Sausalito, California, December 1. Miguel Herás of Spain and Emelie Forsberg of Sweden were winners at the rain-drenched The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship.
The race was re-routed the day before when California State Parks withdrew their permit, citing erosion concerns. Organizers instead presented a two-loop course that was shortened to 46.8 miles entirely within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. There was significant confusion during the event as several runners missed turns; it was often difficult to tell who had run the proper route and was actually in the lead. Even as Herás finished there was some confusion until his GPS watch revealed the appropriate total distance. Herás, who also won here in 2010, was well clear of UTMB winner François d’Haene by mile 41.
In the women’s race, Emelie Forsberg, a Swedish native living in Norway and the 2012 World Skyrunning champ, held off a late charge by Stephanie Howe for the win. Early leader Maud Gobert was third.
The field braved an often muddy track as northern California has been pelted with several inches of rain during the preceding several days. There were numerous rainy stretches during the race as well, with mild temperatures in the upper 50s.
1. Miguel Herás, 37, Salamanca, Spain, 5:33:16
2. François d’Haene, 36, Florac, France, 5:46:42
3. Cameron Clayton, 24, Boulder, CO, 5:47:14
4. Adam Campbell, 33, Victoria, BC, 5:53:35
5. Alex Nichols, 27, Colorado Springs, CO, 5:55:20
1. Emelie Forsberg, 25, Tromsø, Norway, 6:39:18
2. Stephanie Howe, 28, Bend, OR, 6:41:36
3. Maud Gobert, 35, Valloire, France, 6:46:13
4. Caitlin Smith, 31, Oakland, CA, 7:05:00
5. Silvia Serafini, 41, Cerasolo, Italy, 7:12:02
Photo: Emelie Forsberg at the 2012 Skyrunning Championship in July (courtesy ultra168.com)
Thanks to Bryon Powell and Meghan Hicks of irunfar.com for contributing to this report.