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Cocodona 250: Michael McKnight and Sarah Ostaszewski claim victories

Olly Green
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Michael McKnight and Sarah Ostaszewski claimed victories in the Cocodona 250 in Flagstaff, Arizona on Thursday.

The 250-mile event began in Black Canyon City on Monday and is dubbed as one of the ‘most diverse’ races of its distance, taking runners through deserts, mountains and differing weather conditions.

American McKnight improved on his second-place finish last year as he edged Britain’s Josh Perry – the only foreign runner in the top 10 – finishing in 69:41:31, around an hour and 20 minutes clear.

Michael Greer completed the men’s podium as he reached the finish in just under 73 hours.

Locally-based Ostaszewski finished fourth overall as she clinched the women’s Cocodona 250 win, coming home a minute behind Greer.

Aliza Lapierre and Mika Thewes rounded off the women’s podium around five hours later, taking second and third respectively.

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McKnight magic

McKnight had dropped out of the top 50 with 78 miles gone and was over eight hours off the lead at the midway stage, with Kilian Korth and Michael Versteeg out in front heading into the 136-mile checkpoint at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Ostaszewski was also some way back from the leaders, trailing Aliza Lapierre and Mika Thewes by nearly two hours.

But the two eventual winners would come strong over the latter stages, with McKnight moving into the top three ahead of the 205-mile mark at Kelly Canyon. Ostaszewski was still sitting third at that point but had moved to within half an hour of Thewes.

McKnight overhauled Greer before the 213-mile checkpoint at Fort Tuthill and took the lead over the next 16 miles as Korth dropped well back from the leading the leading trio, which Perry had moved into.

Ostaszewski leapfrogged Thewes before mile 229 at Walnut Canyon, before chasing down Lapierre and taking the lead heading into the penultimate checkpoint in Elden.

McKnight would cross the line in the early hours of Thursday morning to add the Cocodona 250 title to his glowing CV, having missed last year’s race due to a broken hip.

He became the first person to win all ‘Triple Crown’ races – Bigfoot 200, Tahoe 200, and Moab 240 – in the same year in 2019, achieving a record combined three-race time of 162:00:50.

For Ostaszewski, she followed up on second at last year’s Javelina Jundred as she reigned supreme at Cocodona for the first time, having managed fifth in 2021 and third in 2022.

Lapierre would claim second ahead of Thewes, with that pair separated by roughly an hour and 20 minutes when they reached the finish on Thursday afternoon.

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2023 Cocodona 250 results

Men:

  1. Michael McKnight (69:41:31)
  2. Josh Perry (70:57:52)
  3. Michael Greer (72:47:07)
  4. Kevin Goldburg (76:08:05)
  5. Jeff Garmire (77:03:46)
  6. Mike Groenewegen (78:27:14)
  7. Christopher St. Jean (81:13:24)
  8. Kilian Korth (81:23:56)
  9. Jared Byrd (84:09:54)
  10. Jason Cannan (84:17:55)

Women:

  1. Sarah Ostaszewski (72:50:27)
  2. Aliza Lapierre (77:04:14)
  3. Mika Thewes (78:23:13)
  4. Sally McRae (87:48:49)
  5. Alicia Jenkins (92:57:12)
Olly Green
Written by
Olly Green
Olly is the content lead for RUN247, is a regular contributor to TRI247 and keeps an eye out for content that appeals to both audiences including interviews with pro Heather Jackson.

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