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Western States 100 winner expected to arrive at Placer High around 8 to 8:30 p.m.

By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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Western States runners are finding a way to beat the heat.

Race director Craig Thornley predicts the winner of the 40th Western States 100-Mile Endurance will arrive at Placer High School in Auburn around 8 to 8:30 p.m.

“It’s going great,” Thornley told the Journal by phone from Bath Road near Foresthill High School around 2:30 p.m., 60.6 miles into the race. “It’s warm but the men are still running fast.”

Four hours later, the field was still going strong.

Timothy Olson, last year’s winner and course record holder, is currently leading the pack once again. Olson reached Bath Road around 2:16 p.m., running similar but slightly slower fractions to last year’s race. He was followed in by Hal Koerner, Dylan Bowman, Rob Krar and Mike Morton.

As of 6:45 p.m. Olson was still leading the field.

"He's not slowing down," Thornley said, adding that Krar and Morton were gaining ground and are in second and three place, respectively.

By the time the leaders reached Auburn Lake Trails, Olson's lead on Krar was trimmed to nine minutes.

Thus far, 24 runners have dropped out of the ultramarathon, which started at Squaw Valley at 5 a.m. Saturday.

“That’s surprising low for the amount of heat,” Thornley said. “We’ve had fewer at Robinson Flat drop this year than last year. It’s surprisingly bizarre.

"... I was expecting more people to drop out early. Twenty-four is much fewer than we would expect on a day this hot. It’s perplexing so far." 

Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@matthewkimel