Many runners can run a mile in 9:03. Some can sustain that for a while; if a runner can run 9:03 for a marathon, that's a 3:57:06 finish. Pretty respectable. But to sustain that pace for over 15 hours at Western States, on mountain trails, climbing and descending, that defies belief. But that's exactly what Geoff Roes did Saturday, his time of 15:07:04 breaking Scott Jurek's course record by 30:37. And that's not all: two-time Leadville 100 winner Anton Krupicka was only a few minutes behind, clocking in at 15:13:53. Phenomenal performances by both runners. Roes, now 7-0 in 100 mile races, and Krupicka, 15-0 in ultras before Saturday, were both first-timers at Western States, but have certainly left their marks.
Another important record was set Saturday by Amy Palmiero-Winters. Readers of this blog may recall her as the amputee I saw at White Rock last year. She is now the first and only amputee to finish Western States, finishing in 27:43:10. Another amputee, Amy Dodson, dropped at 34.4 miles. Both of these women deserve our admiration.
Two of the race's pioneers started the race Saturday but didn't finish. Cowman A-Moo-Ha (I'm assuming this is Ken "Cowman" Shirk) dropped at 23.8. Gordy Ainsleigh made it 98.9 miles, but didn't finish before the 30 hour cutoff.
Closer to home, all three NTTR runners had strong finishes, earning the coveted bronze belt buckle. Cindy Melder came in two hours before her male counterparts at 27:39:17. In what must have been a real duel to the finish Drew Meyer edged Fred Thompson by one second! Drew's 29:39:42 beat Fred's 29:39:43. I don't know if they stayed together the whole time, but it must have been fun for them to pace each other.
When I was in the throes of my last-place finish at Cross Timbers earlier this year, Drew was manning the final aid station before the finish. He was very encouraging, expressing surprise that I was running that 2 weeks after Rocky Raccoon. Yet, according to the NTTR website, he is slated to run the Vermont 100 Endurance Race on July 17. So two weeks between 50 milers is impressive, but 3 weeks between 100 milers is no big deal? Good luck to Drew as he recovers and prepares for Vermont.