Thursday, June 30, 2011

Some Final Thoughts on WS100 2011

Having had a few days now to let it all sink in here are a few more thoughts:

While all the incredibly fast times are a sign of the changes taking place in the sport I also believe this year's course and conditions were very, very fast. I would guess that for me, if we had run the original course, I would have been 30 minutes slower. And, if you were to add to that normal race day heat, perhaps slower still. I, for one, am really hoping we can return to the standard course next year (and 110 degree tempratures, as well;).

Of all the amazing performances, these stand out:

Mike Wolfe - super-strong debut WS. Sure, he's proven himself in shorter distances and in other 100's but this is the Big Dance and he brought his A-Game. Ellie Greenwood did, too.

Nick Clark - Even on a sub-par day he made the podium and went under 16 hours. He has established himself as one of the toughest runners around. Now, we'll see what he can do in the San Juans. Hopefully, he won't waste so much energy choosing his shoes.

Tim Olson - I'll be honest, I kept waiting for him to come back to me. And, he didn't. Not even close! He's another "young gun" we should all keep an eye on in the years ahead.

Kami Semick and Nikki Kimball - Seeing these two friends and grizzled ultra veterans sprint around the track for 2nd place really warmed my heart. Especially after finding out that they had to outsmart a bear to get there.

Graham Cooper - I know many people did not have the 2006 winner on their pre-race top-10 lists but I did. Graham called me in March and told me he had quit his job to train full-time. The last time he had done that was in 2006. Please, would someone out there give Graham a job for next year:)

Ian Sharman - I used to think I was a good closer but Ian is a master. He was six minutes behind me at Brown's and finished just 49 seconds off. And, that after he lost 15 minutes in Volcano. If this guy is anywhere close with 10 miles to go, watch out.

Dan Olmstead - This former marathoner was swayed over to the Dark Side by Thornley a few years ago and ended up being carted off in an ambulance from Highway 49 with rhabdo back in 2009. This year, he returned to take care of unfinished business. And, he did.

Bryon Powell - What a great race for him. Maybe more of us need to turn our passion into our purpose.

Meghan Arbogast - Maybe the race of the day from my perspective. She knocked three hours off the women's 50-and-over course record and missed the men's record for that age-group by a mere 6 minutes. That's a record that has been held for 22 years and has been challenged by a who's who of ultra greats.

Finally, I would like to sincerely thank all of the readers of this blog who have written in here, on Facebook and on other blogs to congratulate me on my race. Since 2005 I have lived with the idea that my best WS was behind me. Now, I am not so sure. Thanks everyone!


PS -- It appears as though there will be a changing of the guard in the Race Director position at WS100 as Greg Soderland has announced that next year will be his last year. If the race organizers are looking to replace Greg with someone who has a tireless work ethic, a deep understanding of the history and culture of the WS100, and a passion for running than they need look no further than Craig Thornley.


bmhansen said...

Great job on the race. It was very engaging and addictive to watch all the updates throughout the day.

I'm just getting into ultra running and am hoping to be able to race WS one day.

PatrickGarcia said...

Great points all around. I got to run a few steps with CT at Way Too Cool this year, and I'd be great to see him in the RD hat.

Devon said...

Rock on AJW. It was awesome to see you come through the later aid stations. You are a machine. Your consistency is very inspiring. I agree with your shout outs, there were some seriously great moments by amazing competitors!

olga said...

I figured Craig hinted on the opportunity, and completely agree on his work etics. Let us know, if we can help, if it is voting system, or joined letter, or something...

Bryon Powell said...

I'd be happy to co-sign a letter recommending LB.

Kangsan said...


Congratulations on your great race. Not sure how you do it year after year and no longer in your 20s or 30s like the others are.

I'd have to add that another performance that was as impressive as any, to me, was Scott Mills' 22:11. Incredible.

I wonder how many of the top 10 will run that after 30 years of ultras and hitting the big 60. I think not many.

Hands down for Craig Thornley as new RD for the WS100. Not only a gifted runner, but has great passion for the history and tradition of the race, and is a very giving soul.