Oregon Ultra Domination

Have you noticed how many fast ultrarunners live in Oregon these days?  How many good races there are in Oregon these days?  Now, I realize our California friends to the south may still be a little sensitive after losing the bid to host the 2008 US Olympic Track and Field Trials and then not even being considered for the 2012 Trails … so I won’t even mention track and field.  I’ll just stick with the longer stuff.

There seem to be three regions that have an unusual number of fast ultrarunners who are racking up all kinds of ultra victories.  Here are some of the players who have won a race or ten recently.

Willamette Valley

  • Meghan Arbogast (’07 Where’s Waldo overall champ, 6th at ’08 World 100K, qualified for ’08 Olympic Trials Marathon)
  • Susannah Beck (course record at ’08 Way Too Cool, 1st at ’08 White River 50, 2nd ’08 North Face 50)
  • Todd Braje (’08 Way Too Cool champ, winner of several others – has since moved to California)
  • Matt Lonergan (winner ’08 Sunmart 50)
  • Dan Olmstead (winner of several Oregon ultras, 3rd at ’08 Way Too Cool)
  • Jeff Riley (winner ’08 Javelina 100)
  • Lewis Taylor (’07 victory at Way Too Cool and ’06 Where’s Waldo)

Southern Oregon

  • Hal Koerner (defending WS and AC champ, countless other victories)
  • Max King (course record at first ultra SOB 50K, Olympic Trials Steeplechaser)
  • Neil Olsen (’08 Where’s Waldo champ, several other Oregon ultras)
  • Jenn Shelton (’08 AR 50, ’07 Rocky Raccoon)
  • Erik Skaggs (’07 winner & ’08 course record holder Quad Dipsea)
  • Ian Torrence (has won a race or 20 in his career)

Central Oregon

  • Rod Bien (winner of several Oregon ultras)
  • Darla Brader (’08 winner Kettle Moraine 100)
  • Jeff Browning (1st Bighorn 100 several times, ’07 Where’s Waldo champ)
  • Prudence L’Heuruex (1st ’08 Where’s Waldo and ’08 Angeles Crest)
  • Sean Meissner (runs everything, wins sometimes)
  • Krissy Moehl (’07 course record at Hardrock, many other victories)
  • Kami Semick (2nd at ’08 USATF World 100K, 1st at ’08 North Face)

There were two covers of UR magazine in 2008 that featured Oregon runners: Susannah in May and Hal in November.  The runners listed above are just the runners who have won races recently.  There are many more runners in each of these communities.

As for Oregon races, in 2009 there are two USATF trail championship races:

There is the increasingly popular Oregon Trail Series, which includes 7 races and prizes for overall and age group winners.  And, new in 2009, Oregon’s first 100 mile trail run.

I don’t know exactly why it’s happening, but for a small state of only 3.7 million, Oregon is ultra dominating.

No Comments

  1. Just wondering, how many of those persons mentioned grew up in Oregon? Seems like a lot of talented folks move to Oregon once they know they want to devote alot of time to trail running. And it’s easy to see why, the mountain trails there are simply awesome. Enjoying your new blog from back East, keep up the funny posts, but make sure to be nice to AJW and the others.

  2. @Trail Fool

    Trail Fool, yes, a lot of these folks are moving here, but maybe we can define native, for our purposes, as living in Oregon when they ran their first ultra. All the Willamette Valley runners listed fit that definition of native. For Southern Oregon maybe Max and Neil. For Central Oregon, I’d guess Rod, Darla, Jeff, Sean, and Kami are natives. I’m sure others can correct me if I’m wrong.

    As for the humor posts, we’ve got several more in the pipeline. But I have to be nice … to AJW?

  3. Actually, I lived in WY for my first 5 ultras, but the other 90+ have been while I’ve lived in OR…which I say is close enough for your definition.

    Regarding Max – he grew up in Southern OR, but has lived in Bend for quite a few years now, so we’re claiming him here. Ashland has enough fast boys.

    Never, ever, ever quit making fun of AJW.

  4. Craig you ignorant slut. You seem to forget the Californians that founded the sport of Ultra Marathoning for us. Tim Twiet, Ann Trason, John Medinger, Gregg Soderlund and Tom Lyons are all folks that pioneered the sport for ungrateful s like you. Before you start your “Joe Johnny Oregon is Dominate” thing please respect those that blazed the trails for us…we are beneficiaries of their decades of hard work. IS THERE EVEN A LIGIT 100 MILER OR 100K in OREGON? I cannot think on one. IS there even a 50K in your STATE? I am sure once again COOL will had 175 OREGONIANS in that no one will step up in your fine state and do something. Are there even trails up there or is the “mud” too much for you all?

  5. @Califfornia Kid – Wow, this is quite a reaction. Typical of what we’d expect from a jealous Californian (hey, dude, there’s only one ‘f’ in your state). Where do I begin…

    First, now I love Tom Lyons, but you’re comparing Tom to Twiet and Ann? What is his finishing rate at WS? Sure, he’s got one M10 finish that California should be proud of, but I’ve also seen him stagger into Dusty Corners completely wrecked and then drop. Doesn’t he have more DNFs than finishes?

    Second, Twiet? Sure, he’s got 25 sub-24 hour WS finishes, 15 consecutive top-5 finishes, and 5 victories. But c’mon, he dominated when nobody ran the race. Hell, I beat him two years in a row to keep him out of the top ten and I’m a nobody. When’s the last time a Californian won WS? Oh yeah, the Morrison year when Cooper really finished second.

    Third, Soderlund and Medinger? Huh? Did they ever even break 28 hours at WS? Geeze… They’re managers not runners.

    Fourth, Ann? OK, I have nothing but respect for her. She dominated.

    Finally, I’ll look for a spell checker plugin to help you compose your comments.

  6. Man, as usual, I am feeling the love from Oregon. And for all of you who are asking Craig to stop making fun of me, thanks. But you need to know, Craig is actually incapable of compassion. It seems to get worse the further and further behind me he finishes WS!


  7. Craig. Please excuse the spelling…i am volunteering for the year in remote area of the world, working off a home made computer and home made internet connection. My key board is crude. In terms of your response it speaks to “your win at all cost/greed” tendencies. Selfish folks like you are the reason why America is in this economic yard sale. Craig…winning is not the only measure of success in life. With time and maturity and more results like you had in your last 100 miler in Nov you will learn this. Additionally the list of folks I made do more for the ultra community in a day than you do in a year. So keep ruining America Craig with with your greed and “I am a Weak Pathetic Groupie with the FAST OREGON RUNNERS” attitude. Try giving something back occasionally…it feels good. Sorry i have to head off to my 100% volunteer job where i am helping people in this remote and devastated area. Good luck growing up.

  8. Let me second Cal Kid’s comments. Craig spends all this time talking about being a “giver” but it’s all basically a front. What difference has the guy ever made in another person’s life? Sure, he’s a race director but isn’t that all about feeding his ego? Oh yeah, and trail work. Like having some sort of chain saw certification makes you more of a man. As for me, it’s back to my students and making a real difference in the world.


  9. @Cal Kid – Apparently I need to find a reading comprehension plugin for you, too. This post was not about the great race directors or the pioneers of our sport. It was about the amazing number of fast ultrarunners living in Oregon right now. Oh, and I like how you shortened your name to Cal Kid because C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A is too difficult to spell.

    @AJW – Just curious. Are you getting paid to help those students? We all know you’re gonna leave them as soon as that next higher paying job offer comes along. How many different schools have you worked at now?

  10. Craig,
    I feel totally snubbed left of the Oregon elite list, gesh, I mean come on..former course record holder of the Cow Pie jog??!!! Sure I’ve moved to Iowa — and yes, dropped out of Waldo twice, then there was that one year you and Billiruban walked behind me as I ran at the SOFA Fat Ass and don’t forget my blazing 151st at Miwok one year, but I continue to dominate the Iowa ultra scene out here!

  11. @Cougarbait – I will never forget the day we met on the Rogue River Trail at the SOFA all those years ago. You, wearing a knife on your arm to fight the cougars. Me, calling you a wimp when you tried to turn around early. Bili, walking behind you in the last miles on the downhills – mocking you as you “ran.” If you still lived in Oregon … you still wouldn’t have made the list. Regardless, I think the readers of the blog (my mom and brother) will enjoy your upcoming guest post.

Leave a Comment