Friday, July 2, 2010

WS100

The 2010 edition of the Western States 100m Endurance Run, held on June 26th & 27th, was a race to behold and one that will linger in the minds of ultramarathoners for a long time. I wasn't at the race, but the stellar coverage provided by the race website, as well as Bryon Powell's commentary & tweets at IRunFar, allowed those of us that lurk around in the ether to follow race details practically in real time. Virtually everyone familiar w/ the sport knew this race was going to be a showdown between Geoff Roes, Anton Krupicka, Killian Journet, and Hal Koerner, albeit I doubt no one would have guessed that the course record would have been smashed by both the first and second place finishers, Killian-the-superhuman-Spaniard would have pushed the pace to a previously unthinkable pace, and, perhaps most importantly, the race would have riveted runners from around the globe. I just read Geoff Roes' race report and, well, one word captures my reaction: wow. His candor, determination, matter-of-factness, and grace are all exceptional. And his respect for the two other runners he battled all day is especially inspiring (per his race report): "...to all the racers who lined up and ran this race, specifically Kilian and Tony. It was an honor to race these guys (and everyone else in the race) and I can't wait to have a chance to do so again." Roes', however, is not the only graceful sportsman. Anton Krupicka, the ultrarunning graduate student in Colorado who runs, by and large, more miles per week than virtually every other top-tier ultramarathoner, also put in a (previous-) record breaking performance at Western States even though he crossed the finish line ~6 minutes after Geoff. Per his blog, "I'll just say that it was the most fun I've had probably in any race ever". My running history and accomplishments -- if you can even consider them "accomplishments" relative to Roes & Krupicka -- are but a fraction of theirs, nevertheless, following the trajectory of their running careers and watching them run races with calmness, determination, confidence, strategy, and, ultimately, uninhibited enjoyment is both humbling and inspiring. Even though those two, as well as Killian, captured the majority of the media coverage and attention, I tip my hat to all the 2010 Western States runners. (Photo is of Geoff Roes, in the lead, followed by Anton Krupicka early on in the race. Photo taken by Carl Costas of The Sacramento Bee)

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