Ultra: Take That, Partner

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, May 1994

Ultra: Take That, Partner
By Todd Balf

Of the many surprises at the 100-kilometer national championships in Sacramento, California, last February, perhaps the biggest was the dominance of newcomer Rich Hanna. "He's a marathoner," says Tom Johnson, the prerace favorite and Hanna's training partner for the last three months. "I was the guy who talked him into running the race." The pair ran together on the three-mile dirt-and-pavement loop until the 40-mile mark, at which point Hanna surged. Johnson, who's had a history of so-so performances in anything less than searing heat, couldn't keep up in the cool weather. Hanna won easily in 6:48:59, finishing more than seven minutes ahead of runner-up Bryan Hacker of Bloomington, Indiana. Johnson took a disappointing fifth.

Johnson, incidentally, is one of two Americans on the newly created Fila SkyMarathon Team (the other is 29-year-old Matt Carpenter of Colorado), which will compete in an invitational three-race mountain marathon circuit this summer. First stop: 14,265-foot Castle Peak in Aspen, Colorado, on June 12. The sky-running circuit will then move to Europe's second-highest peak, 15,000-foot Monte Rosa in the Italian Alps, for a July 17 race, and conclude October 10 on the Tibetan side of Everest. The entire Everest race will take place between 14,000 and 15,000 feet, making it the highest, most oxygen-deprived marathon in history.

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