Karl Meltzer’s Speedgoat is brutal. You don’t realize just how hard the race is until you’re standing on top of Hidden Peak, looking down the narrow, rocky cirque that drops perilously off one side to a valley a thousand vertical feet below. A dirt trail, littered with loose rocks, at times less than a foot wide, follows the ridge to the summit. And that’s only the last 1000 feet of climbing. From the start line to the finish, the course gains and loses 11,000 feet.
As one competitor noted, there’s actually not much running involved in what Meltzer calls the toughest 50k in the USA. The climbing is hard enough it’s simply more efficient for most runners to “walk” up the trail, one excruciating step at a time.
As hard as this race is, the top two runners in both the men’s and women’s fields came in under the previous course records. Sage Canaday won with a mindblowing time of 5:08 hours—six minutes faster than the previous record set. Anton Krupicka took second just over a minute behind Canaday. In fact, the men were going so fast we were unable to catch them on camera. If you were there, you’d know how impossible that time seems.
About that 5:08, Speedgoat director Karl Meltzer (who we profiled here) put it bluntly: “It’s pretty amazing. 5:08 hours is ridiculous. It doesn’t surprise me with the field, the competition we had. But if you know this mountain, you know this race, it’s retarded. And Tony was right behind Sage closing in. It’s really the race I was looking for.”
Stephanie Howe crossed the finish line with a time of 6:17 hours, followed about a minute later by second-place finisher Jodee Adam-Moore.
Meltzer credits the weather—overcast with temperatures in the mid-60s— for the fast times.
“The weather definitely played a part,” he says. “Every year it’s always been warmer here. And we had cloud cover all day, really perfect conditions. There’s no doubt we were primed for a record. And the women broke the record, too. The old women’s record was 6:26, today was 6:17.”
Blister reviewer Lance Peterson looked remarkably cool and collected at the summit of Hidden Peak, 26 miles into the race.
This was Lance’s first time running the Speedgoat, and he finished in a very respectable 8:20. We asked him what he thought would be the key to surviving such a brutal race?
Competitors were in footwear that ran the entire spectrum, from heavily cushioned Hokas to the most minimalist sandals.
And then, there were the rocky descents.
Keep in mind: this is what you have to deal with after you’ve already climbed 11,000 feet over the course of 26 miles. It’s like a twisted reward to kick off the final 3200 feet to the finish line.
And it was good to finish.
Having dealt with a painful psoas for most of the race, Blister’s Marshal Olson was extremely happy to finish.
Karl Meltzer was there to personally congratulate every runner who crossed the finish line. “I’m just trying to get the best field I can, and it’s definitely proven to be one of the best 50ks now. Success, right?” Right.
For others, success simply meant a good meal and another PBR.
The Speedgoat after-party in the parking lot was good. But the Sunday recovery brunch was even better.
Speedgoat truly is an amazing race. Congratulations to all the competitors, the volunteers, and Karl Meltzer for making it a remarkable day.
So now the big question: You signing up next year?
Lance Peterson’s answer: “Maybe. The race itself is brutal, but Speedgoat attracts an amazing field of elite runners, and allows the rest of us test ourselves against them and on the very same, amazingly difficult course.”