Scott Jansky, winner of the 2010 Lakefront Marathon, will step up in distance Saturday and run for a USATF national championship in the 5th annual Mad City 100K.
Jansky, a teacher from Two Rivers, is exactly the type of runner that race director Tim Yanacheck has in mind as he works to build the talent pool of U.S. ultra runners. He has the speed to run a 2:30 marathon, and hopefully the endurance to hold his pace under seven minutes per mile over the 62-mile distance.
The top male and female winner in the 10-lap race around Lake Wingra will qualify for the US National Team to compete in the 100K World Championships in the Netherlands in September.
Scott Jansky breaks the tape in the 2010 Lakefront Marathon.
According to Yanacheck, the men’s race will feature veterans going head to head against some up-and-coming “young guns.”
Chad Ricklefs, 43, of Colorado, was the national champion at this distance in 2002 when he was also named the nation’s male ultra marathoner of the Year.
“Chad can still really pick ‘em up and put ‘em down,” said Tim Yanacheck, who watched Ricklefs take third place in the 2010 national championships and then go on to finish 14th in the world championship in Gibraltar.
Todd Braje, 34, of California, is expected to be one of the younger runners challenging Ricklefs. He won the prestigious Ice Age Trail 50-mile run in May 2010, and ran the third-fastest 50-mile race in the nation. Braje also covered 100 miles in less than 15 ½ hours.
A fresh new crop of ultra marathoners will test their mettle in Madison, led by Zach Gingerich, 31, of Aurora, Ill.
Gingerich has won nearly every race he has entered, including the legendary Badwater Ultramarathon, a monumental test of endurance - 135 miles across Death Valley. Gingerich also ran the fastest 50-mile race in the nation last year in just 5-1/2 hours.
At last word, he was nursing an injury but planned to give it a go on Saturday.
Hometown runner David Krall, 30, will step up to the 100-kilometers distance this year after finishing second in the Mad City 50K last year. Another Madison runner, Ryan Dexter, 34, won the 200-mile McNaughton trail race in Vermont and also completed more than 125 miles in a 24-hour run in 2010.
Although the men’s field is very deep, the women competing in the Mad City 100K national championship are expected to put on a good show, too.
“The headliner should be Devon Crosby-Helms,” predicted Yanacheck.
Crosby-Helms, 28, of San Francisco, finished second in the 2008 national championship and earned a spot on USA national team. She also holds the course record for women at the JFK 50-mile race.
Sonya Decker, 44, of Minneapolis, ran one of the fastest 50-mile times among US women in 2010. And Angie Radosevich, 36, of Wisconsin, returns after her fifth-place finish in last year’s national championship race.
In addition to the championship 100-kilometer run, Mad City hosts a competitive, non-championship 50-kilometer run at the same time. The most popular event of all, though, may be the five-runner, 50-kilometer relay race. The relay, dubbed “The Race for the Ages”, puts teams into categories according to the total age of their runners.
As the Wednesday registration deadline approached, Yanacheck counted 30 competitors in the 100K, 24 in the 50K and 41 teams in the relay.
Weather could be a factor. The forecast puts the high temperature at 70 in Madison on Saturday, with a threat of a thunderstorm.