Never mind that Rory Bosio became the fourth-fastest woman ever to run the 100 miles from Squaw Valley to Auburn in Saturday's record-breaking Western States Endurance Run.
She had fun. And that was more important, said the 27-year-old Truckee ultrarunner.
“It was a really fun day out there. I'm very happy (with the result), but I was more happy about the overall event and the race. I just had a really fun time,” said Bosio, explaining how she enjoyed running alongside fellow competitor and friend Aliza Lapierre, “chit chatting like girlfriends on the trail.”
Despite entering with the simple goal of “finishing and having a good time,” Bosio placed second among women and 21st overall in the historic 100-mile foot race, recording a time of 18 hours, 8 minutes and 6 seconds on the unseasonably cool day.
That would have been the third-fastest women's time in event history had it not been for defending champ Ellie Greenwood, who, along with men's winner Timothy Olson, smashed the previous record en route to her women's victory in a time of 16:47:19.
“Rory ran a great race. Every year she finds a way to get a little bit faster, and she did again,” said Western States President John Trent, who earned a 1,000-mile buckle after posting a time of 23:46 in his 10th Western States run.
The day belonged to Olson and Greenwood, however.
Olson, a 28-year-old from Ashland, Ore., took advantage of the cool conditions to win the race in a record time of 14 hours, 46 minutes and 44 seconds — easily eclipsing the previous record of 15:07 set by Geoff Roes in 2010. Runner-up Ryan Sandes of South Africa also broke the old record in a time of 15:03:56. The run returned to its original course after using rerouted portions of the Western States trail the previous two years due to snow.
“Amazing,” Trent said of the men's performances, adding that no one has posted a sub 15-hour time in the modern era of the race — after it was certified at 100.2 miles in 1986. “It seems like every year I'm talking about how epic and amazing the race was. I'm running out of superlatives.”
Greenwood's run was equally impressive to Olson's, if not more, Trent said. The Scotland native and Banff, Alberta, resident smoked the previous record of 17:37:51, set in 1994 by 14-time champion Ann Trason, by nearly an hour.
“Ellie's race on the women's side, I honestly thought Ann Trason's record, even if the conditions were perfect, was unassailable,” Trent said. “I just didn't think anybody would ever touch that. And Ellie not only touched it, she blew it to bits. Just a phenomenal run by her.
“Both those records now (men's and women's), before I was saying these records are pretty untouchable, but these ones have to be. I don't see how anybody could run any faster than what Tim and Ellie ran on Saturday. Just incredible.”
They had Mother Nature on their side.
Unlike most years, when sizzling temperatures in the lower-elevation canyons provide a sweltering challenge, the 2012 race will go down as one of the coolest in event history. The high temperature in Auburn on Saturday was 72 degrees. Only 1991, with a high of 68 at the Auburn finish line, was colder, Trent said.
But that was Auburn. Athletes faced fog and rain, and even some snow and hail, in the backcountry during the first portion of the run. Temperatures were in the 40s at the 5 a.m. start at the base of Squaw Valley.
“Especially in the morning, I think it surprised us a little bit. It was colder than we thought,” Trent said. “But I think the frontrunners enjoyed it. For them, the weather turned out to be about perfect for the second half of the race.”
Bosio thought so.
“I really liked the weather just because I'm used to it,” she said. “That's the way it often is in Tahoe. You never know what to expect. So I kind of liked the crappy weather in the beginning. It kind of had this mystical, magical quality to it.
“But it did get pretty cold, and very wet. I didn't probably warm up until mile 30, and I had to borrow my dad's mittens at one point. But that made the second half of the race really nice. The sun came out and it was totally reasonable weather.”
The weather also contributed to the record number of finishers. Of the 382 athletes who started, 316 reached the finish line at the Placer High track within the 30-hour cutoff. The 66 drops is the fewest ever, Trent said.
Nick Clark (15:44:09) was third overall for the second straight year. He was followed by Dave Mackey (15:53:36) and Ian Sharman (15:54:38) rounding out the top five, then Zeke Tiernan (15:57), Dylan Bowman (16:03), Jorge Maravilla (16:05), Joe Uhan (16:13) and Neal Gorman (16:18).
On the women's side, Lapierre (18:18) took third and was trailed by Kristin Moehl (18:29) and Nikki Kimball (18:31), then Lizzy Hawker (18:32), Tina Lewis (19:09), Amy Sproston (19:11), Ashley Nordell (19:26) and Meghan Arbogast (19:45).