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“The Next Ann Trason”

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Omaha’s Kaci Lickteig takes mid-season lead in Trophy Series

This year’s Trail Runner Trophy Series is more than halfway done with 81 races down so far (of 136 total.) Several runners have skyrocketed their points, including Kaci Lickteig, 26, of Omaha, Nebraska, with whom we did a Q&A in Making Tracks in a recent issue of Trail Runner. See article below.

When we last spoke with Lickteig, she said her biggest goal for 2013 was to run her first hundred, the Black Hills 100-miler in Sturgis, South Dakota—which happens to also be a Trophy Series race. Not only did she complete it, she won it in a blazing time of 19:12:01. She also took first in the Kettle Moraine 100K in La Grange, Wisconsin (9:47:12). Lickteig currently leads the Trophy Series category of Female Marathon and Longer. See below for our Q&A with her from the June 2013 issue of Trail Runner.

Want to win a $50 gift certificate to ZombieRunner and a 10 Seconds $50 gift certificate and prize pack? Simple! Just enter a 2013 Trail Runner Trophy Series race and click here to enter this week’s giveaway. To see past Trophy Series giveaway winners, click here. Or check out page 3 of this article for the current Trophy Series leaderboard and link to full series results.

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Kaci Lickteig en route to a course record at the 2012 Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K, her first trail ultra. Photo by Kristi Mayo.

Olympic and Off-Road Dreams
Marathoner Kaci Lickteig makes her mark on Midwest trails

By Chris Wristen

Kaci Lickteig, 26, of Omaha, Nebraska, had a blistering 2012 season in the marathoning world. She won the women’s race at the Lincoln Marathon in 2:50:31, finished first overall at the Sandhills Marathon in 3:02:01 and ran a 2:48:05 at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Just eight days after the Trials, Lickteig tried something new—her first trail race, the Chilly Cheeks 5-Mile Trail Run in Omaha. Unsurprisingly, she emerged the female champion.

Three weeks later, she ran her first trail ultramarathon—the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K. While she felt calm and comfortable at the Olympic Trials, Lickteig admits her nervousness about the trail left her stomach tied in knots.

“On a road, you know what to expect. There’s nothing technical about it,” she says. “With the trails, there was this fear of the unknown.”

Lickteig’s concerns were unfounded. She smoked the three loops of frozen, rocky bridle and singletrack trail with remarkably consistent splits (1:34:00; 1:35:52; 1:36:27) and finished in a women’s course-record time of 4:46:19. She was the first woman to break five hours in race history.

In his post-race report, race director Ben Holmes mused, “Maybe the next Ann Trason will be from Omaha!’”

Lickteig planned to return to Psycho Wyco this year, but four broken ribs suffered during a running spill sidelined her two weeks before the race. Her top goal for 2013 is to finish the Black Hills 100-Mile Trail Run in July in Sturgis, South Dakota.

For Lickteig, road racing remains serious business—she aspires to return to the Olympic Trials in 2016—while trails represent her lighter side.

Read on for a Q&A with Lickteig about her road to ultrarunning success …

 

Q&A

 

Have you always been fast?

Until the end of my junior year of high school, I walked a good portion of my cross-country races.
I tried to run as hard as I could, but I just wasn’t in good enough shape. I would walk the uphills of the course or when I started feeling any of the lactic-acid feelings in my legs.

What was the turning point?

During my junior year of school, my mom wanted to quit smoking and change her life, so we started going to the gym together. We would have fun running on the treadmill, racing … she would always beat me. That competitive spirit got us going, and I saw myself making progress. The first time I finished a cross-country course without walking is a high point of my life. I knew I could do this and started setting goals.

What was your experience like at the Olympic Marathon Trials?

I qualified the first weekend of December 2011 [California International Marathon; 2:44:14], and the trials were the second weekend of January. I basically treated it like a victory lap, because I didn’t know if I could come back and run well that soon. I just said, “I’m going to do what I can and enjoy the whole experience and soak it all in.”

What has surprised you about the trail-running atmosphere compared to roads?

The support from everyone. Nobody’s out there just for themselves. People would literally give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. The aid stations were phenomenal—people laughing, giving you tips and asking what you need. I’ve never experienced anything like that in a road race.

Read on for the current winners of the Trail Runner Trophy Series

 

CURRENT TRAIL RUNNER TROPHY SERIES STANDINGS

Female Marathon and Longer

  1. Kaci Lickteig, 26, Omaha, NE—648 points
  2. Abi Moore, 33, Fernie, Vancouver BC—491 points
  3. Eva Pastalkova, 37, Ashburn, VA—425 points

Male Marathon and Longer

  1. Scot Hartman, 44, Thornton, CO—550 points
  2. Sean Meissner, 39, Durango, CO—417 points
  3. Scott Eppelman, 46, Coppell, TX—412.50 points

Female Non-Marathon

  1. Felicia Peacock, 17, Cogan Station, PA—188.8 points
  2. Laurie Hall, 44, Bellefonte, PA—173.3 points
  3. Angela Minnefield, 50, Fishers, IN—164 points

Male Non-Marathon

  1. Jeff Smucker, 47, Woodward, PA—188.8 points
  2. Greg Fraze, 35, Velpen, IN—182.6 points
  3. Bryce Gavitt, 16, Hughesville, PA—170.2 points

Click here for full results.