Rogue Valley Runner Neil Olsen wins Waldo!
Last year he took a wrong turn. This year he didn't. Bound and determined to rectify last year's misfortune, Neil Olsen ran like the wind and captured both the overall and masters titles at the 2008 USA Track and Field 100 Kilometer National Trail Championships.
Runners line up for a dark start.
Set in the idyllic central Cascade mountains of central Oregon, the Where's Waldo 100 Kilometer Ultramarathon hosted the USATF Championships. More than 110 runners toed the line at the start/finish area at Willamette Pass. 83 would finish on a day that brought very warm, mid-80 degree temperatures. Over the course of those miles runners would gain a total of 11,000 feet.
The view from the start/finish line.
In dramatic fashion, with roughly two miles to go, Central Point's Neil Olsen passed then race leader Nate McDowell (from Los Alamos, NM). Olsen finished in a course record time of 10 hours, 6 minutes and 54 seconds; roughly four minutes ahead of McDowell. He was a man full of emotion at the finish line; he won a difficult, but well deserved National Championship. Congratulations Neil!
Bend's Prudence L'Heureux won the women's title in a time of 11:12:36, 11th overall.
Runners were racing for not only the title of "National Champion" but for a pot of prize money that stood at $3,000.
A week after her Crater Lake Marathon win, Jenn Shelton travelled to Waldo to pace and not race. She helped her good friend Tonya Olson (Bend, OR) to the finish line by keeping her company over the last 31 miles of the race.
Ashland's Rob Cain not only finished 33rd in 13:35:46, but he also took home the coveted "Show Us Your Waldo Award" for his perfect Waldo impersonation.
Rogue Valley Runner Ian Torrence finished 8th overall in a time of 10:51:30.
Full race results can be found here.
Special thanks to Richard Bolt, Oregon's USATF Mountain, Ultra and Trail Coordinator, for providing the photography.