Sunday, March 09, 2008
Way Too Cool 50 Kilometer Trail Race
So, yeah, the name of the race is Way Too Cool. But if you were to ask any of the 442 runners who finished this year's event they'd each tell you something different. For example, the race was: Way Too Warm, Way Too Competitive, Way Too Long, Way Too Hilly. One thing is for sure, however, some of the locals may have felt there were Way Too Many Oregonians.
This fact proven by the headline, "Oregonians Dominate in Cool", in Sunday's sports section of the local Auburn Journal.
The Largest 50 Kilometer Race in the country gets underway.
The Oregon Trifecta, Oregon runners from Bend, Eugene and Ashland, swept down upon Cool, CA, a small town in the foothills along the American River east of Sacramento and literally ran away with the race. Oregon came away with ten of the top 25 spots on a day made for racing. Temperatures in the mid-60's, clear skies and a dry, mud-less tread awaited the runners. Due to the weather and the fact that top finishers at this race would become automatic qualifiers to the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, many fast runners came from all over the country to partake. The competitive nature of this year's race is reflected in the final results. When, on an average year, eight to ten runners break four hours on this course, this weekend 28 runners would break the four hour barrier, more than any other year in this race's history.
The Top Men's Four Finishers (l to r) Scott Jurek, Dan Olmstead, Erik Skaggs, Todd Braje
Let's start from the top. Susannah Beck (Eugene, OR) not only won the women's race, she shredded a fifteen year standing women's course record. Beck bested Ann Trason's (of Western States 100 Mile fame) 1993 course record by four minutes by crossing the finish line in 3:55:22, 25th overall. In the men's race, Todd Braje (Eugene, OR) crossed the tape first in 3:32:12. He was quickly followed by Erik Skaggs (Ashland, OR) in 3:34:17 and Dan Olmstead (Eugene, OR) in 3:35:05.
Last year's winner Lewis Taylor (Eugene, OR) finished sixth in 3:39:24, two minutes faster than his 2007 time. Matt Lonergan (Eugene, OR), Jeff Browning (Bend, OR), Ian Torrence (Ashland, OR), Hal Koerner (Ashland, OR) and Susannah Beck rounded out the top 25.
Other local Rogue Valley Runners frequenters showed their strength this day as well. Eric Poole averaged an eight minute pace over the course to finish 35th in 4:07:55. 54 years young, Rob Cain finished in 4:40:57. Carly Varner finished in 5:14:24, a personal record for her at this distance. A special congratulations goes to, local race director, Krista Peterson who showed strong dedication by finishing her first ultramarathon here in 6:53:58.
Ashlanders at the Finish (l to r) Erik Skaggs, Eric Poole, Ian Torrence, Hal Koerner
Erik Skaggs brings it home.
Bend's Jeff Browning leads Ashland's Ian Torrence in the final straightaway.
Rogue Valley Runners' Owner, Hal Koerner finishes the 31 mile race.
Eric Poole strides up the final rise.
Carly Varner celebrates her new personal record.
Full Results can be found at the Way Too Cool website. Photos courtesy of Tim Turk and Maria Clementi.