IAU World 100K

Winschoten, The Netherlands

Saturday, September 9, 2000

USA Ultra Teams Earn Silver, Bronze Medals at World 100K

Daniele Cherniak earns Bronze Medal

Following days of confusion on the heels of the IAU World 100K, held Saturday, September 9 in Winschoten, The Netherlands, the official results of the World Title national team competition have been released.

In the final tally, the U.S. men have moved up a notch in the standings, and have been awarded silver medals, behind France and ahead of South Africa.

And, for the second time in 6 years, the American women have joined their male teammates on the flag stand, nabbing the bronze behind Germany and France.

1) France (Fetizon, Diehl, Guichard: 6:23:15, 6:41:35, 6:41:35 = 19:46:25)
2) USA (Held, Nippert, Garcia: 6:33:12, 7:04:08, 7:08:22 = 20:45:42)
3) RSA (Wright, Kelehe, Mteto: 6:46:10, 7:09:42, 7:09:42 = 21:01:32)

1) Germany (Wagner, Hiebl, Botzon: 7:39:35, 7:54:32, 8:05:21 =23:39:28)
2) France (Maggiolini, Beaulieu, Brionne: 7:46:05, 7:52:50, 8:27:36 = 24:06:31)
3) USA (Bollig, Park, Cherniak: 8:08:03, 8:24:59, 8:29:59 = 25:03:01)

USA national ultra teams have now amassed one of the most impressive World competition records in American history:

1993: Women, Bronze (Kris Clark-Setnes, Sue Ellen Trapp, Ellen McCurtin)
1994: Men, Bronze (Tom Johnson, Rich Hanna, Bryan Hacker)
1995: Women, Gold (Ann Trason*, Donna Perkins, Chrissy Duryea)
Men, Silver (Tom Johnson, Jim Garcia, Kevin Setnes)
1998: Women, Bronze (Daniele Cherniak, Chrissy Duryea-Ferguson, Susan Olsen)
2000: Men, Silver (Dan Held, Howard Nippert, Jim Garcia)
Women, Bronze (Deb Bollig, Luanne Park, Daniele Cherniak)

*World Champion (set world 100K record) 

Looking back at the World Challenge 100 Kilometers

by Jim Garcia

(Jim Garcia was a member of this year's men's team and finished 29th, as third American.)

The World Challenge 100-kilometer race took place in Winschoten, Netherlands, last Saturday. Since 100 kilometers is not a recognized competitive distance by the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the "World Championships" name cannot be used. However, for all intents and purposes this is the World Championships, as it is the deepest 100-K race in the world, with typically 20-plus runners going under 7 hours. USATF selected a team of 6 men and 6 women to compete, and this was my sixth-straight year on the team. My best finish was in 1995, when I ran 6:57:21 on this same course; coincidentally, the last time the men's team medalled. The U.S. team has not done as well as hoped the last few years, but we expected a change. The men's team had two men with fast marathon credentials, or at least fast by ultrarunning standards. Dan Held (2:13:50 PR) was running his first 100-K and reigning U.S. Champion Howard Nippert (2:19:08 PR) his third. I felt that if they ran in the 6:30's to 6:40's, and one of us other, more experienced ("slower") guys could pull out a 7:00 time, we would medal. Historically, the Russians pack three finishers under 6:40. Their six runners had PR's of 6:20, 6:22, 6:23, 6:31, 6:32 and 6:46. The French team had a great showing last year and looked strong this time around. I figured that the U.S. would be fighting South Africa and Germany for third. The Ukrainian, Belorussian, German, and Belgian teams also had strong runners, so the actual team medals would come down to team depth.

In the women's race, the Russian and French teams were evenly matched, with both teams having four with PR's under 8 hours. As with the men's team, they would be fighting it out with South Africa and Germany on that front. The U.S. team had 4 new faces, plus two veterans, multiple national champion Daniele Cherniak and Chrissy Ferguson, with 10 World Championships races between them.

The race started off as expected with a couple of Mexicans, two South Africans, and a Brazilian taking the lead. Dan Held stayed close. The Russians and the French hung back the on first 10-K loop, then moved up. I was about 40 seconds back at 10-K in 38:20 with Nippert, American 24-hour record-holder Mark Godale, three Russians, and three Frenchmen. As all of the foreigners were bonafide sub-6:40 guys, I soon let them go, but told Nippert to stay with them. He did, as did Godale. Meanwhile, Held was steadily moving up, tenth at halfway in 3:11:37, eighth at 60-K, seventh at 70-K, sixth at 80-K and fourth at 90-K. Nippert and I were taking turns passing each other, but he left me for good at 75-K. By that time, the team showdown with South Africa for third was shaping up, and we were picking up the pieces of their aggressive start. Their number one man went from 3:05:24 and the lead at 50-K, to 6:46:10 and ninth at the finish. The French runners finished first, fifth, and sixth, and the Russians second, third, and seventh, with Held fourth. His 6:33:12 was only 3 minutes off of Tom Johnson's American record set here in 1995. Russia's first finisher was an alternate and the other 4 team members dropped out, which moved the U.S. men into second place. Our cumulative time of 20:45:32 was 15 minutes ahead of South Africa, but still almost an hour behind France.

In the women's side, the race played out similarly. The U.S. team was lead by newcomers Deb Bollig (tenth overall in 8:07) and Luanne Park (third master in 8:24). Cherniak, a prior top-10 finisher and the backbone of our team for years, did not have a good day, but still held on for an 8:30. The French, German, and Russian totals were well ahead of the U.S. women's team. Again, the Russian team did not finish the required number of runners. While individual performance matters in a race like this, final team results depend on the collective efforts of all the runners. Even though we did not have the credentials of the other teams, we finished all 12 runners. Newcomers Dan, Howard, Deb, and Luanne delivered excellent performances, with Daniele and myself providing solid third place finishes.

                                   US Finishers
                Place   Name                 State      Time
                4       Dan Held                WI      6:33:12
                24      Howard Nippert          WV      7:04:08
                29      Jim Garcia              MA      7:08:22
                40      Kevin Setnes            WI      7:22:12
                43      Bob Sweeney             NJ      7:23:12
                53      Mike Carlson            ID      7:39:47
                77      Deb Bollig              CO      8:08:03
                82      Mark Godale             OH      8:12:53
                89      Luanne Park             CA      8:22:37
                94      Daniele Chernaik        NY      8:29:59
                102     Christy Cosgrove        MA      8:43:24
                106     Nancy Drach             NC      8:52:09
                141     Tracy Rose              GA      9:44:55
                142     Chrissy Ferguson        AR      9:44:55