The American ultra marathoner held the lead for part of the championship race.
Mike Wardian came close to winning the International Association of Ultra Runners 100K Championship race last Sunday in Gibraltar. The Arlington, Virginia resident held the lead for part of the race, which was a series of 18 5 kilometer loops and one 10K lead-in loop. Near the finish, Wardian and last year’s champion, Jonus Buud of Sweden, were passed by eventual winner Shinji Nakadai of Japan who ran the course in 6:43:44. Buud placed second, while Wardian crossed the line third in 6:49:18.
In a post-race conversation with Competitor.com, Wardian admitted that he was surprised by the Japanese runner’s late-race surge.
“I was surprised that Nakadai still had that much left when he passed me,” Wardian said. “He was struggling earlier and I pushed the pace and opened up a gap but he closed it down and then was able to put six minutes on me so I was impressed for sure.”
With his third-place finish, Wardian helped Team USA place second in the team standings behind Japan.
Wardian is now setting his sights on qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials by running the California International Marathon in December.
“I will be aiming for sub 2:18,” Wardian said. “Yes, one minute under the 2:19 standard.”