Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wulman CDT 14K Preview

Wulfman 2K10 – Who To Watch

Another year of hot, hot racing is in store at the 3rd Annual Wulfman’s CDT 14K trail race. This 3rd edition of the race, to be run from Homestake to Pipestone in this even numbered year, looks to continue the same high level performances seen at the first two editions.

The women will have a new champion in 2010. The winner of the 2009 event (and course record holder for northbound route), Nicole Hunt will be focusing on her race director duties and leave the running to others this year - which makes the race up front wide open.

Early favorites would have to be Marta Fisher and Michelle Bazanella, both of Helena. M & M finished a strong 1-2 at the Don’t Fence Me In 30K Trail Race in Helena in early May and a 2nd and 3rd at the Big Butte 11K in April. Trail and endurance race specialists, they should both perform well at the high altitude and on the southbound trail climbs. A dark horse could be Maurie McLaughlin. Getting the win at the Wulfman Frigid Digger 7-miler in February, she’s looking take the honor’s in the Wulfman’s warm-weather race.

Master’s ace Debbie Gibson could also be a factor in the race for the title. With a 5th place in 2009 and top finishes at the 2010 Snow Joke and Run To The Pub ½ Marathons, Debbie looks ready for a top 3 finish.

Other women who look to make the elusive top 5 podium finish include Jennifer Burke and Laura West, together with a couple of teenagers in Rebekah Kirtley and Olivia Wood. All the women will be chasing the southbound course record set by Sarah Keller in the inaugural (2008) event of 1:10:36.

The men’s field looks to be deep, deep, deep – especially on the master’s side. Thomas Jodoin, the event’s one and only winner, will be back to try for the 3-peat (and to challenge his record time of 58:51). And, Thomas has been on a bit of role this year. With wins at the AOH 3-miler, the Vigilante Road Mile and the Don’t Fence Me In 12K, together with a 3rd at the Ice Breaker 5-mile, Thomas is looking sharp in the 2010 season. But, the converted middle distance track specialist will have his hands full. Keifer Hahn, the 2009 CDT runner up will return to give chase to Thomas. He doesn’t race a lot; but, his runner-up finish in the Riverbank Trifecta shows that - like always - when he races, he runs for the win. And, fresh off another stellar season at the University of Montana, Lynn Reynolds will look to improve on his 4th place finish in 2009.

A few of the other open men running to reach the podium include Matt Choquette, Colin Gaiser, Josh Panasuk, Adam Peterman, Ben Phipps, Doug Wadle, Brian Wieck and Dylan Zitzer. But, these youngsters will have to hold off some old guys as the top echelon of Montana master’s runners are coming to race along the great divide. In the first two editions of the event, master’s athletes took several of the top 10 spots; and, with this year’s group, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see up to half of the slots going to the 40+ crowd.

Two-time top 10 finisher Mike Telling (and masters champ in 2008 and 2009) will be back and will certainly have a start position at the front of the pack. Scott Gaiser and Jeff Braun have both have had a string of excellent performances dating back into 2009. Don’t overlook a couple of 50+ athletes in Kirk Keller and Mad-Dog Marvin Speece. And, mountain specialist Jeff Thomas is having his best season in the last several years and loves to run the hills and at altitude. Although both have fought a few injury issues the last couple of years, Ray Hunt and Tony Banovich are always a threat. Ken Newhall and Mark Slater will also be in the mix and ready to rumble.

With a sold out field, clear trail conditions and the hospitality of the Homestake Lodge, all the pieces are in place for an amazing mix of racing, camaraderie and a celebration of the Wulfman and the trail he loved.

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