Well, it’s finally here. The Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k is this Saturday, and that means it’s time to start sizing up your competition and making wild predictions about who might take home the trophy. This is great fun, of course, but the best part of an event like this is that you just never know what’s going to happen.
Remember when we tried to make predictions last year? The men’s winner and runner-up, David Riddle and Andy Anderson, came from our very broad pool of “favorites,” as did the women’s second place finisher …and we completely whiffed on everyone else. To make it even harder on ourselves, we’re only naming a handful of names this year.
Without further ado, here’s our list of runners to watch. See the full 2012 StumpJump 50k Entrants list here.
- Max King (Montrail) – To many observers, the question isn’t whether or not Max will win; it’s whether or not he will break David Riddle’s record of 3:49:52 from 2011. Where do we begin? 1st at UROC 100k, 1st at Flagline 50k, 3rd at Speedgoat 50k, 1st at Siskyou 50k… and that’s just the trail ultras, and that’s just since July. Will fatigue be a factor?
- Duncan Callahan (Vasque) – Duncan is a long-distance hero, two-time (!) winner of the Leadville 100 and winner of more 50-milers than we are willing to spend time adding up. This is maybe a shorter race than he’s used to, and a faster pace, and a whole lot more oxygen in the air than they have in Colorado; all we know for sure is that Duncan is really, really fast.
- Johnny Clemons (Rock/Creek) – Last year, we’d never heard of him. This year he’s wearing our colors, and we’re in awe of the string of recent victories: UpChuck 50k, Lookout Mountain 50-miler, Mt Cheaha 50k, a near-CR at our Scenic City Trail Marathon, Iron Mountain 30-miler. It’ll take a sub-4:00 time to have a shot; can Johnny pull off the upset here?
Other runners to watch: Matt Pruitt, Jonathan Allen, Olaf Wasternack
- Kerrie Bruxvoort (Salomon) – With three 50k wins already in 2012, plus 2nd place finishes at the super-competitive Run Rabbit Run 50-miler and Speedgoat 50k, Kerrie has to be the women’s favorite when they toe the line. This will be her first race outside the West; will the heat and humidity make a difference?
- Meghan Lederer – Megs caught our attention for real this year, winning our Scenic City Trail Marathon and taking 2nd at our Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race. She knows the SJ50k course, having run in 2009, and she’s at the top of her game right now. Kerrie may be the odds-on favorite, but we like Meghan’s chances!
- Nancyanne Hickmann – Since we last saw Nancyanne (on the podium at our Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race), she’s won a 50k in Washington state, and is just getting faster and faster. You’ll recognize her when you see her; she’ll probably be running with Meghan, and you’ll wonder how on earth they’re both smiling so much at mile 20 of a 50k!
Other runners to watch: Meghan Shaffer, Robin Campbell
This year’s StumpJump 50k features runners from 31 states and as far away as Juneau, AK. With nearly 600 runners taking part in the 50k — up from 400 last year! — there are sure to be some surprises. Who’s your vote to win? Post a comment and let us know.