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Five 80-plus athletes set to compete at USATF 100-mile national championships

The race to watch this weekend will be in the 80-plus division

runners in a marathon

The USATF 100-mile road national championships are set to run on Saturday near Las Vegas, at Aravaipa Running’s Jackpot Ultra Running Festival. While the the elite races are sure to be exciting, perhaps the most intriguing race of the weekend will come in the M80 masters division, which features five octogenarians.

Racing at 80

The five men racing in the M80 division on Saturday are Edward Rousseau, 83, Denis Trafecanty, 80, Ian Maddieson, 80, David Blaylock, 80, and Todd Leigh, 81. All five have raced a 100-miler in the past year (Rousseau raced a 48-hour race, but he ran a total of 108 miles), and Maddieson is the only member of the group who has yet to run this particular 100-miler.

Rousseau’s last pure 100-miler came in 2020 (when he was first starting in the 80-plus division) at the Jackpot. That day, he ran to a tremendous 30:07:25 result. While three years have passed since his last trip to Jackpot, Rousseau is still going strong, and he has run eight races since then, including a 303-mile (488K) result at the 2021 Six Days in the Dome in Wisconsin.

Trafecanty, Blaylock and Leigh all raced the Jackpot 100 in 2022. Blaylock, then 79, ran a stellar 31:56:28, three hours ahead of Trafecanty and Leigh, who ran the exact same time of 35:01:47 after 100 miles of running (presumably they ran together intentionally). Maddieson’s most recent 100-miler came at the Across the Years ultra in Phoenix in December, when he posted a time of 35:44:22.

If these recent results are any sign of what’s to come on Saturday, Rousseau and Blaylock may lead the charge in what could be a thrilling head-to-head battle. At the same time, Trafecanty, Leigh and Maddieson, all of whom have run 35-hour 100-milers in the past year, will make things interesting in a battle for the podium.

Elite preview

The elite competition may not be quite as inspiring as the M80 race, but it will be plenty exciting. Zach Bitter, the 2021 Jackpot 100 winner and USATF champion, will return to Las Vegas in search of another national crown. Saturday’s race will mark Bitter’s third 100-miler in as many months (he won the Brazos Bend 100 in Texas in December and finished third at the Rocky Raccoon 100, also in Texas, in February). In the women’s race, the top eight seeded runners have never raced the Jackpot 100, which could set up a thrilling rookie battle for the national title.

For the full start lists for Saturday’s race, click here.

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