Hinson Lake winner leads Team USA

Rookie leads men’s national team with Top 10 finish

Staff report

Related coverage
* Official World Championship results
* Jan. 12: Hinson Lake winner eyes spot on national team
* Sept. 28: Riopel runs to Hinson Lake title

TORINO, ITALY — The smile never faded.

Rich Riopel, who climbed into the Hinson Lake 24-Hour Ultra Classic record books last fall with the No. 2 all-time performance at the nine-year race, led Team USA over the weekend at the 2015 International Association of Ultrarunners World 24-Hour Championship.

Photo courtesy USA National 24 Hour Running Team

Photo courtesy USA National 24 Hour Running Team

Riopel, 41, of Morganville, N.J., finished eighth among 179 official finishers by completing 128 laps on the roughly 1.24-mile course of mixed asphalt and stadium track to tally 159.07072 miles in 23 hours, 54 minutes and 39 seconds. He was supported on the course by his wife, Donna, and three children.

Riopel represented Hinson Lake well. He’s the fourth HL winner to don the Team USA singlet and is second only to record holder and legend Mike Morton at the Rockingham venue. In Italy, Riopel ran as steady as one could expect but took advantage of others who were unable to do the same.

Here’s how he did it:

* Six hours in, Riopel was in 71st place.
* Four hours later, he’d moved up 24 spots to 47th place.
* At the midway point 12 hours in, Riopel was in 33rd place
* Two hours later, he moved up another seven spots
* At 16 hours in, Riopel was in 19th place.
* With six hours to go, Riopel was 13th overall
* 20 hours in, he was 11th
* With two hours remaining, he had moved into ninth place

Riopel would gain one more spot before the event’s end. In six hours, Riopel covered 32 laps, or 39.76 miles. At 12 hours, he had completed 65 laps, or 80.77 miles. Six hours later, he had completed another 31 laps (119.3 miles) and finished another 32 laps in the final six hours.

Photo courtesy USA National 24 Hour Running Team

Photo courtesy USA National 24 Hour Running Team

Teammate Harvey Lewis, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was second for Team USA and ninth overall with 157.82798 miles and Greg Armstrong, 48,  of Murfreesboro, Tenn., rounded out Team USAs scoring three by completing 114 laps. Riopel and Lewis led the men’s team, coached by ultra running legend Howard Nippert, to a fourth-place finish.

Runners contested not only the hours and distance but also the lack of stadium lights in the midnight hours — power went out for approximately two hours — and a fire in the infield of the stadium track. No incidents impacting the race were immediately reported in either instance.

Like Riopel, the Team USA men climbed through the rankings as the hours passed. The men were 25th three hours in and in 16th place nine hours in.

Katalin Nagy completed 122 laps — 151.61428 miles — to win the women’s world championship and lead Team USA to gold. Traci Falbo was second with 149.1288 miles and Maggie Guterl was fourth with 146.64332 miles.

 

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, Rockingham, Sports

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