Two runners from Durango set course records in the Ouray 100 ultramarathon over the weekend: Miguel Medina and Meredith Edwards.
Medina shattered the course record set by Chris Price in 2017 by more 45 minutes. Medina won the 102-mile race, which features 41,862 feet of elevation gain, in 30 hours and 27 seconds, beating his closest competitor, Dustin Johnson of Breckenridge, by over 2½ hours.
Johnson finished second in 32:33:03, and Luke Gangi-Wellman of Salt Lake City finished third in 33:16:21.
Edwards finished fourth overall and won the women’s race in 34:01:33. She broke the previous record of 34:26:00, which was set by Melissa Beaury in 2017. The third-fastest women’s time on the course, which features several out-and-backs on trails in Ouray, is 37:21:05, set by last year’s winner, Alyssa Clark.
“Strong athletes and good weather is a powerful combination,” said Charles Johnston, the race’s founder and co-director, about the record-breaking runs.
The race, which started in 2014 and switched to its current route in 2015, has traditionally been held two weeks after the Hardrock 100. This year, however, it was moved up a week to avoid hazardous weather such as lightning and hail, that has affected past races.
“It made a big difference,” Johnston said. “It was by far the best weather this time.”
On a normal year, he said about 40% of the runners finish the race, although the finish rate has been as low as 20%. This year, 50 of the 90 competitors in the 100-miler finished. “That’s unheard of,” Johnston said.
Several other runners from Durango also had strong finishes. Joseph Holway finished seventh overall in 39:38:16.
Maria Sylte was the second woman to finish, crossing 13th overall in 42:01:09.
Dena Carr of the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, was the third woman to finish this year (44:47:07).
Walter Handloser led the Ouray contingent, crossing fifth in 36:32:15. Ryan Wold crossed 32nd in 46:54:01, and Tyley Gault finished 37th in 48:23:54. Elissa Price did not finish.
The event also featured a 50-mile race with more than 23,000 feet of climbing, which is more than most 100-milers.
The women’s winner, Emily Caldwell of Boulder, also set a new course record of 15:20:31. Caldwell finished third overall behind Austin Horn of Flagstaff, Arizona, (14:46:34) and Andy Sivanich of Colorado Springs (15:19:36).
Beaury also held the 50-mile record of 15:33:00, which she set in 2018, meaning she lost both of her course records over the weekend.
Graham Shalvoy set the men’s course record last year: 14:28:32.
Johnston said Price and Beaury were at this year’s race, cheering the runners on. He said Price climbed the Bridge of Heaven, the last descent, and told Medina to hurry and he might break 30 hours, and Medina came close.
Next year, Johnston said they might hold the 100-mile and 50-mile races on different weekends to accommodate more runners, even though they usually don’t reach capacity since the run is so tough. The competitors can qualify for the event by doing several other ultramarathons, but Johnston said people can qualify in other ways, like sending their Strava profile to show how much they have been running.
“The main thing is we want to, as best as possible, send people out there with a proven skill set,” he said, adding that they don’t want the race to get huge and lose its current vibe.
“Every year, we get more and more of a family feeling,” Johnston said, referring to a strong core of volunteers and runners returning year after year.
Eric Makovsky of Chesapeake, Virginia, who finished 16th in 42:31:40, completed the race for the fifth time in his fifth attempt this year, which is the most of anyone. Runners have 52 hours to complete the 100-miler.
Complete results at https://bit.ly/3JejzQu