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Rock/Creek Racer Kris Whorton Runs 100 Miler in 16:05

Chattanooga’s Kris Whorton on Thursday ran the 100-mile Umstead 100 course in Raleigh, N.C., in 16:05, which put her ahead of the second fastest time in the world last year at 16:19 run by a Russian at a race in England.
Kris Whorton crosses a creekHere is the account from her husband and fellow Rock/Creek Race Team member, Randy Whorton:
Something really special happened on Saturday that I thought you all might like to hear about, and I, of course, have to be the one that does the bragging because Kris would rather keep it quiet. This is a brief account of the Umstead 100 mile trail race.
Kris was physically fit, sure, but as many believe, the 100 miles is mostly a mental challenge, and no one, including Kris, knew how ready she was mentally. I knew that she would do well, but I must say that this one is a bit over the top.
First, a little about the race. Umstead 100 is clearly one of the most popular 100’s in the country because it is quite fast and easy. It takes place in the Umstead State Park in Raleigh, N.C. It comprises of 8 laps of a 12.5 mile loop on a wide multi-use trail. It is nice to have your own stuff and supporters handy every lap and it is virtually impossible to get lost in the woods. Also, there is only 8,000 feet of elevation gain which by trail standards is a fairly flat course.
Kris ran this race in ’07 with a time of 18:13, which became the 4th fastest time in the world that year for a female 100 mile trail race (1st for women over 40). This year she was hoping to break 17 hours and set what we all thought to be a ridiculously aggressive schedule that would put her at 16:40. Her thought was that she would likely not be able to hold the pace, but it would leave her with enough time in the bank to get under 17.
Kris Whorton at Umstead 100Well, she started out faster than the plan and held the fast pace throughout the day and finished in 16:05! Just for reference, the old record was 16:21. The fastest time in the world last year was 15:29 by an Italian lady at a race in Italy and second was 16:19 by a Russian at a race in England. In ’08 there were only 7 women in the world that ran under 18 hours.
OK, here comes the crazy part – Kris running an insane time of 16:05 did not win the race. The girl that won it did so in her first-ever 100 miler and only beat Kris by 4 minutes. The two girls placed 3rd and 4th overall out of 275 starters. Kris broke the masters record by over an hour.
One final tidbit, Kris’s time would have put her 10th on the world’s fastest men’s list for ’08. Wow, I still can’t quite believe what just happened and sure am proud of her.
Interested in more information about the Rock/Creek Trail Series or want to run them yourself? We have open registration for these upcoming events:
Scenic City Trail Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, Presented by Vasque
May 23, 2009 – Raccoon Mountain – Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race
3 days of mountain trail running: 22 mile / 18 mile / 20 mile
June 19-21, 2009
Lookout, Raccoon, and Signal Mountains