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2024 Race Results

There are two things in our lives that are guarantees; taxes and death. I would propose to add another

to that short list and that would be inconsistent spring weather in southern Wisconsin. Only one week

before the 2024 100K USATF Championship the temperatures soared to the low 70’s with brilliant blue

skies. Contrast with the weather that met those entrants in the championship race on Saturday, 20 April.

It was a very cold start (29F) at 6:30 AM, blue skies, slight breeze in the early morning hours morphing

into moderately strong and raw winds after a couple hours, skies completely clouded over hiding the

sun and temperatures dropping with the increasing wind chills. A bitter day in the making.

Twenty-one athletes toed the start line in Vilas Park, Madison, Wisconsin. This race would serve as an

auto select event for the winning man and woman assuming they met the qualifying standard, which for

men is under 7:15 and for women 8:25. At the end of the day, only 13 finished, but 10 did so in 2024

100K national team qualifying times. This proved to be one of the most competitive 100K national

championship races seen in the last 15 years with eight elite athletes who had been on national 50K and

100K teams entered. Most were running with the goal to represent the US at the world championships

on 8 December 2024 in India.

Strategies were all over the board as the race began its 10 loops around the scenic University of WI

arboretum. Pre-race prediction was that potentially the men’s team might be selected from this race.

Lots of conversing among the athletes as they settled into a rhythm. Chikara Omione, 41 Sacramento,

CA, took it out fast averaging 6:22 miles. Followed closely behind by a pack of men including Adam

Vadeboncoeur, 34, Longmont, CO, Mike Katsefaras, 34, Ypsilanti, MI, Ryan Miller, 32, San Antonio, TX,

and Phil Young, 37, Davenport, IA. On the next 10K loop (12.4 miles), the lead switched with Miller,

Katsefaras and Vadeboncoeur leading the group and Omine only a few seconds behind. Shuffling

positions among the top men continued into the 3 rd loop (18.6 miles) with Katsefaras, Omine, and

Vadeboncoeur leading with Miller only 20 seconds in back.

It is frequently stated that in a 100K race, the real race does not begin until after 50K. However, in this

event, the top men remained the top with positions 1-4 jostling at the end of each lap. At 50K, the order

was Omine coming through in 3:11:35, Vadeboncoeur, and a new kid on the block, John Judge, and

Katsefaras. Less than 50 seconds separated the top 4 men. Katsefaras dropped at lap 7 (around 44 miles)

pulling Miller into the 4 th position. Katsefaras, primarily a 50K runner declared this was the furthest he

had ever run. By the 9 th lap (55.8 miles), the top 4 continued to oscillate positions, but by now it was

Vadeboncoeur, Omine, Miller, and Kris Brown, 35, Missoula, MT, having moved up on Judge. The time

difference from 1 st to 4 th was just over 15 minutes with Vadeboncoeur extending his lead to 12 minutes

over the 2 nd place runner, Omine. The last lap proved to be a nightmare for Omine. He became quite

hypothermic losing several minutes to the foe he just could not control, the cold and wind, going from

2 nd place to 7 th place.

At the finish line, Vadeboncoeur crossed as the 2024 100K USATF Champion in 6:37:54, followed 10

minutes later by Miller (6:47:52), then Brown (6:49:31), Judge (6:52:21), Jeff Burns (6:59:09), Brandon

Talisesky (32, New York, NY in 7:01:09), and Omine (7:01:14). The time differential between 2 nd and 4 th

positions was just over 4 minutes. An unprecedented 7 men ran qualifying times for consideration on

the 2024 100K national team. Vadeboncoeur, originally from the Madison area, finished last year’s Mad

City 50K in 2 nd place and qualified for the 2023 50 team here also. “My goal was to break 6:30 (course

record). I wanted to be patient and just let things play out, but I may not have executed my plan as well

as I should have. Growing up near here, I am very familiar with the loop course and love it.”

One the ladies’ side, although a nice competitive field, there were not as many contesting for the US

team. Nevertheless, their goals were the same, to run 100K qualifying times for the team. Six women

entered the 100K national championship, with 3 women finishing the event, but their times put them in

consideration for 100K team qualifying.

In the beginning, it was a battle between masters runners. On the 1 st lap, Alison Mercer, 41, from

Marietta, GA, led Melissa Tanner, 43, Baltimore, MD by 1:37 and Neringa Kaulinaite, 41, Fort Worth, TX

by almost 2 minutes. By the end of the 4 th lap (25 miles), Kaulinaite pulled ahead of Mercer by less than

1 minute. At 50K Tanner withdrew from the event, leaving just 3 women running, Mercer, Kaulinaite,

and Jessa Victory, 32, Madison, WI. After the 5 th lap, the order for the women remained the same with

Kaulinaite, Mercer, and Victor in that order. Kaulinaite would hold onto her lead, increasing that lead-

time with each lap to the finish.

Crossing the finish line as the women’s 2024 100K national champion and securing her place on the

2024 US 100k national team was Neringa Kaulinaite (7:48:45), followed by Allison Mercer (7:55:04), and

Jessa Victor (8:16:48). Kaulinaite, originally from Lithuania and now a US citizen entered Mad City as

training run for her 24 hour team qualifying race at 6 Days in the Dome. “The hardest part was the on

and off feeling of cold. I did not know how to dress for it. This was my first cold race.”

Given the weather and the attrition rate in this race, those that were able to finish the race are to be

commended for withstanding some very brutal and suffering weather. It definitely took its toll with well

over 75% of the runners indicating they simply did not respect the weather enough to dress warmly.

Much of their energy went to just keeping or at least trying to keep warm.

A big thank you to first time Mad City race director Nora Bird and her team of fabulous volunteers.

Frequently heard was the beauty of the course, running in the woods and in the neighborhoods. A great

race with all aspects covered, producing a very positive experience for those runners entered and for

compiling an extremely competitive field of runners.


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