Race bibs for The North Face Endurance Challenge Gore-Tex 50 Mile Championships this weeked north of San Francisco read like a veritable “Who’s Who?” of the endurance running world. In its fifth year, the race boasts a $10,000 prize purse for first place, magnificent views of the Bay Area and serious bragging rights, which attracts an elite field of ultrarunners from all over the world. Check out iRunFar's full coverage of the event for more behind-the-scenes details.
The North Face global endurance runner Mike Wolfe of Helena, MT battled it out for 50 miles to come in first place with a time 6:18:57, edging out his steepest competition and earning a course record by a full 15 minutes. Dakota Jones of Durango, CO, who trailed Wolfe by mere minutes through the last 20 miles, came in a close second with a time of 6:21:43 and was followed by Adam Campbell of Vancouver, British Columbia with a time of 6:34:28.
Mike Wolfe is all smiles after his first place finish
“It was really close the entire race,” an exhausted, but elated Wolfe said at the finish line. “We were really well-matched, [Jones] was killing me on the downhills, but I was just a stronger climber. It really came down to climbing that last hill, and I was able to pull away.”
New Zealand’s Anna Frost was the first female finisher with a time of 6:56:00, followed by Ellie Greenwood of Banff, British Columbia with a time of 7:07:16, and Mary Beth Cadwell of San Anselmo, CA with a time of 7:28:29.
Other top athletes who participated in The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships, included: 2011 San Francisco Marathon winner and USATF 100K Champion Michael Wardian, two-time Western States winner Hal Koerner, winner of the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France Lizzy Hawker, and Western States Champion Geoff Roes.
An additional three races were held Sunday, including a Half Marathon, 5K and 10K. The weekend’s events end The North Face Endurance Challenge Series, which held events in Bear Mountain, NY, Washington, DC, Kansas City, MO, Madison, WI and Atlanta, GA earlier this year. However, The North Face Endurance Challenge will return next year with at least one new race addition, beginning in May 2012. For information on The North Face Endurance Team and where they’ll be next, head to www.thenorthface.com or www2.thenorthface.com/endurance.