WS 2009 Highlights

Before I get to writing my full race report, I thought I’d share some of the highlights from Western States last weekend.

  1. Pre-race anxiety/excitement in Squaw Valley is high with the competitive field and the increasing temperature forecasts for race day.
  2. Toenail color is Melon of Troy.
  3. I lead the race after the first 50 or so runners make a wrong turn just after the start.  It takes an Oregonian to correct the mistake?
  4. I run most of the first 70 miles near Krissy Moehl.  Is there a nicer, classier person in the sport of ultrarunning?
  5. Most Improved Aid Station was easily Ford’s Bar (Cal 3). I had told my pacer (Nathan Blair) to expect dried pieces of pizza, some grumpy old men, and no ice. Instead, there was music, lights, friendly people, and ICE.
  6. lc catches me on the Quarry Rd with 8 miles to go and says, “Hey old man, wanna race to Auburn?” He then proceeds to push hard to the finish to break 20 hours and hold braggin’ rights as the first Eugene finisher.  Nice work, lc.
  7. AJizzleWizzle does have what it takes to be M10 as he runs 33 minutes from No Hands to hold off Victor Ballesteros and his crazy 4 hour split from the river to the finish.  Mark Lantz (M9), AJW (M10), Victor (M11) all finish within 79 seconds in the quest for the 10th man.  Victor’s split from the river is faster than Hal’s.
  8. MonkeyBoy, completely clapped out at Foresthill, gets rebuilt with the help of Ticer, and rallies to a strong 21:18 for his first 100 mile finish.
  9. At the awards ceremony we wear faux soul patches to honor the repeat victory of the humble shoe store owner from Ashland.  “Like yeah, man, it was hot out there.”  What a stud.
  10. It was HOT!
Yeah, lc beat me

Yeah, lc beat me


  1. LB,

    Sweet list of highlights and great job out there. Congratulations on great run. You are right about Krissy, one of the great people in our sport. Of course, she can get kind of stern as well, like when she told the ambulane driver she was not going to the hospital. And, that must have been fun to duke it out with lc over those last 8 miles, great stuff. recover well.


  2. Craig,
    Congrats on a good run on a tough day. All of you Oregonians showed well, and showed everyone involved with the race how to run with strength, courage, compassion and respect for your fellow competitors and a good sense of humor. All of you folks, along with your wonderful crews, represent the spirit of the run in ways we all truly appreciate.
    All the best,

  3. @AJW – Yeah, I heard Krissy declined the ambulance ride. As for lc, well, as Steve Smucker said years ago, he smoked me like a King Salmon. But I did enjoy hearing from him that he thought I was coming, even though I was 18 minutes back at the end.

    @John Trent – I am very proud of the Oregon contingent. As you know, we love WS up in Oregon.

  4. LB, way to wrap it up this year despite some training set backs and questionable “cultural experiences” in the sauna. Same with MonkeyBoy, coming back from injury this winter and continuous barfing the last 30 miles. You are men of steel!
    In honor of your run, I have no smart ass comments. That would be inappropriate today.

    Nice meeting you and MB. Congradulations, Grae.

  5. LB,
    Impressive list of highlights, but I have to say that number 6 is my favorite. I am continually impressed by your support of fellow competitors, true to the spirit of Jeff Johnson’s speech you quoted in your previous blog entry. It seems to me that you got everything out of the race you wanted, despite missing a top a 10 finish, and you did it with class, decorum, and a positive attitude. Good work out there!


  6. Craig
    Hat’s off and congratulations to each and everyone of you who were out there on the WS trails Sat.. It truly amazes me every year, not only the distance of 100 miles, but of the heat, and the pain and misery that you individually have, and how you cheer each other and support all the runners coming across the finish line, as well as those who do not complete the race. I have a lump in my throat as I write this as I am delighted to be a supporter of a group of fine people.
    mom from cool

  7. Craig,
    Great job to you and all the runners. It looks like the West Coast had a higher finishing percentage than the race as a whole. And both Oregon and Washington had a greater than 70% finish rate.

    State Total Starters % That Finished
    California 187 64.17%
    Idaho 2 50.00%
    Oregon 24 70.83%
    Washington 15 73.33%

    It was my first time at Western States and it is an amazing race with amazing athletes. Great Job.


  8. Craig, I sure do aspire to look as fresh and to be running as fast as yourself and lc were enroute to HWY 49. When I get the chance to run at WS that will be my goal. Great job!

  9. I’d add that a highlight for me was seeing Royce Zumalt get the Little Cougar award on Friday. I remember back in the early 2000s, Royce told Bev and I- “you should put in for Western states” and that it would change our lives. It’s good to see him get recognized for all the work he’s done behind the scenes at WS and the other big NorCal races.

  10. On the hike up to Green Gate my pacer, Christian Beck, asked me if I wanted to run the hill. “No.” “Would Thornley run this hill?” he asked me. And so we started running, proving Craig’s point (once again) that our fellow competitors allow us to achieve the unimaginable. Thanks, LB, for being a constant source of inspiration, knowledge and positive energy. You single out Krissy, but you’re clearly in the same category. Nice running with you, old man!

    p.s. Congrats to all the finishers! I’m still poring over results, reading between the numbers and marveling at the fast splits, shocking turnarounds and other amazing feats I see.

  11. Congrats again, Craig, on your fine race. And thanks for highlight #2 – I’d meant to ask when I saw ’em at the awards ceremony. I know we matched with lime green at Javelina one year, and we would have been close this time, too, if I hadn’t switched from Tangerini Bikini to Atomic Orange at the last minute.

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