Sacramento Running News

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Western States 100 Wrap-Up

June 29, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Ultrarunning

The Western States 100 Finish Line at Placer High in Auburn.

The dust has finally settled on the Western States Trail. The runners are done with this race until the next time they are “lucky” enough to pin on a Western States 100 race number. The volunteers, many as tired as the runners, have packed up and gone home.

Three hundred and ten runners crossed the finish line at Auburn’s Placer High before the 30-hour time clock ran out. Some were elated. Some were satisfied. Some were disappointed. Another 65-runners called it a day somewhere before they made it to the end.

The reasons for dropping are endless, but doing so is always painful–sometimes physically, sometimes mentally, and usually both.

For the first time ever, the men’s and the women’s races were won by foreigners. The first man in was a 23-year-old Spaniard by the name of Kilian Jornet, who completed the snow-year course in 15:34:24. The first woman to the finish was 32-year-old Ellie Greenwood, of Banff, Alberta, who finished in 17:55:29.

In this cool year, despite the arduous miles of snow, of the 310 finishers, 125 of them earned the coveted silver buckle with a sub-24-hour finish. The last of these sub-24-hour finishers was Elizabeth Carrion, of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, who made the cut with 14-seconds to spare.

The last official finisher was Marla Hendrix, of Waco, Texas, who got the most out of her entry fee by spending a full 29-hours, 57-minutes, and ten seconds on the course.

Full results are available at the Western States webcast page.

In a race this long and this difficult, every runner has a story to tell. Here are only a few:

Top Locals:

Mark Lantz climbing the hill to Duncan Canyon Aid Station in 2010. Photo by Glenn Tachiyama.

The first local runner to finish was Mark Lantz, of Gold River. Lantz finished the 100.2 miles in 17:19:14 (almost an hour and a half P.R!), which was good enough for 15th overall.

The first local woman to finish was Jamie Frink, of Folsom. Frink was the 14th woman, finishing in a personal best 22:51:12.

Heroes and sacrifices:

Early in the course, in the miles and miles of snow, a woman running in the safety patrol, looking out for lost or injured runners, slipped and fell and broke her leg. Some runners on the course, including the famous Cowman A MooHa, stopped to help her out. They built a pallet of fir boughs to get her up off the snow (Running clothes will not keep you warm if you are lying down on the snow.) and watched over her until they could get her helicoptered off the mountain.

You sure you know where you’re going?

If you had been watching the webcast early in the race, you may have noticed that between Duncan Canyon and Mosquito Ridge checkpoints, the lead pack suddenly became the chase pack. It turns out that the first six men took a wrong turn and got passed by the more attentive chasers.

Jamie Frink enjoying the moment after crossing the finish line. Photo by Mr. Frink.

Game Interference:


With just over a mile to the finish, on the last climb up to Robie Point, Kami Semick and her pacer Prudence L’Heureux were stopped by an angry bear blocking the path. I can’t give the story justice. You should read Kami’s excellent account of the story in her blog. It’s definitely a “must read.”

Exciting finishes:

After running 100-miles, 2nd and 3rd place finishers Kami Semick, of Bend, Oregon, and Nikki Kimball, of Bozeman, Montana, ran onto the track only seconds apart and then sprinted-off to the finish. Semick got to the finish line only five seconds ahead of Kimball.  They finished in 18:17:34 and 18:17:39. You can watch the video here.

Fast and Fifty:

Meghan Arbogast, who finished 7th in a time of 18:50:19, has set a new women’s 50-59 age group record. The prior record of 21:58:37 was set just last year by Diana Fitzpatrick.




3 Comments to “Western States 100 Wrap-Up”

  1. Geoff Butler says:

    Great wrap-up… thanks!

  2. John, Finally getting around to reading more about Western States this year..It took that long to get to read stories about what else went on that day. I think you could do a good series of stories on DNF at big races, from the elite to the average runner.


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