Last minute drama with forest fires in and around the Waldo course in Central Oregon caused some confusion for runners. However, Craig Thornley and his team worked closely with the Forest Service to make slight alterations to the course and keep the five big climbs in the race. Diversions did add three miles to the distance, making this year’s event 65.6 miles – similar to the original course from several years ago, before it was reduced to 100k.
The air wasn’t particularly smoky then rain from three hours into the race also aided the air quality, but it didn’t slow down the front runners. A lead pack of Jacob Rydman and Ian Sharman went through the first aid station together, followed by Timmy Olson. The lead women were just behind with Joelle Vaught and Alison Bryant running together. Rydman and Olson ran 2,000’ up Fuji strongly, but by 20.5 miles at Mt Ray, Rydman had a two-minute lead. Sharman dropped at this point from fatigue due to racing the previous three weekends, but Jesse Haynes and Yassine Diboun took on an epic battle for third.
The men’s race continued as a battle between Rydman and Olson for first and Haynes and Diboun for third. Given Olson already has a spot at Western States, that third place was also a Western States automatic entry. Rydman stretched his lead to as much as nine minutes, but Olson closed the gap up the final, 3,000’ climb to Maiden Peak and passed him on the long descent to win by four minutes. Haynes and Diboun swapped places throughout the day, but Haynes gapped Diboun on the final descent to clinch his place at Western States.
In the women’s race, none of the competitors had automatic Western States spots for 2013 so it was all about the top two places. Alison Bryant faded and was overtaken by last year’s second place finisher, Denise Bourassa, by the 44.7 mile aid station. Bourassa briefly caught Vaught, but Vaught held on for the win by 18 minutes in the end.
Despite the fires and rain, the views from the peaks along the course were as magnificent as ever. Craig Thornley proved that he’s a very safe pair of hands to take over as the Western States race director, after doing everything he could to allow the race to happen despite the fires. Safety of the competitors and volunteers was the priority, but he also kept the course mainly intact and put on an excellent show.
2012 Waldo 100k Official Men’s Results
- Timmy Olson (Pearl Izumi) – 9:52:19
- Jacob Rydman – 9:56:42
- Jesse Haynes – 10:31:28
- Yassine Diboun – 10:35:46 (race report)
- Gerad Dean – 11:04:11
2012 Waldo 100k Official Women’s Results
- Joelle Vaught (Montrail) – 11:04:26
- Denise Bourassa (Patagonia) – 11:22:34
- Alison Bryant (La Sportiva) – 11:47:04
- Jennifer Benna – 12:01:34
- Kathleen Egan – 12:29:36