While Tim and I limp our way to Squamish this weekend seeking age group trinkets at the Stormy 50-miler, the race up front is shaping up to be a good one.
As of Sunday, the Stormy 50-mile field was looking competitive. It looked to me like a solid three-way battle for top spot between Tom Craik, Hozumi Nakai, and Dario Herrera.
I met Tom Craik as we leap-frogged each other at the 2007 Knee Knacker and spies tell me the Salomon Flight Crew member is in top form and looking forward to racing in his EXO II manpris. Hozumi Nakai is a smart racer with a great sense of pace, having passed me in the second half of the last two Chuckanut 50ks (though in fairness, everyone passed me in the second half of Chuckanut in 2009.) My spies have seen him prancing around the trails of Pacific Spirit Park recently looking like a guy on a mission. I’ve run with Dario Herrera for a couple of years and I can say he’s looking as strong as I’ve ever seen him and really seems to be figuring out these longer distances. Then again, my spies have no idea where Dario is right now but assume he doesn’t need a ride to Squamish since he isn’t replying to my emails.
As I said, the field was looking competitive enough on Sunday, but the final entrants list was posted today and things got a little more interesting with the addition of Darin Bentley and Ryne Melcher.
Darin Bentley is fresh off a second-place run at the Fat Dog 120-miler. Okay, maybe ‘fresh’ is the wrong choice of words after his 32-hour Manning Park odyssey, but Darin is a horse capable of winning ultras he publicly calls training runs and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Among the five throroughbreds, the smart money has to be on Ryne Melcher. Ryne would be a legend if he wasn’t still a kid. At just 31 years old, he’s run nearly 150 ultras and eats fifty-milers for breakfast. Ryne DNFed at Western States last month and is certainly hungry for redemption. He’s also rarely satisfied with just a win so look for the new Mt. Si 50-mile recordholder to take a run at Sammy Lofti-Pour‘s 2009 course record of 7:11:59. Ryne’s also a great storyteller, so I’m hoping he hangs around long enough to entertain us before bolting off.
Speaking of course records, with all due respect to the new West Coast Trail speed recordholder, I can’t see how Jason Loutitt doesn’t crush Gary Robbins‘s two-year-old record of 17:39:03 in the 100-miler. It should be noted that nipping at Loutitt’s heels will be CFA boss Ean Jackson and his delightful and charming exchange student from the Show Me state, Jason Eads.