Edmonton’s Alissa St Laurent has done it again. On Saturday, August 3, she beat everyone in the Silverton Ultramarathon 100K race in Colorado. Laurent broke the previous women’s course record on a newer and tougher course, which included 4,500 metres of elevation gain. In the rain, thunder, and lightning, St Laurent crossed the finish line in 13 hours and nine seconds–30 minutes in front of the second-place runner and over four hours in front of the second female finisher.
Two weeks ago, St Laurent decided to sign up for the Silverton 100K. After a disappointing Western States 100 finish due to non-running-related stress and re-rolling an ankle in the first 10K, St Laurent was itching for a long race in the mountains. She spent some time in the Sierras after States, and then headed to Colorado for trail work and Camp Hardrock. Taking recovery from Western States seriously, St Laurent eased back into running slowly, while acclimating to the altitude.
The idea of beating all the men in the race was not on St Laurent’s mind. She was more excited to race one of her ultrarunning heroes, Darcy Piceu–who unfortunately did not end up racing. “I don’t need the men to bring out the best in me, it’s unnecessary,” she says.
For the first 10K of the race, St Laurent went out hard with the lead 55K racers. As she prepares for UTMB at the end of August, St Laurent justified the pace as good training for the fast start in Chamonix. After the first aid station, she pulled back and the lead male ran ahead until the next checkpoint. At about halfway, St Laurent passed him on a descent, dropping Seth Wealing for good. “We had some awesome rainstorms all day. I’m good in the cold and wet. I had such a blast out there.”
When St Laurent won The Canadian Death Race overall in 2015, her goal was to chase the legendary Ellie Greenwood’s course record. Similarly, “my main goal for Silverton 100K was to put down a kind of benchmark, something I could be proud of for other women to chase, and know what was possible for them on the right day.”
St Laurent has learned not only to race hard, but recover harder. Before she flies to Europe, St Laurent is shutting it down and taking down time in Durango. “I’m treating myself like a baby. I have to. People don’t see that part of it. Something I’ve improved on is pulling back. May not be as flashy, but my longevity is there.”