Kami Semick wins IAU 100K World Cup in Belgium
The North Face athlete Kami Semick took first place, women, in the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) 100K World Cup, in Torhout, Belgium, leading team USA to a first place overall gold medal.
She won with a time of 7:37:23. More than 20 countries competed in the IAU World Cup 100k, the “Olympics” of ultrarunning. This was Semick’s fourth time competing in the race.
The 2009 IAU World Cup 100k took place during the annual festival of “Night of Flanders”, with an 8:00 PM start. The course consisted of roughly five laps that looped through two towns separated by long
stretches in the country.
“We had to stay on our toes, so to speak, running through the towns,” said Semick. “There were many sharp turns, old cobblestone sections, curbs and changing surfaces to navigate as well as some very happy festival goers who slipped through the barricades and onto the course. ”
10k into the race, Semick pulled off to the side of the course at an aid station to check her irritated right Achilles. Near 15k, stomach problems rolled in, forcing several stops.
“All I could think was how I was going to run the rest of the race,” said Semick. “I knew if I could keep a cool head and not get rattled, I had a shot at finishing.”
By 40k, Semick took the lead from an Italian competitor. As night fell, the racers spread out. Semick continued to build her lead and ended up running the last 70k solo.
“It was a battle of the mind, on the dark, longer stretches my pace would slow down,” said Semick. “It was difficult to push myself knowing I was in front and unchallenged. I was comfortable knowing that if a challenger did come along, I had another gear that I could go to in order to fend anyone off.”
Semick’s last surprise in the grueling race came about 10 meters before the finish. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone throwing what appeared to be an inner tube that a child would take to a swimming pool, aiming to wring it around her neck. She put up her arms to catch it, and ran through the finish line.
“There was a big fuss with the officials trying to get this inner tube around my neck,” said Semick. “Then I really looked at it. It was a golden wreath, a European tradition for the winner.”
For more information on the IAU World Cup 100k, check out www.iau.org.tw
For additional information on Kami Semick and The North Face, head to www.thenorthface.com