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Bigfoot 200: Ryan Shephard triumphs as Mika Thewes smashes course record

Stuart Dick
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Ryan Shephard and Mika Thewes were the class of the field as they stormed to wins at the 2023 Bigfoot 200 in Washington, USA.

Canadian Shephard took the overall win at the 208-mile ultra through the Cascade Mountains in a time of 54:24:20 – the second fastest time in the race’s history.

Meanwhile, American Thews shattered the women’s course record in a time of 58:21:12, taking over eight hours off the previous best time.

Kilian Korth and Ismael Röthlisberger completed the podium on the men’s side while Aliza Lapierre and Allison Powell took second and third respetively in the women’s race.

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Phenomenal Thewes

Is was an event to remember for Thewes, who was running the race for a fifth time. She won the Bigfoot 200 in 2021, clocking a time of 76:15:57. She finished inside the top eight in all four previous attempts.

The Bigfoot 200 starts with a climb up Mount St. Helens
The Bigfoot 200 starts with a climb up Mount St. Helens [Photo credit: GoToVan / Wiki Commons]

However, it was to be an exceptional 2023 performance as she shattered the record set by Sofi Cantilo of Argentina from 2019 (66:43:45). Thewes found a companion in Korth early in the race as the pair ran relatively close together.

For the majority of the second day, she continued alone before Korth once again joined her around the 30-hour mark. The pair then ran in near vicinity until the Quartz Ridge aid station. They continued to cross paths until the 47-hour mark, where Thewes again pulled clear. She would ultimately finish two and half hours ahead of the second-placed male in the end.

In terms of the next female runner, Thewes had pulled away from Lapierre at the 10-hour mark, and the gap continued to extend from there. Lapierre, who won the Vermont 100 and finished on the podium at Western States, recorded a time of 65:13:31. This was an hour and a half quicker than the previous course record – but she had to settle for second despite her remarkable performance.

Powell rounded off the leading trio in 66:17:41 – again, she’d have bested the old course record by 26 minutes and four seconds.

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Shephard shines

Canadian Shephard spent the majority of the race out front on his own as he began to build a healthy lead from the 12-and-a-half hour mark. By the Norway Pass aid point he’d built a 10 minute lead to Thewes, which would only extend as the race went on. The overall winner finished almost four hours ahead of the women’s race winner.

A runner at the Bigfoot 200
The Bigfoot 200 [Photo credit: Hilary Yang]

Shephard, who won the BC Backyard Ultra in April after finishing third in Javelina Jundred in 2022, couldn’t reach the lofty time set by two-time winner Michael McKnight in 2019 (51:33:45), but he did become the second fastest individual to complete the course in 54:24:20.

He was followed over the line by Korth (60:43:49) who was six hours, 19 minutes and 29 minutes behind. Röthlisberger (64:26:40) was the final member of the podium.

Bigfoot 200 Results

MEN:

  1. Ryan Shephard (CAN) – 54:24:20
  2. Kilian Korth (USA) – 60:43:49
  3. Ismael Röthlisberger (CHE) – 64:26:49

WOMEN:

  1. Mika Thewes (USA) – 58:21:12
  2. Aliza Lapierre (USA) – 65:13:31
  3. Allison Powell (USA) – 66:17:41

Full results available here.

Stuart Dick
Written by
Stuart Dick
Stuart is a graduate of the University of Sunderland with a masters' degree in Sports Journalism. He spends a lot of his time running and cycling around West Yorkshire, England.

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