Wolfe, Skaden share men's title, Kimball takes women's crown at USA 100 Mile Trail Championships


Howard Nippert
Special to USATF
USA Track & Field

INDIANAPOLIS - Mike Wolfe (Missoula, Mont.) and Eric Skaden (Folsom, Calif.) combined efforts through the last 25 miles for a "shared" victory in 18:59:10, while Nikki Kimball (Bozeman, Mont.) won the women's title in 20:18:12, Saturday at the USA 100 Mile Trail Championships. This year's event was hosted by the 2008 Tahoe Rim Trail 50K/50M/100M Endurance Runs.

The course included two loops, both beginning at Spooner Lake (7000ft. elevation), crossing over the high point of the course at Snow Valley Peak (9214ft.) and into the low point of the course in the Red House Loop (6800ft.) and turning at the aid station at Mt. Rose (approximately 8700ft.). The course sees a cumulative elevation change of 22,000 feet over the 100 mile distance.

Early men's leader John Olsen (Modesto, Calif.) opened a gap on the field and at the 26.8 mile turnaround of the first lap and looked strong and comfortable with a lead of just over two minutes. He continued to set a blistering pace back to the start-finish aid station at 50 miles, where he built to a 13-minute lead. But at the Mt. Rose turnaround aid station, word spread that Olsen was sick at an aid station, and didn't appear that he would be able to continue.

Wolfe and Skaden had, to that point, jockeyed for second, but Skaden broke away, making a move to catch Olsen. Skaden went by Olsen in the Red House loop, taking over the lead. When Wolfe went in and out of the Red House aid station, Olsen remained–his day was done. Wolfe caught Skaden just before the 75 mile turnaround point and suddenly Wolfe and Skaden came into view as they exited the woods and ran across the meadow, now working together in the lead.

Wolf and Skaden continued their combined effort through the return trip to the finish line for the tie and title of co-national 100 mile champions and shared the $1000.00 top prize. Ian Torrence (Ashland, Ore.) finished third in the men's division in 21:53:40.

The women's race developed into a duel between Kimball and Beverly Anderson-Abbs (Red Bluff, Calif.). At the 26.8 mile turnaround, Kimball led into the aid station, trailed closely by Anderson-Abbs. As they crossed paths at the aid station, Kimball headed out with the slight advantage with Anderson-Abbs in tow. The two remained in a close battle through the end of the first lap with just under 5 minutes between them.

For the next portion of the course, the two shifted leads and pressed the pace, each trying to break the other. Finally Kimball pulled away headed back out to the half-way mark of the slightly shorter second lap. At the turnaround, Kimball had gapped Anderson-Abbs by approximately 4 miles, as the searing daytime temperatures, terrain, and aggressive early pace battling with Kimball took its toll.

Kimball opened up through the final miles which were mostly downhill, to finish in 20:18:12 for the win over Anderson-Abbs, who held on for 2nd place in 23:28:10. Third place went to Jenny Capel (Reno, Nevada) in 24:53:38.

In addition to open male and female National Champions being crowned, age group national championships were awarded to the top finisher in age groups in five year intervals beginning with 40-44 through 70+ in men's and women's divisions.

Charles Hofacker (Carmichael, Calif.) and Anderson-Abbs were named men's and women's master's national champions, respectively.

For more information on the 2008 Mountain/Ultra/Trail circuit visit www.usatf.org.