In an incredible, true iron-woman ultra “double,” Adelaide, Australia’s 34 year young SARAH BARNETT won the Athens International Ultrafestival (Greece) 1,000Km (621+ mi) women’s race (5th overall) in 9 Days+ 12:24:32. Sarah finished at aproximately 1:24 a.m. Greece time (7:24 New York time) on Wednesday April 13. Martina Hausmann, well-known in US multiday races, was 2nd woman and 7th overall in 9 Days+ 18:39:34.
The historic Athens race was won by Norway’s Sjavic Trond in 7 Days+ 6:28:24, with the greatest multiday runner in the world of the past 5 years, Germany’s Wolfgang Madhupran Schwerk, 2nd in 7 Days +15:48:58 (Schwerk set a 55+ age group record at 48 hours with 367 Km/ 228 mi enroute).
LESS THAN FIVE (5) full days after her Athens finish, Sarah toed the line at high noon on April 18th for the 16th annual New York Self-Transcendence 10 Day Race. When I went to meet her the evening before the 10 day race start, she excused herself to go on a training run around Meadow Lake (a scenic, part paved and part cross country 2.5 mile loop) to stretch her legs after her flight from Europe.
After finishing the 10 day as 3rd woman with 670 miles, she again surprised me and other runners by going out for a training run the day after the 10 day finish. Running laps of Louis Armstrong Elementary School and Playground/ Park in Corona, Queens (this is literally across the street from Citi Field where the Mets play baseball– and a block from the museum-home of the great musician Louis Armstrong), Sarah quickly had an entourage of 4th and 5th grade kids (including my daughter Amalia) pacing her. The local school kids meticulously wrote down a list of all the countries Sarah had raced in (one of the more impressive lists of any ultrarunner as she has run in Sweden, Denmark, South Africa, Greece, Australia, Turkey, etc.. … and most of these in multiday races) to show their teachers the next day.
It must be mentioned here that the overall winner of the 2011 Self-Transcendence 10 Day, Slovakian-American KANEENIKA TEREZIA JANAKOVA, ran what I easily consider one of the very TOP PERFRORMANCES by any man or woman in North America so far in 2011. Kaneenika’s 724 miles beat world class Ukrainian runner (and former event winner) Yuri Trostenyuk by over 30 miles. She ran 164 miles in the first 48 hours, 234 miles by 72 hours, a PR 437 mile 6 day split, and kicked it in with the race’s best mileage on days 9 and 10 with 73 and 77 mile splits.
Her effort was even more impressive given that until a few days before the race start she had her arm in a sling, and also ran most of the 10 days in light 6 ounce Saucony Kinivara racing flats (to be fair, she seemed to wear out several pairs). Two pairs of similar shoes (Mirage, Fastwich) . which were brand new when I put them on and great while they lasted , started unravelling on me after about 60-65 miles each (no financial interest in Saucony, though they did give me a free pair of shoes a few years ago).
Both Sarah and Kaneenika have other US/ Canadian ultras planned in the next 10 months– remember the names of these two truly INCREDIBLE women!
Best wishes to all ultrarunners around the world,
Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms (including those who are Moms to doggies and cats) and Grandmas.
–Mark George Dorion (next races: 30 minute fixed-time Runathon at Polk Elementary School this Wednesday, 10Km road Braden Aboud Memorial– El Paso’s biggest and most fun race– next Sunday, 15Km trail race in two weeks– and NOTHING over 12 miles until the very end of August and the highly-recommended, scenic Self-Trans. Rockland Lake (upstate NY) Marathon!)