Written by USATF Championship Liaison Meghan Canfield. Photos by KEVLV Photography.
Camille Herron and Arlen Glick win 2022 USATF 100 Mile Road National Championships. Herron Sets 100 Mile Worlds Best*.
A star-studded lineup toed the line at Jackpot Ultra Running Festival’s 100-mile USATF National Championship, which was held Friday February 18th, at Cornerstone Park, Henderson, Nevada. Notables included Patrick Reagan, Camille Herron, Kallin Khan, Alex Nichols, Arlen Glick, Nicole Monette, and the 2021 female defending champion and course record holder for women, Stefani Flippin. Early temperatures were runner friendly in the 50s, under a cloudless sky.
From the gun, Paul Young, in his first 100 miler took a commanding lead, followed closely by Khan. More experienced at the 100 mile distance, Reagan, Nichols, and Glick kept to their own paces and strategies.
In the women’s race, Camille Herron, who recently turned 40, led from the wire. Already an IAU world record holder for 12 hours (92.66 miles), World Athletics world’s best for 24 hours (162.92 miles), and world’s best for 100 miles (12:42:40), it was not outside of her wheelhouse to take command of the race from the start. She had her sights on several records and times for the day – a 50 mile age group (40-44) record, a 100k qualifying time for the National Team to compete at the IAU 100k World Championship in Germany this summer, and a new 12 hour world record.
As the minutes, hours, and laps (each lap was 1.17 miles) went by, the mental and physical ravages took their tolls on runner’s bodies and minds. Khan was the first male runner to throw in the towel, succumbing to the relative heat of Nevada, having trained in the brutally cold mid-Western winter. Young had been reeled back in, and took occasional breaks to regroup, losing his lead and getting lapped by the other runners multiple times. Reagan’s knee became unbearably painful, so rather than put 40 some more miles on it, he pulled the plug. Glick and Nichols ran smoothly and focused, Glick taking the lead. Mark Hammond, a past champion here, had to ease up his pace due to a sore glute and hamstring, but continued to move forward.
Herron however did not seem to be phased by the weather or the effort, and continued to click off the laps, rarely stopping as her husband Conor Holt efficiently crewed her. By mile 37 she was 2nd only to the lead male, Glick. Flippin and Monette had been running very close to each other for several miles before Flippin slowed due to GI distress, nearly to the point of quitting. However, she gave herself time and worked through the issue.
Race director Ken Rubeli had pre-marked the critical points on the loop to get Herron’s times for the 50 mile and the 100k, and she successfully broke the 50-mile age group record of 6:09:05, in a time of 6:08:24. At the 100k mark she clocked a 7:41:59, well below qualifying mark of 8:40:00 for the National 100k Team. Now she had to hang on for another mere 26 (30 miles) laps for a 12-hour record.
Glick was holding his lead, but showing signs of struggle as the miles ticked off. By lap 74 (86 miles) his lead over Camille Herron was 2 minutes, and by the end of lap 76, Camille had taken the lead. Later, he would recall trying to hold her off, but then when she passed him, he hoped that it was inspiring and motivating for her to keep after her goals. He also said she sounded like she was running a mile! He still had a several lap leads over now second male Alex Nichols, 3rd place Jonah Backstrom, and 4th place Mark Hammond.
At the end of Camille Herron’s 80th lap, Rubeli went out on the course to mark the ground where she was exactly at the 12 hour mark, which was 94.5 miles – a new World Record! Now with just 5.5 miles to go, could she break 12:42:40? The atmosphere was electric over the next 4 laps. Holt was keeping track of each lap, calculating what she needed to do. With 3 laps to, she needed to run 9:30 per lap – which she did for lap 83. The look on her face was of calm determination as she pushed the pedal down for a 9:10 lap. Now she had over 10 minutes to do the last lap. In the dark we could see the light of the media bike behind her, as she rounded the last corner, lifted her arms, and crossed the line in 12:41:11.
In her candid way, her first remarks were “I had to work for that one!” She really dug deep and never faltered.
Glick had slowed considerably but maintained his lead for the win – in 13:10:26. He has finished and won several 100 milers, but this one on the pavement was a different beast. In second place for the men, Alex Nichols who ran smoothly and quietly all day, was greeted with a surprise in his final laps with the appearance of the cross-country team from Colorado College where he coaches. Their cheers and high-fives brought him great joy at the finish line.
The 4th finisher of the day was Nicole Monette, in a PR of 14:01:56. Like Camille, she ran steady all day, never seemed to falter, and now has the 4th fastest 100 mile time for American women.
Meanwhile, Mark Hammond was hunting down Jonah Backstrom, 48, for the final podium spot, and succeeded in the last lap, out running Backstrom by 1 minute and 10 seconds. While Mark didn’t have the day he wanted, he was pleased with finishing and being able to hunt down Backstrom. And Backstrom was equally pleased with his day, as he ran every step of the way – a big improvement over last year when he walked a fair bit of the course.
Filling out the podium on the women’s side was Flippin. She had rallied from her stomach issues, and motored on for miles, finishing in 14:34:51, bettering her winning time from last year. All 3 women broke last year’s course record.
Some notable age group finishes – 69 year old June Gessner set a new American age group record of 23:26:27. There were three 79 year old male finishers – David Blaylock is the National Champion in a time of 31:56:29, while Todd Leigh and Denis Trafecanty finished together in 35:01:48.
Complete results for the 2022 USATF 100 Mile Road Championships can be found on Google Sheets.
Race photos by Meghan Canfield can be found on Google Drive.
Even more race photos can be found on SmugMug.
Pre-race athlete interviews can be found here.
* Pending verification.