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USA 100 Mile Run Championship on tap September 13


Ryan Lamppa
Media Correspondent
USA Track & Field
(805) 696-6232

On the Sept. 13-14 weekend, the American Ultrarunning Association (AUA) will join forces with the Toledo Road Runners to host the 2003 USA 100 Mile Road Championship at Olander Park in Sylvania, Ohio.

The pancake-flat, traffic-free, shaded 1.09-mile loop in Olander Park has been the venue for the last 10 consecutive USA 24-Hour Run Championships. It is now offering a change of pace at the 100 mile championship distance, as an opportunity for American ultrarunners to resurrect a great, but almost forgotten, chapter of national championship history.

It will be the first USA 100 Mile Championship designated by USA Track & Field in 14 years.


By Dan Brannen, Executive Director, American Ultrarunning Association

The first USA Championship longer than 50 miles was the 1983 100 Mile Championship. The event was hosted by the New York Road Runners Club and was conducted on a 1-mile loop in and around Shea Stadium in Queens, New York. The inaugural USA 100 Mile Champion was Ray Scannell, with a winning time of 13:16:02. The USA 100 Mile Championship continued to be held annually at the same venue through 1987. The subsequent USA champions were:

1984 - Lion Caldwell, 13:56:26
1985 - Don Jewell, 14:39:46
1986 - Lion Caldwell, 13:53:16
1987 - Roy Pirrung, 15:00:08

During this era USA Track & Field made no provisions for USA Women's Championships beyond 50 Miles. In 1987 the rulebook was rewritten to provide for equal USA championship opportunities for men and women at all ultradistances.

The years 1987 and 1988 were transition years for the USA Ultramarathon Championship program. In 1987 the USA 100K (62.127 miles) Championship was instituted, and in 1988 the inaugural USA 24-Hour Run Championship was held. In 1988 there was no USA 100 Mile Championship.

In 1989 the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team hosted the USA 100 Mile nChampionship on a 1-mile road loop in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, New York. The inaugural (and so far only) USA Women's Champion was Christine Gibbons, who ran the distance in 16:41:26. Ahead of Gibbons, 1988 USA 100K Champion Rae Clark extended his talents and won the Men's 100 Mile national title with one of the landmark performances in U.S. ultra history, a sterling American and World Road Record 12:12:19, averaging under 7:20 per mile and beating runner-up Roy Pirrung by over an hour.

Following that race, the national championship emphasis turned away from the 100 mile distance and focused on the emerging international standard events of 100K and 24 Hours.

During these transition years in the late 80s the 100 mile trail run (conducted in exotic, mountainous locations, often at extreme altitudes) grew dramatically in popularity and quickly became the non-championship signature event of American ultrarunning. In the early 80s there were only four such events. By turn of the century the count was up to two dozen and still growing. Ironically, the 100 mile road venue fell out of favor and became an orphan child of American ultrarunning.

Rae Clark's 12:12:19 remains the American 100 Mile Road Record (the American Track mark is 12:27:01, held by Bernd Heinrich). Ann Trason holds both the Road (13:47:42) and Track (14:29:44) U.S. Records. Trason's Road 100 mile mark is also the World Record. The Men's World 100 Mile Road Record is now held by Canadian Andy Jones (12:05:43, which he ran a few years ago at Olander Park during the 24-hour race).

For more information on the 2003 USA 100 Mile Run Championship, check the website of the American Ultrarunning Association:

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