Self-Transcendence 6 & 10 Day Races 2012 – Mark Dorion’s Trackside Report

sarah barnett and jesper olsen
Sarah Barnett & Jesper Olsen: Photo by Prabhakar

Posted on the Ultralist:

Sprint Finish Decides NY S.T. 10 Day/ Trackside Report

I came back on duty at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, trying to stay warm and work the giant scoreboard. Record high winds on Friday played havoc with the large scoreboard numbers, some of which got blown 20 yards away into the bike path on which the runners passed. On several nights, both at the computer and the scoreboard, it seemed as if the numbers were “coming to life” and moving around of their own avail, sometimes spinning around in circles in front of my eyes. Having now run in many multiday races and worked this one, I can say the sleep deprivation of working and running were about the same for me. Obviously my body is not so sore and beaten up as it would have been had I been racing, though I AM sore, especially in my back.

At 6 a.m., women’s 10 day leader Sarah Barnett was less than one mile ahead of course record-holder Kaneenika Janakova. Try to imagine a race in which you have been on the move for most of 234 HOURS, and then having to summon a “sprint.” I have great admiration for both women; they are truly world-class ultrarunners and both had endured their share of challenges during this year’s event. Sarah threw in several 10:00 miles on the final morning to win with a PR 697 miles to Kaneenika’s 692. This means that in the past year Sarah has won multiday races in such disparate and exotic locales as Athens, Greece, Monaco, and now New York City. Their historic see-saw battle, spread out over 10 days, saw neither of them ever run together. Kaneenika tends to sleep much less but keep moving steadily, whereas Sarah sometimes needed 4 alarms/ wake-up calls before she could wake, whereupon she would jump right into much faster-paced miles.

The men’s 10 day was won by “Smilin’ Yuri T” (Yuri Trostenyuk) with a PR 731 miles. One interesting aspect of this year’s races was that many runners PRed or achieved very good distances despite some days of hurricane-like weather. I attribute this to the competitve fields and fast running loop.

In the men’s 6 day, Vladimir Galya Balatskyy won with a PR 481 miles over fast-finishing Finn (no pun intended) Asprihanal Pekka Aalto (470), who was timed in some 9:00 miles (how many runners can finish a 50 or 100 mile race with 9 minute miles, let alone do this after 450 miles?) Dipali Cunningham won the women’s race with 438 miles over up-and-coming Jayaslini Olga¬†Abramovskikh (408). I have seen Dipali in many races over the years, and was struck by her effort in this race more than in most others. She seemed to have her share of physical problems from early on (like me, she does not like racing in arctic conditions), but somehow kept moving at a steady pace. Race officials could see her coming from quite a ways out as she was generally heavily-bundled up with only her eyes visible in her face.

Two senior US runners, Pete Stringer and Luis Rios, deserve mention. At age 70 and five days after running the Boston Marathon, Pete tied his PR of 332 miles set many years ago in much milder weather. He looked strong till the end. I did daily errands around town for the runners; Pete’s daily request was for the sports section of USA TODAY or the TIMES. Luis is one of the USA’s all-time most prolific ultra racers, with several 24 hours over 140 miles. Hampered by back problems in recent years, he got to celebrate his 64th birthday with his fellow competitors, multiple birthday cakes and rousing verses of “Happy Birthday”

I shall compose a longer article later, but right now my kids (who are here with me) are telling me we are off to the Queens Zoo and historic carousel (both of which are just across the Grand Central Parkway from the 6/10 day course).

Best wishes to all ultrarunners, and as race coordinator Sahishnu Szczesiul wished everyone at the close of the awards ceremony, “May the wind be always at your back.”

Mark D


Full results are available at the race website:

Utpal’s daily interviews: Perfection

William Sichel’s blog updates:

Prabhakars photo gallery:

Many thanks to Alan Young from Dion_Networks, The home of multiday running news and events.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.