UW's Global Ultra Rankings for 2002
 - Andy Milroy and Dan Brannen

Our annual Ultramarathon World Global Ultra Rankings for 2002 attempts to present objective ultra rankings for the year based on head to head competition and a careful assessment of the relative merits of performances across the range of standard ultra events around the world.

1. Edit Berces HUN
2. Maria Bak GER
3. Natalia Volgina RUS
4. Elvira Kolpakova RUS
5. Tatiana Zhyrkova RUS
6. Irina Reutovich RUS
7. Akiko Sekiya  JPN
8. Makiko Hotta JPN
9. Monica Casiraghi ITA
10. Marina Mychlianova RUS

1. Edit Berces of Hungary achieved her No. 1 ranking with one of history's greatest performances. At the Verona 24 Hour in Italy she passed the existing world 100 mile track best with 14:25:45, the 200km best with 18:31:43, and then shattered Sigrid Lomsky's absolute world best for the 24 hours with 250.108km/155 miles 721 yards. In addition, she won the European
24 Hour Challenge with the top road mark of the year, 232.284km/144.3 miles. She also defeated Irina Reutovich over 48 hours, the latter having previously set the second best mark of alltime.  Although less successful at shorter distances, Berces also ran three notable 100km marks - 7:57:11 for 6th in the World 100km, 8:03:51 to win the Italian 100km track championships event and 8:19:30 for 9th place in the European championships.

2. Maria Bak of Germany decisively won the Comrades [86.55 km/53.77 miles] in South Africa in 6:14:21, the second fastest time yet on the point-to-point down run [the course alternates downhill and uphill direction every other year]; she was also 4th in the Two Oceans 56km race in South Africa in 3:51:37.

3. Natalia Volgina of Russia was second in the Comrades in 6:17:26 and also won the Two Oceans in 3:38:02 [50km split of 3:16:01].

4. Elvira Kolpakova of Russia ran the fastest time of the year [7:24:52] to win the European 100km Championship, and finished fourth in the Comrades in 6:41:56.

5. Tatiana Zhyrkova of Russia won the World 100km in 7:37:06 and was second in the Russian 100km Championships in 7:45:29.

6. Irina Reutovich  ran the second greatest distance ever in 48 hour event, with 372.415km/ 231.4 miles indoors at Brno, but was subsequently beaten by Berces in the Surgeres race [367.638km/228.4 miles to  344.114km/213.8 miles]. Reutovich also finished second behind Berces with 226.825km/140.9 miles in the European Challenge. She won the 246 km/152.8 mile Spartathlon in Greece in 28:10:48, a new course record by 36 minutes. She was less successful in the shorter events, finishing 15th in the World 100km in 8:40:06.

7. Akiko Sekiya lost to countrywoman Makiko Hotta at the Lake Saroma 100km, running 7:44:39, but only one week earlier she had finished a close second, in 7:38:03, in the World 100km.

8. Makiko Hotta won the Lake Saroma 100km in 7:30:23, the second fastest time of the year.

9. Monica Casiraghi  finished behind Sekiya in the World 100km [7:40:00], and second in the European 100km Championships [7:33:14].

10. Marina Mychlianova of Russia won the Russian 100km Championships in 7:36:32, beating World Champion Zhyrkova, but then lost to her compatriot in the World 100km, finishing fourth in 7:45:56.


1. Yiannis Kouros AUS/GRE
2. Vladimir Kotov BLR
3. Oleg Kharitonov RUS
4. Denis Zhyabin RUS
5. Ryochi Sekiya  JPN
6. Jens Lukas  GER
7. Valmir Nunes BRA
8. Willie Mtolo RSA
9. Mario Fattore ITA
10. Jorge Aubeso ESP

1. Yiannis Kouros had a remarkable season even by his standards. In February he ran 12:35:48 for 100 miles on the road in New Zealand.  He then ran 284.070km/176.51miles for 24 hours in Taiwan on the track in March. Two months later it was 436.702km/272.1 miles in 48 hours  at Surgeres.  He was beaten in the World 100km, running 7:18:19 for 20th place, but in the longer events he remained in a class of his own. Subsequently he ran 154.733km/96.166 miles in 12 hours in Mexico City in August and the following month he ran 277.402 meters /172.3 miles in 24 hours on the road as a guest in the USA 24-Hour Championship.

2. Vladimir Kotov won the 86.55 km/53.77 miles Comrades in South Africa in 5:30:59, some five minutes off his course record but sufficient to hold off former New York Marathon winner Willie Mtolo. His run was arguably the best mark set over the middle range ultras in 2002.

3. Oleg Kharitonov of Russia broke the 25 year old 100 mile track record of Don Ritchie in a dramatic late race surge that defeated his fellow countryman, Denis Zhyabin. With £5000 at stake, one of the largest prizes on offer in an ultra race in 2002, the two Russians achieved what many before them, including the great Kouros, had failed to do, surpass Ritchie's 11:30 for the distance. Kharitonov's 11:28:03 shows the power of prize money in the modern sport. Kharitonov was also 3rd in the European 100km championships in 6:41:16, won the Russian 50km championships in 2:54:39 and was fourth in the Comrades in 5:34:43.

4. Denis Zhyabin of Russia had a remarkable season for a 22 year old. Finishing second in the European 100km Championships in 6:36:19, he then set the pace for the 100 mile track record, only to be overtaken in the final lap. His final time of 11:29:32 was also inside the former record and he had the satisfaction of establishing a new world best for 150km with 10:34:30.

5. Ryochi Sekiya  ran 266.275km/165.4 miles in finishing second to Kouros in the Taiwan 24-Hour. He also won the 246km/152.8 mile Spartathlon in Greece in 23:47:54. At a shorter distance, Sekiya ran 7:25:07 to finished 7th in the Lake Saroma 100km.

6. Jens Lukas ran 267.294km/166 miles to win European 24 Hour Challenge. He did not finish in the Spartathlon.

7. Valmir Nunes, winner of last year's Spartathlon, moved up to the 24 hours with great success, running 270.200km/167.8 miles in Brazil. This race was, however, not as competitive as the European event. Nunes also did not finish the Spartathlon.

8. Willie Mtolo of South Africa was second in the Comrades in 5:33:35 and third in the Two Oceans 56km event 3:12:22 [2:51:56 at 50km].

9. Mario Fattore of Italy was the surprise winner of World 100km, clocking 6:34:23  - the slowest winning time for the event since 1991 when the race was held on the tough Firenze-Faenza course across the Appenines in Italy. Fattore also won the Italian 50km road championships in 2:57:47.

10. Jorge Aubeso ran the second fastest 100km in the world for the year, 6:32:24 to win in Madrid.  He then took third in the Comrades with 5:33:37. After this excellent start, a retirement at the European Championships and a distant third at Bezana in 6:57:44 impacted on his position in the rankings. His loss at the European to Frenchman Pascal Fetizon, who in turn had lost to Fattore in the World 100km, were among the  factors taken into account.

AUA Home

AUA © 2003 All Rights Reserved.