Thursday, June 25, 2009

Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run

Big things are always happening. Let's see...there was an election earlier this year, there's great concern over Global Warming, and the economy is heading for the toilet. But here in our little world at Rogue Valley Runners we have become fixated as of late on one particular race. The buzz around the shop revolves around a 100-mile trail race that is about to unfold in Northern California's high country. This year the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run has, perhaps, the most competitive field ever assembled. The top men and women ultra runners from around the country, nay, the world are gathering near Lake Tahoe in order to head out over the snow covered mountains and into the 105 degree heated canyons to determine who the best 100 miler is of 2009.

We're invested in the event literally and figuratively. We're a running shoe store (who just so happens to love the sport of ultrarunning). Events like these not only get our juices flowing but everyone else's in the surrounding community. This results in a fire storm of interest and activity in the store and the sport we love so well. The race's defending champion is our very own Hal Koerner, the owner of Rogue Valley Runners. When he does well, so do we.

Five Rogue Valley locals are headed out to contest Western this year.

Tom Pelsor, who lives in Yreka, CA, but spends most of his time in southern Oregon, is headed to Western for the fourth time. Tom is the former race director for the Siskiyou Outback 50K and also runs communications for the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon.

Central Point's Neil Olsen is headed to Western for the first time. He carries with him a great ultra resume. He's the winner of the 2008 USA Track and Field 100K Trail Championships (held in central Oregon at the Where's Waldo 100K) and he has dazzled many at other local Oregon ultras. Olsen has yet to finish a 100 mile race and looks forward to the challenge that lies ahead.

Ashland's Rob Cain, president of the Ashland Woodlands and Trails Association and current RD for the Siskiyou Outback 50K, has finished three 100 milers (one of those being Western). As noted previously on this blog, he's battled his fair share of ailments (giardia and a hernia operation) so that he too can line up with the best in Squaw Valley.

The lone lady from the Valley headed to Western is Jenn Shelton. She's never run Western, but has impressed in her past four 100 mile finishes including the fastest American woman's trail 100 time: 14 hours and 57 minutes at the 2007 Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile held in Texas.

And then there's the aforementioned Hal Koerner. The owner of your favorite running specialty store, Rogue Valley Runners, is prepared to defend his title as champion at this year's race. He's done his homework and ready to take the course by storm.

To learn more about these five runners click on this link. Daniel Newberry wrote this piece for today's Mailtribune.

There is another aspect to this race that makes it exciting, even if you aren't there. There is an excellent web tracking feature. During the race you can log on here and find out how runners are doing.

So look for these runners and their bib numbers:
Tom Pelsor: 353
Rob Cain: 157
Neil Olsen: 70
Jenn Shelton: 17
Hal Koerner: M1

To find out more about the course, the runners and the organization that makes it all happen check out the Participant Guide for the race.

And in conclusion we hope to see this man doing this same jig on his last lap around that track at Placer High School just before he crosses Western's finish line!

Good luck ya'll!!!


Rennaker said...

It's gonna be a race of epic proportions. Is Max going to start or what?

Koerner, you better come correct Saturday!

Shelton, you better run up Devils Thumb and put the hammer down the rest of the way

Rob, no water from streams

Neil, I hope that you got some heat training and wore your sweatsuit on long runs

Tom, Good luck and it would be cool if you got under 24 hours!

Good luck everybody, pacers and crew included. Go big or go home!

C.J. Hitz said...

Wishing you all well this weekend! Hal, you are still the holder of the WS title belt (err...buckle). Don't let anyone come into your backyard and take what's yours! Persevere through the pain and you'll be sipping from that glorious cup of victory nectar.

It's Go Time,


Darcy said...

Hey all, we'll hold down the fort this weekend at the store and be thinking of you. Kick butt, take names, make us proud! Shelton, bring it home for the ladies!!

William Swint said...

Good luck everyone!

John L. said...

I wish I could be there to slap Hal on the butt when he wins again, but Todd has promised to do it for me. All joking aside, go get em' boys and girl.

C.J. Hitz said...

Congrats on the WIN Hal!! You're still the MAN. To all the other RVRs, great effort out there. You're all an inspiration.


HappyTrails said...

Congratulations Hal - you rocked it! We were pulling for our Colorado man - DM - but the best man won. You ran an amazing race!

Gus said...

I've got to add to the congratulations dept. By far, you, and the other speedy finishers, and all the other finishers put down the most hardcore athletic output this month in the U.S, maybe this year. To hammer like that, running for that time and distance, is almost beyond comprehension - and to be doing it in those elements! Hal, as they say in the cycling world, you are a genetic freak!! It amazes me that these efforts get such weak play in the "bigger" media. -Gus in Salinas

robert.blair said...

Yes, no mention of your win in the LA papers or on the main LA radio or TV stations. I guess since prize money is not involved they do not care.

But that doesn't matter. Congratulations on an excellent win.

jhalekas said...

I was going to wait for an official results post to send congratulations, but I can't wait. Hal, you are absolutely the man. Defending your title against that field, in those conditions, is bringing it!


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