No Record Safe at Western StatesAt many ultras lately—too often, according to some people—the field of competitors will be heralded as the fastest, or deepest, ever. ...
Photo by Bryon Powell of irunfar.com
At many ultras lately it seems as though the field of competitors is heralded as the fastest and the deepest, ever. And the 2012 Western States Endurance Run that runs from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California, was no exception. Records were shattered with the onset of cool weather and a talent-loaded field Saturday.
Timothy Olson, 28, of Ashland, Oregon, became the first runner to ever break 15 hours on the current course from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California (Jim King ran a 14:54:00 at Western States in 1984 before the course was changed), clocking a 14:46:44 to smash Geoff Roes’ course record of 15:07:04, set in 2010. South Africa’s Ryan Sandes also dipped under Roes’ record in his Western States debut, finishing second in 15:03:56.
“I did not think of the record until the Highway 49 aid station (at mile 93.5),” says Olson. “My pacer, Hal [Koerner], told me I could break it, and I said, ‘Oh, cool,’ then just focused on putting one foot in front of the other.”
Olson says he ran conservatively despite feeling good in the early stages, and that it paid off later. “Ryan was really cranking out fast miles on the Cal streets and I did all I could to hold on,” he says. “Before the river I was feeling good, so I gave my all up to Green Gate (mile 80). After I had a little bit of a lead I had the mental intention of not letting up and giving everything I had for the rest of the race.”