Steenbergen, Netherlands, May 12. Both the US men’s and women’s teams won gold medals at the World 24-Hour Championships. Jon Olsen was the individual champion, with teammate John Dennis finishing second. Sabrina Little set an American Record while placing second to Japan’s Mami Kudo in the women’s race. US runners Suzanna Bon and Traci Falbo took third and fourth, respectively.
Olsen, from Modesto, California, took the lead about halfway through the race and gradually pulled away to win by more than four miles. Dennis surged in the last three hours to take second. Joe Fejes finished tenth, and the US team easily bested Japan for the gold medal. Olsen’s total moved him to second place on the all-time US list, behind only Mike Morton’s 172.457 set last year. Olsen’s total works out to an average of 8:35 a mile for an entire day.
In the women’s race, world record holder Mami Kudo proved her mettle and led from start to finish, with a total just two miles shy of her record. Sabrina (Moran) Little regained the US women’s record, while placing second. Little set the record a year ago, only to have it broken by Connie Gardner in last fall’s championship. Suzanna Bon moved into third place on the all-time list, running perhaps the steadiest race of any competitor in the field. Bon was in 108th place overall at the 8-hour mark, and moved all the way up to 22nd at the finish. Traci Falbo also ran a strong second half for fourth.
The race was held in unsettled weather conditions on a 2.3-km loop. Temperatures hovered in the upper 50s with rain showers, strong afternoon breezes, and a brief evening hailstorm.
1. Jon Olsen, 38, Modesto, CA, 167.568 miles
2. John Dennis, 32, Takoma Park, MD, 163.255
3. Florian Reus, 29, DEU, 161.518
4. Anatoly Kruglicov, 55, RUS, 159.717
5. Timur Ponomarev, 24, RUS, 159.484
1. Mami Kudo, 49, JPN, 156.712 miles
2. Sabrina Little, 26, Waco, TX, 152.030 (American Record, old record 149.368 miles by Connie Gardner, 2012)
3. Suzanna Bon, 48, Sonoma, CA, 146.785
4. Traci Falbo, 40, Charlestown, IN, 142.730
5. Anne-Marie Vernet, 45, FRA, 142.538
Teams – Men
1. USA (Olsen, Dennis, Fejes), 485.012 miles
2. Japan, 467.623
3. Germany, 467.275
Teams – Women
1. USA (Little, Bon, Falbo), 441.545 miles
2. Japan, 438.428
3. France, 416.752
Photo, above: Jon Olsen on the last lap of his victorious day. (courtesy USA Ultrarunning)
Below: Sabrina Moran Little (photo courtesy Lauren Shannon Photography)