Sacramento Running News

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Way Too Cool: Hills? What hills?

March 10, 2013 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Masters Runners, Ultrarunning

Meghan A

Meghan Arbogast on her way to the win. (Photo by Sean Dulany/Freeplay Magazine)

While Jed Smith is the opening day of the NorCal ultra-running season, the Way Too Cool 50K is undoubtedly the opening day of the ultra trailrunning season. It is the first major trail-ultra in the region and the day folks get to test their fitness and see the trails after hiding out in the cold winter months.

Old friends get an excuse to hang out and visit, and rivals get to check out the competition.

There is a soft spot in my heart for this race, as it was the first ultra I ever ran–way back in 2000. It’s grown a lot over the years, and is a lot harder to get into, but still feels like a local event. The organization is tight and the volunteers are beyond outstanding.

There was a buzz about this year’s race, as it was larger than ever (more than 900 entries) and the quality of the field was outstanding.

This course is a hilly romp through the woods and fields near Cool, California, and the confluence of the North and middle forks of the American river. However, Saturday’s times would have you thinking it was a flat 50K.

Taking advantage of the perfect running conditions–dryish trails and pleasant temps–Max King, 33, of Bend, Oregon, crushed the course record set by Uli Steidl back in 2003 by nearly 10-minutes, running a blistering 3:08:51.

Jennifer Pfeifer works her way up through the field. (Photo by Sean Dulany/Freeplay Magazine)

Jennifer Pfeifer works her way up through the field. (Photo by Sean Dulany/Freeplay Magazine)

Chris Vargo, 31, formerly of Sacramento but now living in Colorado Springs, also turned in a very fast time–fast enough to have won every other Way Too Cool but the 2003 edition–earned second with a 3:18:44.

Following Vargo in third was 2009 winner Leor Pantilat, 28, of San Carlos, with a time of 3:21:51.

On the women’s side, Meghan Arbogast, 50, of Corvallis, Oregon, caught and passed Rory Bosio, 28, of Soda Springs, in the last mile to take the win in 4:06:46. Bosio, finished a close second in 4:07:38.

Jennifer Pfeifer, 41, of El Dorado, finished third in 4:14:10.

John Trent, of Reno, captured the thoughts of many when he remarked, “At the rate Meghan is running, she will continue to break 5 hours at Cool until she is 107 years old.”

The top two masters women were obviously Meghan Arbogast and Jennifer Pfeifer. Rounding out the top three was Tera Dube, 40, of San Luis Obisbo, with a time of 4:25:03.

For the masters men, top honors go to last year’s race winner Gary Gellin, 44, of Menlo Park, for his top masters (and 6th overall) time of 3:36:51. Rod Bien, 40, of Bend, Oregon, was second masters man (and 7th overall) with a 3:37:20. Jean Pommier, 49, of Cuppertino, was the third masters man, and ninth overall, finishing 3:50:26.

After the race, most of the finishers hung around, caught up on trail gossip and cheered in the later arrivals. All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday in March.

Complete results are here.

Chad Worthen learns to love the ultras. (Photo by Sean Dulany/Freeplay Magazine)

Chad Worthen learns to love the ultras. (Photo by Sean Dulany/Freeplay Magazine)

1 Comments to “Way Too Cool: Hills? What hills?”

  1. Chad Worthen says:

    Don’t lie John I still don’t like ultras. No more on my list, crossed them all (2) off.


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