Chuckanut 50k Preview – The Most Competitive 50k Trail Race Yet?

This Saturday’s upcoming Chuckanut 50k trail race in Bellingham, Washington, is likely to be the year’s most competitive trail 50k in North America. The record number of 700 participants will feature some very fast runners, including a number of notable Canadians, including Adam Campbell, Ellie Greenwood, Jason Loutitt, Oliver Utting, Melanie Bos, Shane Ruljancic, and Ryne Melcher. The resume’s of each of these runners is impressive, but can Canada’s running contingent compete against a stacked American field?

This challenge will be formidable.

The men’s side is stacked. Not only are a number of very accomplished ultra trail runners toeing the line, but a rather large group of quick road runners with fast marathon times are also competing. For a full list of contenders check out iRunFar’s 2012 Chuckanut 50k Preview.

This will should make for a very interesting race – who will fare better? The classic mountain runners or the speedy roadsters? Chuckanut is an interesting course in that sections of it will appeal to each group. The first and last 10 kilometers along the flat (-ish) urban trail will favor the road runners, but how will they do over the middle 30 kilometers which features lots of up and down, the normal domain of mountain runners?

Karl Meltzer, perennial predictor of finish placements for ultras all around, has posted his predictions for Saturday’s race. It would appear that he is predicting a victory for the guys with fast marathon times with Max King (2:14:36 marathon PR) coming out on top, and fast Squamish marathoner Jason Loutit (2:24 marathoner) second on his list.

However we wouldn’t discount the mountain runners. Mike Wolfe, Dave Mackey, Adam Campbell, Hal Koerner, Tim Olson, and Joe Grant are all featured within the top ten, and should challenge over the middle 30k.

Things are thankfully clearer on the woman’s side. Banff resident Ellie Greenwood, the current record-holder for Chuckanut (4:22:22 from last year) and North America’s 2011 Ultra Runner of the Year, is the clear favorite. As long as Ellie is able to run her race and has no setbacks she should wim. However Americans Joelle Vaught, Pam Smith, and Jenn Shelton will be her main competition and ready to pounce should Ellie not have a good day.

Kudos to Race Director Krissy Moehl for putting together one of the best and most competitive 50k trail races in North America.

Be sure to check back in Saturday morning (8am start time) as we will be posting live twitter feeds from the race on the site.

This one will be one fun race to watch.

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