. Leigh, who ran his first extremely on the 1986 Angeles Crest 100 Mile, additionally completed the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in 1992.

Ian Maddieson, 80 years outdated, was the true veteran of the group, having accomplished his first extremely again on the 1980 American River 50 Mile and has, amongst many different issues, 14 Western States 100 finishes.

Denis Trafecanty, additionally 80 years outdated, ran the Spunky Canyon 40 Mile as his first extremely in 1991 and has a number of finishes at Western States 100, Angeles Crest 100 Mile, and Vermont 100 Mile.

Lastly, there was 80-year-old David Blaylock, who ran his first extremely on the Wasatch Entrance 100 Mile in 1991 and went on to finish the race 12 extra occasions over his illustrious profession, which in recent times has included six journeys to the Jackpot Ultras.

Ian Maddieson - 2023 Jackpot Ultras

Ian Maddieson racing the 100-mile distance on the 2023 Jackpot Ultras. All pictures: Kevin Youngblood

There was a contact of electrical energy within the air as these 5 elder statesmen of the game started their journeys to 100 miles. The course, a 1.17-mile loop round Cornerstone Park in Henderson, Nevada, gave spectators ample alternatives to see the runners. It was fascinating to notice the variations in pacing and fueling methods of the 5 octogenarians. Rousseau began out comparatively laborious, working the flats and downhills and strolling the uphills. Blaylock was locked into a robust powerhike for many of the first day and started to run extra during the last six hours. Maddieson blended in strolling and working whereas Leigh, the tallest and lankiest of the 5, used his lengthy stride to eat up the miles. Trafecanty, lastly, who ran more often than not in lengthy pants and a puffy jacket, appeared to take what the course gave him, mixing in working and strolling and spending minimal time on the support stations.

Ultimately, Blaylock handed Rousseau, who had been within the lead for almost 29 hours, with about 5 miles to go and ended up being topped the USATF Nationwide Champion with a powerful 29 hours and 47 minutes end. Rousseau held on for second place in 30:09 whereas Maddieson and Trafecanty completed third and fourth in 37:15 and 37:59. Leigh, who had run steadily all day, was pressured to withdraw a mere seven miles from the end.

David Blaylock - 2023 Jackpot Ultras

David Blaylock on his approach to profitable the lads’s 80-to-84 age group on the 2023 USATF 100 Mile Street Nationwide Championships.

2023 USATF 100 Mile Street Nationwide Championships Ladies’s Age-Group Races

Whereas the ladies’s race didn’t have any 80-plus runners, the older of us have been, nonetheless, effectively represented on the USATF 100 Mile Nationwide Championships.

Seventy-year-old Equipment Brazier has been working ultras since not less than 1994 and has been at 9 prior editions of the Jackpot Ultras earlier than this 12 months. She ran robust and laborious by the midway level earlier than finally calling it a day at mile 57.

On the finish of the day, Yolanda Holder, age 64 and from California, gained the ladies’s 60-to-64 age group nationwide championships in a time of 28:21. Holder got here to ultrarunning considerably later in life, finishing the JFK 50 Mile in 2008 at aged 50 as her first extremely. Nevertheless, at the moment, she’d been a runner for many years and had accomplished a whole bunch of marathons — actually. In her 50s and 60s, she has been a prolific extremely racer, shortly shifting as much as very lengthy distances. She’s finest identified for her race strolling model of motion.

Yolanda Holder - 2023 Jackpot Ultras

Yolanda Holder was the highest girl over 60 years of age on the 2023 USATF 100 Mile Street Nationwide Championships.

Louise Mason, age 69, and Yen Nguyen, age 60, completed just some minutes other than one another in 34:11 and 34:17, respectively. In doing so, Mason captured the ladies’s 65-to-69 age group and Nguyen second place within the girls’s 60-to-64 age group.

Mason is a prolific ultrarunner whose UltraSignup profile comprises 140 race finishes from 1991 to the current, and he or she most actually has extra extremely finishes than the web site has captured. If we thought Mason was prolific, we’ll should suppose once more with Nguyen, who has 223 extremely finishes in UltraSignup, together with 9 complete finishes within the Jackpot Ultras.

Lastly, 67-year-old Pamela Chapman-Markle gave the space a shot and tapped out after 8.5 hours and 40 miles of working. Chapman-Markle was the “beginner” of the bunch, although something that, with an extremely profession beginning in 2011 at age 55.

I believe we’ll be seeing all of those proficient senior athletes at future editions of the Jackpot Ultras. It was an unbelievable and galvanizing day for me to see these ageless wonders do their factor. Not solely did it give me hope for my future as a runner, however certainly, it gave me hope for all of us that perhaps age actually is only a quantity.

Bottoms up!

Yen Nguyen - 2023 Jackpot Ultras

Yen Nguyen on the 2023 USATF 100 Mile Street Nationwide Championships.

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Edward Rousseau at the 2023 Jackpot Ultras

Edward Rousseau on his approach to second place within the males’s 80-to-84 age group on the 2023 USATF 100 Mile Street Nationwide Championships.

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