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Know your runner

Dennis Curley Auburn Bib No. 173
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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This is the latest in a series of profiles on Auburn-area residents participating in the Western States Endurance Run on June 27. It’s been more than a decade since Dennis Curley made his debut at the Western States Endurance Run. And he made quite an entrance. Curley chugged his way around the Placer High track and crossed the finish line with plenty of time to spare — 3 minutes, 30 seconds to be exact. He was the final finisher in the 1998 race, which featured heavy snow and ice for much of the first half of the journey. The runners were allotted an extra two hours to finish, meaning Curley’s time of 31:56:30 is the longest official finishing time in the history of the race. Curley is back this year for another shot at Western States glory. The Auburn resident takes a simple approach to the grueling 100-mile race. “I just try to be patient and enjoy the day,” Curley said. “I’m not fast by any means. I just want to get to the track before 11 a.m. (on Sunday).” While building up base mileage is essential, Curley is not obsessive about his training. He does spinning classes and runs two or three times per week, but is careful to avoid injury and not burn himself out. He said David Schurr, Roberta McGraw and Melissa Johnson are his closest training buddies along with his wife Christina, who paced him to his first finish. This year his sons Tyler and Connor — who have both worked at the Auburn Running Company for Dan Moores — will pace him. Curley credits Truckee runner Stan Wingate for helping get him started in ultrarunning, which he was intrigued by from the first time he heard of the 100-mile race from Squaw Valley to Auburn. “We moved here 17 years ago and we lived near the high school, so we went down and watched it,” Curley said. “Someone there told us all about it and I immediately thought I would like to do it one day.” A wholesale electric salesman in Sacramento, Curley fought off nagging injuries this spring, but Jeff and Laura Snow at American River Rehabilitation have kept him tuned up and ready to go for the June 27 start. As long as he holds up physically, he said he’ll stay motivated to keep moving toward Auburn. “I think anyone can finish this race. I’m a testament to, ‘If you just keep moving, you can finish,’” Curley said. “It just takes determination.”