Koons, Egan Win on Modified Course At Craftsbury (Updated with correct 25k results)
CRAFTSBURY, Vermont – A warm and wet New England winter was not able to put a damper on the Craftsbury Marathon, even with one last burst of rain in the week leading up to the event.
Low snow levels and warm temperatures have plagued the eastern part of the US all season, requiring extra effort and creativity by race organizers.
The Craftsbury Marathon was schedule to return to a point-to-point format after several years using an intricate multi-loop course. But heavy rain on an already thin snow pack just days before the race ended any chance of the picturesque 50km classic course.
The race was held at the Craftsbury Outdoor center on an 11k loop. The full event featured for laps, with the half and obvious two. With temperatures dropping well below freezing on Friday night, skiing was excellent with a mix of manmade snow in the stadium area and natural further out.
With two tough climbs on the homologated Craftsbury 5k loop, and another extended 1km hill on the outer loop, the course was plenty challenging.
New Zealand Olympian Nils Koons (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) took the title in the men’s 44k race, besting Eli Enman (VTXC/Rossignol) by just under a minute.
Scott Lacy was third, three-and-a-half minutes behind Enman, just edging out Juergen Uhl (VTXC) by six seconds.
Clare Egan (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) won the women’s 44k in convincing fashion, outpacing Robyn Anderson (VTXC) by 4:20. Emily Blackmer (Dartmouth) was third.
Steven Mangan (Dartmouth) won the men’s 22k in a sprint to the line, besting teammate Silas Talbot.
Julia Harrison (Dartmouth) led a Darmouth sweep of the women’s 25k podium second. She edged out Karina Packer by six seconds, with Elise Seyferth taking third.
Abrasive snow and variable conditions made for some waxing challenges. Overall klister worked quite well in most areas of the course. Climbs ranged form loose corn snow in the manmade areas, to rock hard ice in other spots.
Many skiers suffered form significant wear, and on several occasions spectators witnessed skiers make a bee-line for parking lot and a waiting tube of klister as the race moved through the stadium.
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Naryshkina and Ocariz Take Noquemanon Classic; Brothers and Niemi Win Freestyle
The 14th annual Noquemanon Ski Marathon took place this Saturday in Marquette, Mich. Between nine separate events, nearly 1,400 skiers partook in the day’s festivities. The premier event, the 50 k classic, kicked off the day at 9 a.m. The race began at the Al Quaal recreation area in Ishpeming and wound its way to the Superior Dome in Marquette.
Santi Ocariz (CXC) took the title in the 50 k classic in 2:31:20.9, and Duluth’s Adam Swank was 1:22.05 behind. Bjorn Batdorf (Rossignol) took bronze (+1:27.02).
On the women’s side, Natalia Naryshkina came away with a comfortable win, clocking in at 2:56:34.9. Runner-up Morgan Smyth (Stella Racing/Salomon) was 4:04.93 back; Audrey Weber (Atomic) was third (+10:43.42).
Paulette Niemi won the women’s freestyle 50 k freestyle in 2:41:00.4; Kim Rudd was the runner-up at +2:01.85.
Michael Brothers (Alpina/Madshus) took the title in the men’s 50 k freestyle, crossing the line in 2:20:35.5; Jeff Koch was second at +1:37.56.
In addition to the 50 k events, there were classic and freestyle 24 k and 12 k races, two snowshoe races, a 50 k classic touring event and a 50 k relay. Click here for full results.
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Aukland Brothers Dominate Marcialonga; Nystroem Takes Title in Women’s 70 k
Jorgen and Anders Aukland (NOR) went 1-2 in the famed Marcialonga on Saturday, a 70 k classic marathon in northern Italy that finishes on the streets of Cavalese. The brothers finished under two seconds from each other, while Stanislav Rezac (CZE) crossed five seconds back in third.
This was Jorgen Aukland’s third victory in the Marcialonga, and the seventh title for a Norwegian since the event’s inception.
Petter Northug (NOR), skiing for Team United Bakeries, fell to 10th place (+1:18) on the final uphill.
The first woman across the line, and in 82nd overall, was Sweden’s Susanne Nystroem, who finished in 3:23:20.3. Compatriot Jenny Hansson (SWE) finished less than a minute behind in second place. Stephanie Santner (ITA) was third.
An astonishing 5,550 men and women completed the 70 k course.
For full results, click here.
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In other marathon news, the Lake Placid Loppet has been postponed due to lack of snow at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. Originally scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, the race was recently rescheduled to March 10, 2012. The American Ski Marathon Series event, with 50- and 25-kilometer freestyle and classic races, enters its 30th year and follows a challenging course used at the 1980 Olympics. For more information, visit the Whiteface website.
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.