For Juneau resident Houston Laws it is one down and three to go, or, 100 miles tread and 300 more to train for.
Laws placed fourth for foot athletes in the 2014 Susitna 100 last weekend, starting on Saturday at Buser’s Happy Trail Kennels and finishing 26 hours and 49 minutes later. His time was the 66th fastest among all 100-mile divisions (bike, ski, foot). The course went out to in a complete circle that included Flat Horn Lake, Susitna River and Cow Lake.
“It was a fast course,” Laws said. “It was a new course with a lot of challenges. It was ice or fast snow out there, like concrete almost. You could see several miles in front of you and that was daunting, knowing that you had that much farther to go without any turns or bends to distract you.
David Johnston had the fastest run time with 18:22, Piotr Chadovich was second in 21:56 and female winner Laura Mcdonough had the third fastest running time of 26:37, good for 65th overall.
“In the beginning I saw someone up by the bikers and I thought it was a skier,” Laws said. “He was really out there and he was going fast.”
At 32-miles he asked competitor Laura Mcdonough if any other runners were in front.
She replied that two other guys were “booking it.”
“At that point I just ran my race,” Laws said. “They were going for a top record. I decided to run what I was comfortable with.”
Laws slowed his pace to focus on being healthy enough to complete the race and be uninjured for the next 100-miler.
“The weather was good,” Laws said. “It was warm. We didn’t get snowed on much at all. I took off a layer of pants and socks and went the whole race with just one layer.”
Nights did get down to 10-degree and the moon was out to illuminate the trail.
The longest Laws stayed at a checkpoint was 15 minutes and he averaged five minutes over the six required check in points. At check points the main focus was to put on a new pair of socks on, get hydrated, fill his water jugs and grab a snack. Laws brought sweet potatoes wrapped in foil that he heated up before the race. These “snacks” kept his food and clothes warm.
“It tasted better than a bar or goo,” Laws said.
Local runner John Nagel, also a training partner with Laws, ran the Little Su 50K (31-mile) portion of the same race on Saturday, finishing second for runners in 4 hours and 1 minute and 36th among all competitors in the 50K bike, foot and ski divisions. Nagel plans to run the White Mountains 100-miler with Laws on March 30.
“I feel pretty good about the experience,” Nagel said. “It helped with my training for White Mountains.”
The Susitna Valley snow and ice was hard packed for competitors and led to fast times. Of the 118 races registered for the 100-mile race, 31 finished in less than 24 hours.
Carey Grumelot had the fastest 100-mile bike time with 8 hours 27 minutes as he powered a fat-tired 907 carbon-frame model and Heather Best was the fastest female biker with 9:36, good for seventh overall among the various disciplines.
Matias Saari had the fastest men’s 100-mile ski time with 17:21, placing 45th among all divisions, and Kristen Bartecchi Rozell was the fastest woman with 21:58, placing 60th overall.
After his 50K run Nagel waited for Laws to approach the finish of his 100-miler and ran the last two miles with him.
“That was great,” Laws said. “The last few miles seem forever. The trees would open up and there would still be this huge distance. Then I saw his orange jacket coming at me, so that was really nice of him.”
Said Nagel, “He had been out there a long time. Sometimes those last miles are really long and I for one have appreciated the company and encouragement.”
James Stull won the 50-kilometer (31-mile) bike race in 1 hour, 50 minutes, 57 seconds, while wife Amber Stull chased him across the finish less than 10 minutes later, in 2 hours flat, good for fourth place overall.
Darren Hull had the fastest male ski time of 3:31:51 (27th overall) and Kristin Cross the fastest female ski time with 5:10:45 (49th OA).
“I am going to take a week staying off my feet,” Laws said. “Then I will ease into some swimming and water jogging and then get back to training.”
Laws stated that for his next race, the White Mountains 100-miler on March 30, he will not be using a sled but will use a backpack.
Nagel is spending four days cross-country ski touring the White Mountains course.
“I am trying to dial in clothing and nutrition choices,” Nagel said. “No better place than where we will be running.”
Complete results of the Susitna 100 are online with this story at www.juneauempire.com/sports.
Susitna 100 Results (Name, Time):
100-MILE BIKE FEMALE - Heather Best 9:36; Julie Berberich 10:05; Danielle Dalton 10:35; Janice Tower 10:45; Teri Buck 12:50; Andrea Dubenezic 14:31; Kimberly Riggs 15:46; Amy Sebby 17:37; Stephanie Grant 17:38; Rachelle Kanady 20:14.
100-MILE BIKE MALE - Carey Grumelot 8:27; Kevin Murphy 8:54; Justin Libby 9:07; Ben Abbott 9:10; Mark Scotch 9:17; Clinton Hodges Iii 9:29; Stewart Osgood 10:02; Steven Friese 10:03; Andy Pohl 10:03; Joe Pollock 10:03; Brian Stone 10:34; Nicolas Baudin 10:54; Matt Hickey 11:07; Josh Brekken 11:28; Paul Lester 11:34; Jack Anderson 11:46; Mark Seaburg 12:04; John Buck 12:50; Cory Hinds 13:04; Sean Grady 13:08; Bob Gengler 13:19; Seth Ross 13:21; Mark Stewart 14:07; Alan Stevens 14:45; Ben Pysto 15:03; Tom Hunt 15:05; Steven Marlborough 15:06; Mike Beiergrohslein 15:24; Thomas Coolidge 15:24; Brent Veltkamp 15:42; Erwin Berglund 15:46; Stephen Balcao 15:54;Tab Ballantine 16:03;Aaron Holmen 16:03; Curtis Koszuta 16:26; Chris Allard 16:59; Dan Bailey 17:37; Randall Franklin 17:38; Dave Hart 18:36; Daniel Frederick 19:25; Bryant Wright 19:59; Jondavid Wright 19:59; Jeremiah Saatzer 26:02; Adam Shilman 26:04.
100-MILE FOOT FEMALE - Laura Mcdonough 26:37; Jane Baldwin 30:12;Sarah Duffy 32:35; Martha Schoppe 39:35; Shawn Mctaggart 43:37.
100-MILE FOOT MALE - David Johnston 18:22; Piotr Chadovich 21:56; Houston Laws 26:49; Jorge Rufat-Latre 29:29; Tony Covarrubias 30:09; Larry Smith 30:25; Stephen Sweezey 30:37; Jered Williams 31:26; Sean Randle 31:42; Eric Roberts 32:37; Jamshid Khajavi 33:22; Joel Haag 34:46; Kelly Totten 35:30; James Hadlock 40:50; Dennis Aslett 44:07; Timothy Wilt 44:07; Sean Brown 45:44; Greg Mills 46:23; Nicholai Smith 46:23.
100-MILE SKI FEMALE - Kristen Bartecchi Rozell 21:58; Stephanie Schmit 25:45; Aurora Agee 26:51.
100-MILE SKI MALE - Matias Saari 17:21; Chris Wood 17:47; Seth Adams 18:02; Kevin Rice 18:44; Bob Gillis 25:44; Gavin Kentch 27:40; Bryan Friedrichs 28:08; Dan Maclean 28:15; Russell Merrick 45:06.
LITTLE SU 50K RESULTS (Name, Time):
50K FEMALE BIKE - Amber Stull 2:00:53; Jill Simek 2:07:32; Stacey Kolstad 2:17:03; Pam Todd 2:27:36; Janus Reyes 2:30:40; Amber Mcdonough 2:34:48; Kate Batten 3:23:15; Tessa Treadway 3:40:49; Gina Gregoire 3:41:31; Janet Bloch 3:41:32; Jane Wiggins 3:43:54; Kimberly Meck 4:00:15; Bernadette Martel 4:28:40; Kathleen Roch 6:07:20.
50K MALE BIKE - James Stull 1:50:57; Jim Anderson 1:57:30; Daniel Folmar 1:57:31; Shannon Fore 2:01:31; James Nigh 2:11:12; Brant Grifka 2:16:37; Mark Heysell 2:18:55; David Duffy 2:19:15; Bryan Kirkpatrick 2:21:37; Mike Morganson 2:34:58; Joshua Estes 2:36:55; Michael Sullivan 2:42:48; Steve Wood Wood 2:45:00; Jerami Marsh 2:53:20; Rich Todd 2:57:28; Bruce Roberts 3:00:50; John Koltun 3:09:15; Jason Rode 3:23:04; Charles Utermohle 3:36:47; Niles Woods 3:36:47; Jim Yeo 4:01:40; Hans Brugge 4:13:48; Grant Shearer 5:52:32; G Rodney Kleedehn 6:36:04.
50K FEMALE FOOT - Sarah Thomas 4:04:57; Kyle Colburn 4:33:01; Letta Stokes 4:52:34; Kari Konrath-Bera 5:02:35; Karen Kidwell 5:07:02; Jennifer Diep 5:29:17; Keri Hull 5:31:58; Kerstin Kothrade 6:09:11; Louise Sensi 6:09:11; Sarah Kleedehn 6:35:53; Mariangela Sgarbossa 7:07:48; Meg Kurtagh 7:47:40.
50K MALE FOOT - Benjamin Marvin 3:11:27; John Nagel 4:01:51; Thomas Burton 4:24:25; Jeremy Hinshaw 4:50:43; Matthew Kidwell 5:07:03; Joseph Pokupec 5:10:37; David Houston 5:10:38; Nelson Priddy Ii 5:10:47; Laron Thomas 5:19:28; Charlie Hoppe 5:56:25; John Hoppe 5:57:21; Michael Hartman 6:09:29; Lorenzo Doris 7:07:47; Maury Oswald 7:30:10; Steve Burgess 8:00:33.
50K FEMALE SKI - Kristin Cross 5:10:45; Ivy Schultz 5:39:49; Lora Volden 6:28:40.
50K MALE SKI - Darren Hull 3:31:51; Michael Mitchell 5:25:46; Tory Volden 6:28:42.