June 22, 2002: USA WOMEN THIRD IN "NIGHTMARE" WORLD 100KSaturday, June 22, Torhout, Belgium The USA women have taken third place in the IAU 100km World Cup, held last night in Torhout, Belgium. The American women were led by Tania Pacev (13th, 8:23:24), Ann Riddle (14th, 8:26:56), and Ann Heaslett (18th, 8:42:25). Russia and France took the women's team gold the silver medals. The event was won by Mario Fattiore of Italy in 6:35, followed by Igor Tjazkurov of Russia in 6:40 and Fermin Martinez of Spain in 6:42. The women's world champion was Russian Tatiana Zhyrkova in 7:37, followed by Akiko Sekiya of Japan in 7:38 and Monica Casiraghi of Italy in 7:40. The team placings of the men are still unknown, a full day after the start of the race. It appears that the USA men are well out of the medals. The American men were led by Howard Nippert (14th in a personal best 7:01:02), Dan Verrington (31st, 7:30:20), and Scott Eppelman (45th, 7:45:10). Jim Garcia was 50th in 7:48:43 and Mark Godale 58th in 7:57:52. Dave Dunham was taken off the course and hospitalized with severe dehydration. He has been released and is now fine. Rounding out the USA women's team, Nikki Kimball ran approximately 8:56, and Daniele Cherniak did not finish due to injury. Jennifer Devine-Pfeiffer incurred a freak back injury just before departing for Belgium and did not run the event. USA Team Coordinator Kevin Setnes, shaken with frustration, used words such as "disaster, nightmare, horrible, bizarre," and stated the event was the "worst organized in the history of the World 100k." There was no advance publicity anywhere on the internet and, for 24 hours after the event, absolutely no dissemination of results, even on site at the event. The above results were forwarded by Setnes via phone to the American Ultrarunning Association nearly a full day after the event started. As USA team manager, he is still unable to get a complete copy of either individual or team results, but is now certain of the USA women's bronze medal. Setnes, at a loss for words, revealed bits and pieces of an event organization which appeared to be falling apart at the seams even weeks before the event. Missing travel information, nonexistent airport shuttles, lack of pre-race access to the course, and an overall atmosphere of chaos set the tone for the event. The course was overrun with cyclists and cars, and there appeared to be no marshalling or course control. At one point Setnes said it appeared the leaders were directed around a turn by a group of spectators. -reported by Dan Brannen, American Ultrarunning Association firstname.lastname@example.org
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