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Canadian women podium at Western States

Ailsa MacDonald was second and Marianne Hogan third behind Ruth Croft of New Zealand, who improved her 2nd-place finish from 2021

Alberta’s Ailsa MacDonald and Marianne Hogan of Montreal brought maple leaf glory to the Western States 100 podium in Auburn, Calif. yesterday after New Zealand’s Ruth Croft scored her first victory, taking the win in 17:21:30 (the third-fastest time in the race’s 49-year history) after finishing second in 2021. MacDonald crossed the line just 25 minutes behind Croft, in 17:46:46, and Hogan followed in 18:05:48–in 15th and 17th positions overall, respectively. Anne-Marie Madden of Vancouver finished just outside the top 10, in 11th (19:38:44). This is the first time Canadians have reached the women’s podium since Ellie Greenwood set the course record in 2012. (Rob Krar won the men’s race in 2014 and 2015.)

MacDonald, 41, is a veteran of the international ultratrail scene, with many podium and top-10 finishes, including wins at the Bandera 100K in Texas and the Tarawera 100-mile in New Zealand in 2020. Hogan was a bigger surprise; after winning this year’s Bandera 100K and taking second (behind 2021 UTMB champion Courtney Dauwalter) at Ultra-Trail Cape Town earlier this year, she sustained an ankle injury that (we assumed) reduced her chances of a strong performance at States.

Marianne Hogan wins 2022 Bandera 100K

But, as experienced road marathoners know, anything can happen in the marathon, and a 100-mile race is like the marathon quadrupled. If your name isn’t Jim Walmsley (who won his third victory at WSER last year and was not in this year’s race), it’s relatively rare for an early leader to win. Those who go out strong and lead for good portions of the race often fade, or drop out. According to iRunFar, at mile 15, Croft was in fourth position; Hogan was leading at mile 24, but only by 20 seconds. Hundred-mile world record holder Camille Herron was also in the mix, along with Emily Hawgood and others. Croft and Hawgood led from mile 30 (the Robinson Flat aid station), and Croft didn’t pull ahead until 17 miles later. At mile 62, Herron was in third position, ahead of MacDonald in fourth. Around mile 70, MacDonald passed Herron, who ultimately finished eighth.

By mile 78, MacDonald had moved up to second. It wasn’t until 90 miles in that Hogan was able to slip into podium position.

Women’s Top 10

  1. Ruth Croft (NZ) 17:21:30
  2. Ailsa MacDonald (Canada) 17:46:46
  3. Marianne Hogan (Canada) 18:05:48
  4.  Luzia Buehler (Switzerland) 18:08:32
  5. Emily Hawgood (Zimbabwe) 18:16:02
  6. Leah Yingling (USA) 18:32:31
  7. Taylor Nowlin (USA) 18:46:42
  8. Camille Herron (USA) 18:51:54
  9. Katie Asmuth (USA) 19:30:26
  10. Camille Bruyas (France) 19:34:24

Other Canadian finishers include Chelsey Topping of Alberta in 24:55:15 (22nd) and Ontario’s Karen Holland in 25:15:17 (23rd).

You can read about the men’s results at WSER here.