June 25, 2017

Congrats to Ryan Sandes - Winner 2017 Western States 100

By mile 62, there was nearly an hour between the leader and the second place runner. The race appeared to be in the bag. The young phenom in the lead was on pace to shatter the course record. But there was one small thing that stood between him and the finish line. The distance.

Yes, the distance. That thing that tends to rear its head on 100 mile races. That thing that holds on to the most promising, the most prodigious and the most unsuspecting of runners, and doesn't let go. That thing that is often disrespected, and rears its ugly head when so regarded. As it was on this day.

I followed most of Western States 100 this year via ultralive.net. What a race!

South African runner Ryan Sandes, a veteran ultra runner and formerly runner up at Western States, overtook Jim Walmsly with about 40k remaining. Gaining a spark in the process, he surged as he moved into first place. The celebration didn’t last long though, because he was now the hunted. Understanding the need to maintain momentum and hold off his rivals closing in on him, he worked with his pacer to get through the later and some of the most difficult sections of the course. 

Congrats also to Dan Barger, a Grand Slam contender this year, for capturing the 50 - 59 age group win at Western and besting my WS Grand Slam time by 39 minutes. Is he on his way to setting new 50-59 grand slam record? There is 300 miles to go. Is anyone paying attention to this? I am.   

See the Sandes finish line interview here.

No comments: