ULTRAMARATHON WORLD, the #1 international website for Ultradistance Running news, has just released its third annual global ranking of ultrarunners, for year 2001.  This, despite the recent tragedy of having lost it's entire 6-year content due to a technical malfunction on the part of its web server.  The ULTRAMARATHON WORLD website [] is currently in an uncertain, inactive state of transition as its editor, Canadian David Blaikie, attempts to re-build and re-locate the website.

Nevertheless, UW has continued with its annual global rankings project, compiled by international ultramarathon statistician Andy Milroy of Great Britain and by American Dan Brannen, AUA's Executive Director.

Russians continue to dominate the top of the global ultra scene, taking 8 of the possible 20 rankings positions, with another 4 taken by athletes from neighboring Eastern European nations.  Among the women, former Iron Curtain border nations dominated 8 of the 10 possible spots.

For the second year in a row, a Japanese man leads the men's rankings. World 100km Champion Yasufumi Mikami assumes the mantle of his countryman Takahiro Sunada.

Russia's Elvira Kolpakova rose to the top of the world's ultra women, becoming the first athlete of either sex to win both the World 100km and the Comrades Marathon titles in the same year.

The legendary Yiannis Kouros (with dual Greek/Australian citizenship), who ranks 3rd among men, is now approaching his 3rd consecutive decade of being undefeated, and virtually unchallenged, at his signature event, the 24 hour run.

A lone American makes the 2001 rankings.  Deb Mattheus (formerly Bollig until her marriage last year to South African Charl Mattheus) of Conifer, Colorado limited her year to the two big South African ultra extravaganzas, the Two Oceans 56km in April and the 89km Comrades in June.  She stunned the local short-range specialists with a surprising 4th in the former, then put an exclamation mark on it with her even more unexpected runnerup to Kolpakova in the Comrades.


The year 2001 was far from being a vintage year at Ultrarunning's flagship distance, the 100km. For the first time in at least twenty years no male runner broke 6:30 for the event. [Before that time courses were often not accurate, so the reliability of the earlier sub 6:30 marks may be doubtful.]  Yasufumi Mikami's was the slowest winning time for the World Challenge since 1991. The exciting potential of newcomers Vladimir Netreba and Alexei Belosloudtsev, who ran the year's best two times in the Russian championships in May, was not fulfilled later in 2001, although Netreba did take the European title. Andrew Kelehe's Comrades winning time was close to Bruce Fordyce's course record. Like most of the top male Comrades finishers, he ran only that one race during the year. Yiannis Kouros, now approaching his third decade of world-class performances, ran his best 24 Hour mark since 1998 to win a very competitive event at Verona, with Slovakian Lubomir Hrmo becoming the 6th best 24 Hour track performer of alltime right behind him. Lithuanian Rimas Jakelaitis emerged as the current best multi-day performer in the world, making a near-successful attempt to become the fastest ever 1000 mile performer in a 10 day race.

1. Yasufumi Mikami        JPN
2. Andrew Kelehe          RSA
3. Yiannis Kouros         AUS
4. Gregoriy Murzin        RUS
5. Vladimir Netreba       RUS
6. Leonid Shvetsov        RUS
7. Vladimir Kotov         BLR
8. Lubomir Hrmo           SVK
9. Rimas Jakelaitis       LIT
10. Alexei Belosloudtsev  RUS

1. Mikami is ranked No1 because he set two of the fastest times in the most competitive ultra event, the 100km, 1st in the World 100km [6:33:28]; 1st at Lake Saroma 100km[6:38:50].

2. Kelehe - Winner of the 89km Comrades Marathon [5:25:51], the world's largest and most competitive ultramarathon. His time was the best since Bruce Fordyce in 1986. The course distance changes slightly almost every year, so exact time comparisons have to be made carefully [Fordyce ran 5:24:07 for 88.7 km; Kelehe 5:25:51 for over 89.0 km; Vladimir Kotov had
run 5:25:33 for 87.3km in 2000].

3. Kouros - Winner at Verona [275.828km], the best 24 hour race of the year with the best 24 hour mark of the year.

4. Murzin - 6th at Comrades 5:32:59/ 1st at the De Bezana 100km in Spain [6:35:19]. The only male ultrarunner to successfully complete a Comrades/major 100km double at the world class level in 2001.

5. Netreba - Winner of the Russian 100km Championship [6:30:07], the fastest 100km of the Year; also won the European 100km Championship [6:45:45].

6. Shvetsov - Runnerup at Comrades [5:26:28] in his ultramarathon debut.

7. Kotov - 3rd at Comrades [5:27:21].

8. Hrmo - Runnerup to Kouros at Verona [270.337 km] - second best 24 Hour mark of the year/6th best alltime track mark

9. Jakelaitis - 901 miles/ 1450km in 10 days; 600 miles/965.606km in 6 days - best 6 day mark since 1990. Second best ever mark on certified road course.

10. Belosloudtsev - Runnerup to Netreba in the Russian 100km Championships [6:31:40], the second best 100km mark of the year.

Still over-shadowed by Tomoe Abe's nearly incomprehensible 6:33 100km run last year, the year 2001 was not a particularly strong one for the women either.  German Birgit Lennartz had previously run three faster times than her 7:28:21, which was the fastest time for 2001. The feat of Russian Elvira Kolpakova, winning both Comrades and the World 100km title in the same year is unique, and clearly earns her the distinction of the year's No. 1 ranking. The consistency of her countrywoman Marina Bychkova is also remarkable.  Hungarian Edit Berces was unable to produce the form of 2000, when she won the world title, but she successfully moved up to depose Russian Irina Reutovich from the No.1 spot at24 hours. American Deb Mattheus (formerly Deb Bollig, now married to South African Charl Mattheus) had a huge breakthrough in her pair of South African ultras. German Ricarda Botzon's even more remarkable breakthrough [her previous best was 7:54:13 set in the World Challenge in 1995] to take the European 100km was unexpected. Russian Irina Koval's consistency at the 24 hour event takes her above the 3rd and  4th placers in the 100km World Challenge, Monica Casiraghi of Italy and Tanja Schafer of Germany.

1. Elvira Kolpakova    RUS
2. Marina Bychkova     RUS
3. Edit Berces         HUN
4. Irina Reutovich     RUS
5. Birgit Lennartz     GER
6. Deb Mattheus        USA
7. Ricarda Botzon      GER
8. Irina Koval         RUS
9. Monica Casiraghi    ITA
10. Tanja Schafer      GER

1. Kolpakova - Winner of the World 100km [7:31:12] and Comrades [6:13:53] a unique double which puts her at the top of the world.

2. Bychkova - Runnerup at the World 100km [7:37:02] and at the European Championships [7:38:21], and third at Comrades [6:24:20].

3. Berces - Winner at Verona [235.029km], the most competitive 24 hour of the year, defeating Reutovich, who has dominated the event for several years.  She ran poorly in the 100km World Challenge, but still finished 11th in that race.  She also won the Cologne 24 hours [223.673 km].

4. Reutovich - Runnerup to Berces at Verona [226.781km]; winner of the European 24 hour Challenge [226.634 km]; winner of the Brno 48 hours overall [361,069 km].  She also won the Worschach 24 Hour in Austria.

5. Lennartz - The German National Champion [7:28:21] - fastest 100km mark of the year.

6. Mattheus - Surprise runnerup at Comrades [6:23:04]; [4th  at Two Oceans 56km [3:51:56].

7. Botzon - Winner of the European Championship 100km [7:31:55].

8. Koval - 3rd at Verona 24 Hour [222.445 km]; 2nd in the European Challenge 24 hour [222.650km].

9. Casiraghi - 3rd at the World 100km [ 7:39:42]; winner of the Faenza 100km [8:11:43].

10 Schafer - 4th in the World 100km [7:43:40]; 2nd in the German 100km Championship [7.46.28].

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