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Best, Strangest Running Stories of 2012

December 28, 2012 By: John Blue Category: General Running News

father timeAs 2012 comes to a close, the days are short and cold and I find myself casually reminiscing over the stories of this year.

Many great things happened: two Americans won a rainy CIM, there were terrific runs at the London Olympics, ARC cross country won their second State Championship, Tim Olson and Ellie Greenwood both set new, jaw-dropping course records at the Western States Endurance Run, and Davis alum Kim Conley won our hearts with a gutsy run at the Olympic trials.

While I am inspired by the great stories, I am intrigued by the strange ones. Here are my two favorites.

Kip Litton, Marathon Man?

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Records Fall at Western States 100

June 25, 2012 By: John Blue Category: Trails, Ultrarunning

Aaron Mulder and Quintin Barney work their way up to the Devil's Thumb aid station. (SRN photo)

With a race as long and challenging as the Western States Endurance Run, it is hard to strip it down to the essential kernel of a story that everyone should know.

Every single runner, finisher and non-finisher alike, has a compelling story to tell–about the race itself or the long journey that brought them to the starting line at Squaw Valley.

An astonishing field was assembled, the weather was perfect for running fast times, and records were destroyed.

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Western States 100: News Round Up #1

June 21, 2012 By: John Blue Category: Trails, Ultrarunning

The Countdown: (L-R) Luis Alvarez, R.D. Greg Soderlund, Assistant R.D. Craig Thornley, and Mike Saling are getting ready for the big day. (From the WS Facebook page)

Of all the many races in the region, there is only one of international importance: The Western States Endurance Run.

Even though there are bigger races, and faster courses, the Western States 100 has history and prestige by the bucket-full.

The race gets more media coverage than any other in the region.

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American River 50: Fast and Dry

April 09, 2012 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Trails, Ultrarunning

Ellie Greenwood is all smiles after 40 miles. (SRN photo)

This past Saturday, under ideal conditions, some of the best runners in the world gathered in Sacramento for one of North America’s largest ultras.

This was the first time in several years that the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run was not part of the Montrail Cup. As a result, the depth of talent at the front of the race was not quite as robust as we’ve come to expect and yet there were still some extraordinary times.

Although the race was won by New Zelander Vajin Armstrong in a respectable time of 5:53:32, the star of the show was the Scottish/Canadian Ellie Greenwood.

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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.

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Cue the Western States 100 Coverage

June 23, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Trails, Ultrarunning

The starting line clock counting down to Saturday morning. (Photo courtesy Tony Lafferty)

Hundreds of runners, as well as countless support crews and volunteers, are already congregating in Squaw Valley for this weekend’s 38th running of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.

Weather forecasters are predicting cool temperatures and the race is being run on a modified “snow year” course, which replaces some technical (i.e., rocky and slow) parts of the trail with some fast fire roads–including some pavement.

Add to this the stellar field being assembled and you can expect blazing fast times and an exciting race.

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This Week in Racing: AR 50 and Zoo Zoom

April 13, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Road Races, Ultrarunning

Ellie Greenwood and Kami Semick battle it out at the AR 50. Photo courtesy of Jean Pommier. http://fartherfaster.blogspot.com/

The weather was perfect and there were some races this past weekend!

Just under 700 runners toed the line at the American River 50, this Saturday. There was mud and vomiting. There was triumph and tragedy. You know–the usual ultrarunning scene.

Dave Mackey, of Boulder, was the overall winner in 5:55. Ellie Greenwood, of Banff, Alberta, Canada, AKA the 2010 World 100 km champion, was the women’s winner in 6:25.

Kami Semick, of Bend, Oregon, was the second woman, and Jen Pfiefer, of Folsom, was the 3rd woman. Pfeifer is rumored to be mulling over the entry to the Western States 100 she was awarded.

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