Sophia Laukli wins. Again. Racing against a full international field plus some of this country’s fastest trail runners, the 23-year-old nordic skier took yet another victory in this year’s Golden Trail World Series, winning the 2023 Pikes Peak Ascent earlier Saturday in 2:35:54. She was nearly four minutes ahead of the second-place woman, Judith Wyder of Switzerland.
In the men’s race, Rémi Bonnet, also of Switzerland, took down one of the most hallowed marks in American trail running, clocking a 2:00:20 to finally better Matt Carpenter’s longstanding course record of 2:01:06. Carpenter’s record for the half-marathon ascent had stood since 1993 (and he set it en route to his still-standing CR for the full marathon, which, mind blown). Bonnet was born in 1995, and Laukli in 2000. It’s been a while.
I don’t have intermediate splits for live timing, there are no athlete quotes up yet online, Laukli is currently busy eating cereal and recovering per her Instagram stories, and I learned only this morning that a lack of connectivity and infrastructure meant that there was no live streaming for the race. So I’m going to leave it at that: Laukli crushed, and looked, as the kids say [probably “said,” since this reference is literally now twenty years old ouch], le tired at the finish.
“n good night,” Laukli wrote on Instagram of her demeanor soon after crossing the line.
Third place in the women’s race went to Anna Gibson of Wyoming, who finished in 2:43:59. Gibson has some range: earlier this year she made the finals for the much shorter, and flatter, 1,500 meters at USATF Outdoor Championships, where she finished tenth in 4:09.58. Prior to running collegiately, for Washington, she was a standout IMD skier in high school, capturing six Wyoming state titles and nine All American finishes at JNs. I am therefore counting Gibson as the second nordic skier in the top three.
Jessica Yeaton was the next recognizable nordic skier name out there; she crossed the line in 3:02:18 to place 19th in the women’s field. Her longtime partner, David Norris, was 29th in the men’s field in 2:28:28. Sam Hendry, who skied collegiately for Utah but is now a Salomon-sponsored trail runner, was the top nordic skier for the men, finishing 12th in a time of 2:16:43.
The pro running field races again at the Mammoth Trail Fest on Friday morning, where the Mammoth 26km will be the final regular-season Golden Trail World Series event.
This article has been updated to include Anna Gibson as a nordic skier. Many thanks to reader @dan_in_wyoming for pointing this out to me.
— Gavin Kentch