Sunday, July 18, 2010

Western States 2010: more detailed coverage every year

Because of some difficulties getting online while touring France with the family for vacation, here are some belated post-race thoughts...

I remember my first 100 miler (Western States 2007) as really a huge thing. An adventure which haunted me months and weeks before the race. And an event which nourished many conversations with family members, friends and colleagues after wards for the next 6 months or so. This year was my 4th 100-miler and 3rd Western States and, apart from the two days spent in Squaw with the family, one brief mention of the run during a working lunch the following Tuesday, and a couple of emails noting that I have been slower than usual (yikes!), the race seemed to be nothing more important than a half-marathon or one of the many 50Ks I'm now running every year.

I had so much to do at work right after the race that I rushed to update my blog and post my race report by Sunday night. After my first 100-miler, I was able to have a few long nights and did not run for an entire week to accelerate recovery. This year, not only did I have a few nights under 5 hours of sleep with late and early conference calls, but I went back to the track to meet with Bob on Thursday. 6 miles, then 13 on Friday, 20 hilly ones on Saturday and 11 on Sunday before getting on the plane for Paris, that made a 50-mile running week. A nice way to "ramp back."

Anyway, I would not say that Western States was a non-event for me as it is so exciting to be part of this legendary event, but the real action and buzz was evidently elsewhere: at the front of the race and the numerous individual feats and heroic acts such as the two amputees running Western States for the first time, one completing the run in 27 hours which is amazing given the snow, the rocks, the slippery creeks, the steep up and down hills. Or Gordy who reached Robbie Point (mile 99) after 30 hours of running to get pulled out of the race (cut-off). Sounds so unfair to me, but he is actually the one I believe set the 30-hour cut-off rule, or at least this goal of finishing under 24 hours, something he did numerous time himself.

Across the blogosphere, online newspapers and magazines, newsgroups, mailing lists or Facebook, the coverage of Western States is reaching new heights this year. Like long-time ultra runner Mike Palmer put it: "We didn't have this when I started doing ultras."

Here are a few links highlighting facets of this amazing event.
  1. Glenn Tachiyama's wonderful pictures (here at the exit of Duncan Canyon, see also the two pictures below)
  2. An amazing journalistic coverage of the event by Bryon Powell on his website, with interviews, podcasts, links to race reports of the top runners, feeds, etc.
  3. 25 Breath taking pictures from Carl Costas of the Sacramento Bee newspaper
  4. A tiny selection of 8 pictures from famous ultra photographer Luis Escobar, for Runner's World
  5. An article on Amy Palmiero-Winters who became the first amputee to finish the Western States race (in an incredible time of 27 hours and 43 minutes). Wow...! By the way, she did make it to the 2010 "Best Female with Disability" ESPN award!!!

As for me, I found out the week after the race that I made it to number 6 of the Montrail Cup. Not as good as when I made number 2 in 2008 (mostly because it wasn't as popular at the time), but not bad given the amazing competition this year (I was not even in the top 10 before entering Western States). Of course, the main challenge of this cup is not only to do well in ultra competitive ultra events, but, equally important and as challenging, you need to pass the various lotteries of these coveted events (e.g. Miwok, Way Too Cool and of course, Western States). The entire and final 2010 standings can be found on Gary Wang's website. Victor Ballesteros won the Cup last year but was 5th this year and Eric Skaden won in 2008 and was 4th this year. Congratulations to the 2010 champions, Glen Redpath and Meghan Arbogast, two Masters actually, respectively 44 and 49!

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