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Simon Sandoval of Makati City, Metro Manila sets a New Course Record for a Local Pinoy Ultra Runner at the 40th Edition of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race (WS100), considered as the oldest and most prestigious ultra marathon mountain trail race in the world. He finished the race in 27 hours 9 minutes 53 seconds with a ranking of 156th out of 277 finishers in the second hottest edition in the history of the race where the temperature registered triple digits as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the mountain canyons of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Ranges & Western States Trails. Sandoval was the lone representative of the country out of the 22 countries and 40 states in the US that were represented in the said race in this year’s edition.
Last year, Jonnifer Lacanlale, a lawyer from the Clark Freeport Authority in Angeles City, was the first representative of the country in the history of this prestigious race when he joined last year with a finish time of 29 hours 50 minutes 33 seconds, landing at 309th place with 316 runners who finished the race. He was later awarded with a Special Recognition Award/Plaque from the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) as the First Local Pinoy Runner to have finished the prestigious trail race.
Simon Sandoval performance had greatly improved from Lacanlale’s performance last year due to the advise and guidance of the latter’s lessons learned during the race. Simon and Jonnifer had been together in finishing the Mt Blanc Ultra Marathon Race (UTMB), a 100-mile trail running race around the famous mountain, in France in 2011, passing through the countries of France, Italy and Switzerland.
Sandoval qualified for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run after his name was picked in the lottery among thousands of qualified applicants. He was among the 417 runners who got into the lottery from qualified applicants throughout the world. A qualified applicant must have finished a 100-mile mountain trail race within the prescribed cut-off time or have finished a 50-mile trail race in less than 11 hours or have registered a finish time in a 100K trail run in less than 15 hours. Sandoval is qualified to run the race as he finished both a 100-mile trail race and registered a finish time of 9 hours in a 50-mile trail race in the United States.
Timothy Olson of Ashland, Oregon won the Championship Award in this year’s event for the second year in a row with a time of 15 hours 17 minutes 27 seconds. He holds the Course Record in 14 hours 46 minutes in the last year’s edition. The ladies champion went to Pam Smith of Salem, Oregon finishing the race as 9th Overall with a time of 18 hours 37 minutes 21 seconds. Olson works in a Special Running Store while Smith is a full-time physician.
Out of the 383 runners who started the race at 5:00 AM of June 29, Saturday, at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games Site in Squaw Valley, California, 277 runners finished the race with 72% Finish Rate. 95 runners finished the race in less than 24 hours and awarded with the WS100 Silver Buckle and the rest of the 185 finishers were awarded with the Bronze Buckle finishing the race within the cut-off time of 30 hours.
Simon Sandoval said, “I really prepared for this race and all my training workouts were specific for the challenges to be expected from this running event. I have to allot ample time for me to familiarize the course as I arrived in the USA few weeks before the race.”
Simon must had been able to acclimatize with the weather and been able to adjust on the altitude and elevation of the course. Runners would climb and descend a total of about 40,000 feet or 12,120 meters through the wilderness of the mountains and into the deep and hot/humid canyons of the historic California Gold Country.
Simon was all smiles when he received his WS 100 Bronze Buckle during the Awarding Ceremony in the presence of his relatives, friends, support crew, and other Pinoy Ultra Runners based in California.
Retired Major General Jovenal D Narcise, President of the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) had extended his congratulations to Simon Sandoval for an exemplary performance in the 40th edition of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. He said, “The outstanding performance of Simon Sandoval shows that our local Pinoy Ultrarunners are at par with the best ultrarunners in the world. We have to strive some more to send our best local runners and be able to represent our country in this prestigious ultra trail event. With the help and support of the running community and the private sector, our efforts shall be geared towards sending our next Pinoy Ultra Runner who would be able get the much-coveted WS100 “Silver Buckle”.
If there is any significant record-breaking fact in the 40th edition of the race aside from Timothy Olson’s winning the race for the second year in a row and the second highest registered “hottest day in the 40-year history” of the race, it is the performance of the former 1997 Western States 100 Champion Mike Morton, 41 years old, as the New Male Master’s Course Record Holder with a time of 15 hours 45 minutes earning him as the 3rd Overall Finisher in the race.
Mike Morton had been stationed in Subic Bay Naval Base when he was with the US Navy during his younger years as a Naval Diver. He is presently a Master Sargent of the US Special Operations Command based in Florida, USA.