Saturday Jun 26 2010
Inspiration aplenty at WS 100
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
I’ve been watching an inordinate amount of sports for most of my life. There are very few sports I will tune out on TV. A good ping-pong match can hold my interest for an hour. I’ve seen many inspiring moments, both in person and via broadcast, but probably the most inspiring moments I’ve witnessed will be re-enacted this morning at Le Febvre Stadium. Hundreds of runners will take the final steps of a 100-mile journey and cross the finish line of the Western States Endurance Run today at Placer High School. Many will be in tears, some will shout for joy and others will simply drop to the ground with exhaustion. It’s the type of emotion that can’t be staged and it’s what makes sports special. The physical triumph of navigating from Squaw Valley is astonishing. The mental strain of running through the night and seeing the sun come up a second time is something only a 100-mile survivor can truly appreciate. Each runner crosses the finish line with a great story. Many have made remarkable journeys to just get to the starting line. And after Western States, they’ll have many more tales to tell — just give them a few hours to lie down, stretch out and perhaps gorge themselves with food. The runners emerge from the rugged Western States Trail humbled. They also inspire friends, family and perfect strangers. Most of us will never run close to 100 miles and many of us question the sanity of those who volunteer to do so. But there’s no arguing Western States is a remarkable test of will and determination. Gordon Ainsleigh, who first made the trek on foot 37 years ago, has often told me, “All you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of another.” Go see for yourself. Runners will be shuffling around the track until 11 a.m. today. The awards ceremony is also a sight to behold as the sore, weary runners pick up their coveted belt buckles for their official finishes. The awards ceremony begins at 12:30 p.m. at Placer High.