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Locals on the Trail

Holden holds out hope for WS

Meadow Vista resident looks to overcome setbacks to endure another 100 miles on the trail
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Steve Holden draws as much inspiration from the supportive Auburn running community as he does from the epic scenery out on the trails in the region. But the real reason he is back running the Western States Endurance Run next week is the great time he had last year in the first 100-mile run of his career. ?Everything about last year was a positive experience,? said Holden, an Auburn lawyer who lives in Meadow Vista. ?It was a great family experience, a great experience with friends. One of the best parts of the race was afterwards, hearing about the adventures of the crew during the day and night. ?I want to have a positive experience again, but the veterans would tell you every year brings new challenges.? Holden has already gone through some major adversity on the trail this year. He suffered a badly twisted ankle back in June that left him unable to run for more than a month and forced him to miss a key 50-mile tune-up run. At the Silver States 50, he lasted 33 miles before he was forced to surrender. Late last month at the Western States? official training run, Holden ran into knee trouble and could not finish. ?The Vegas odds makers would definitely be betting against me,? Holden said of his chances to finish the run from Squaw Valley to Auburn on June 23. Holden has always been the adventurous type. He tapped into his knack for endurance sports while doing dry-land training when he was a skier at the University of Colorado. About 10 years ago Holden made a donation during a PBS fundraising drive and received a copy of the Western States documentary ?Race for the Soul? and a race t-shirt. He put finishing Western States on his bucket list. In 2007, Holden moved his law firm to Auburn and after a visit to Auburn chiropractor Matt Lambert ? a Western States veteran ? he was introduced to the vibrant running community. ?Matt said, ?There is a group that runs every Saturday morning starting at Depot Bay. You should join us,?? Holden explained. ?There was a group of runners there ? Tim Twietmeyer, Matt Keyes, Ryan Rivera ? and they?re all very accomplished, but they were still so welcoming. Local people have such a huge advantage (at Western States). There?s a wealth of (running) knowledge and experience here in Auburn.? Holden credits his family for helping him to an impressive finish in 26 hours, 57 minutes last year. His wife Debbie and daughter Lindsey ? a standout on the Placer tennis team ? headed up his crew on race day. His 18-year-old son Ryan paced him over the final seven miles into Auburn on Sunday morning. This year, Debbie has the honor of pacing him down the home stretch. Holden got into the race through the December lottery. He admitted he would have gladly given his spot to friend and running mentor West Bourgault if it was allowed. Bourgault has come up empty in the lottery five straight years. But Holden is up for the challenge, even if misfortune has kept him from finishing an organized race this year. ?I was hoping to go for 24 hours,? he said. ?But now, if I finish, it will be a success.?