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Elite athletes impress in Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run

Rob Krar raises his arms in celebration as he nears the finish line of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in Auburn on Saturday. Krar won the historic ultramarathon for the second straight year and was about two minutes off the course record.
Courtesy Michael Kirby / www.kirbyphoto.net |

42nd Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run results

Top 10 overall

1. Rob Krar, Flagstaff, Ariz., 14:48:59

2. Seth Swanson, Missoula, Mont., 15:17:28

3. Jared Hazen, Colorado Springs, Colo., 15:37:55

4. Gediminas Grinius, Lithuania, 15:40:55

5. Thomas Lorblanchet, France, 15:56:32

6. Julien Chorier, France, 16:34:43

7. Ian Sharman, Walnut Creek, Calif., 16:44:27

8. David Laney, Ashland, Ore., 17:01:37

9. Andrew Tuckey, Australia, 17:19:17

10. Paul Terranova, Austin, Texas, 17:43:17

Top 10 women

1. Magdalena Boulet, Oakland, Calif., 19:05:21

2. Kaci Lickteig, Omaha, Neb., 19:20:31

3. Stephanie Howe, Bend, Ore., 19:32:58

4. Aliza Lapierre, Williston, Vt., 19:43:22

5. Emma Roca, Spain, 20:12:00

6. Nicole Studer, Dallas, Texas, 20:19:56

7. Sally Mcrae, Huntington Beach, Calif., 20:27:33

8. Caroline Boller, Temecula, Calif., 21:44:11

9. Erika Lindland, Fairfax, Calif., 21:47:25

10. Nikki Kimball, Bozeman, Mont., 22:01:55

With every 100-mile course crushed, the ultrarunning world becomes better acquainted with Rob Krar and his beard.

Krar, a 38-year-old, long-bearded Canadian native from Flagstaff, Ariz., defended his 2014 title while flirting with the event record in the 42nd Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run last Saturday.

Krar covered the 100.2-mile course between Squaw Valley and Auburn in 14 hours, 48 minutes, 59 seconds. The time was about two minutes off Timothy Olsen’s record of 14:46:44, set on an unseasonably cool day in 2012.



“Rob came close. I think he was hoping for the course record, but it was a little hotter than folks would have liked,” said Western States President John Trent, adding that Auburn reached a high of 92 degrees on Saturday with above-average humidity.

Krar won last year’s Western States Endurance Run — one of the oldest and most competitive 100-mile races in the world — with a time of 14:53:22. He placed second in 2013 and is also a three-time TransRockies champion while owning the fastest known time for both the single and double crossing of the Grand Canyon.



“Over the 100-mile distance, in my opinion, he’s probably the most complete runner in the world right now,” Trent said. “He comes into these races with a mental mindset that is completely focused. His tactics and the way he approaches a race are very impressive.”

In all, 254 of the roughly 375 starters reached the finish line within the 30-hour cutoff.

The finishers included South Lake Tahoe runners Ryan Weibel and Alan Barichievich.

In his first 100, Weibel posted an impressive time of 20:13:17 to finish 30th overall. Accustomed to running ultras, the 42-year-old had raced in 24-hour mountain bike races before but never ran for that length of time.

“A hundred miles is a really long way to run — it was tough, but I enjoyed it,” Weibel said. “I was surprised at my placing and I was very happy with my time — not super surprised, but I was surprised at my placing.”

Weibel was paced primarily by his wife Amber Monforte, who had competed in the event twice before. He said Monforte helped him with training leading up to Western States and to keep a steady pace during the run.

“That was one of the things that was really key and helped me succeed — having somebody to tell me this is how you should start on the race,” Weibel said. “I’m stoked that I was able to finish — I was really excited to have my wife and friends pace me.”

Barichievich finished in 28:13:57 despite battling stomach troubles for the last half of the run. The 48-year-old has competed in 11 100-mile events, and last Saturday marked his sixth time running at Western States.

“It’s a special event — it was my first 100, so it was always special for me,” Barichievich said. “When I got to Squaw Valley on Friday is when I actually got excited.”

Barichievich characterized 100-mile events as unpredictable, and the challenges he faced on Saturday were indicative of that. He added that the heat didn’t help matters in the latter stages of the race.

“You hit peaks and valleys in these things, and when you hit those down times you have to tell yourself to keep the calories, get up and keep moving,” Barichievich said. “You pretty much have to go into a mental place and keep telling yourself to keep moving forward.”

On the course, Barichievich was paced by his wife Caroline. He said he appreciated her support throughout the 100-mile trek.

“It’s everything — you have someone who knows you intimately,” Barichievich said. “I couldn’t keep anything in my stomach, and when I was starting to come around she was shoving Saltine crackers in my mouth when we were running at night. It’s cool when you have a spouse that gets it.”

In the women’s field, former U.S. Olympic marathon runner Magdalena Boulet, 41, of Oakland, Calif., raced to victory despite going off course early in the race. Trent said Boulet and then-leader Joelle Vaught took a wrong turn somewhere in the high country and ran for about a mile before turning back.

The last runner to make the cutoff was 70-year-old Gunhild Swanson of Spokane Valley, Wash., who crossed the line with six seconds to spare. The feat earned her the title as the oldest-ever Western States 100 finisher — according to media reports, Krar joined Swanson during the final mile, running along her side in flip-flops.

“There were tears in your eyes watching her cross the line — the whole crowd ran out and cheered her on, and it was really a cool thing to be a part of,” Weibel said. Leaning on other people is a big part of success and that’s awesome about ultrarunning — it’s a community willing to help and it’s a pretty amazing group of people.”

The 42nd edition of the run featured perhaps the most competitive field in event history, Trent said, with all 10 of the top women from 2014 returning alongside nine of the top 10 men. The run begins at the base of Squaw Valley and climbs more than 18,000 feet and descends nearly 23,000 along the historic Western States Trail before finishing on the Placer High track in Auburn.

Find complete results at http://www.wser.org.

Note: Tribune Sports Editor Anthony Gentile contributed to this report.


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