Rory Bosio Post-2012 Western States 100 Interview

Rory Bosio continues to fill out her fullhouse of women’s top 5 finishes at the Western States 100. In 2012, she added a second-place finish to go with her previous fourth and fifth place finishes. This year, she also managed to break the under-30 age group record with her 18:08:06. Find out how she did it in the following interview.

[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]

Rory Bosio Post-2012 Western States Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Bryon Powell here with Rory Bosio at the finish of the Western States 100. How are you, Rory?

Rory Bosio: I’m feeling good! I’m feeling really good.

iRF: You had one heck of a race yesterday.

Bosio: It was a good time. Lots of speedy women out there that I got to run with. So yeah, I’d say it was the highlight of my short racing career by far.

iRF: Coming into the race you’d run a fourth place here, a fifth place here, around 18:30?

Bosio: Last year, it was around 18:30 and the year before it was 19:30-ish, something like that.

iRF: And I know you run these races sort of as an adventure.

Bosio: Yeah.

iRF: In your mind, did you have an idea of how fast you thought you could run?

Bosio: No, not at all, especially since in the past two years they’ve done that altered course, which actually doesn’t suit me very well, because so much of it was flat and on that road. This year, I loved the “original” course. I definitely thought it was more challenging, especially because it was so cold and windy, but I like that. But I had no idea how that would alter the times. I literally, honestly didn’t look at my watch until we got to No Hands Bridge. I was like, “Oh, we’re doing pretty good.”

iRF: Did your smile get even bigger than normal?

Bosio: Yeah, I kind of had a number in my head at that point and I was like, “Okay, I think we can get there.”

iRF: How did your race play out through the day?

Bosio: I started off a lot faster or up with women who I usually don’t run with, but I was feeling good so I thought I’d just go with it. I hit a hard patch from Duncan Canyon to Robinson Flat and was like, “Oh, I’m feeling this crappy, and I have a lot of miles to go.” But it came back, and once I got to Last Chance I felt pretty good the whole way in for the most part.

iRF: So where did you start moving up through the field?

Bosio: I think I was in third place for a while and then Aliza caught me at Devil’s Thumb and we ran to El Dorado together which was super fun.

iRF: Which was almost the same place you guys ran together last year?

Bosio: Yeah, yeah, which was super fun. She’s my favorite. We just “girl talk,” and it’s just like out running with your friend which makes it really fun. We got to El Dorado and we were like, “Well should we hike out or run out? No, let’s hike out to Michigan Bluff because we want to save our legs.” And, of course, we look behind us and Nikki’s charging up the hill and it’s like “Gosh, mannnn, we’re going to have to catch up.” So we just kind of got on Nikki’s tail and kind of dragged ourselves running up the hill, which I had never done the previous two years. We all kind of stayed together for awhile and kind of chased each other down going down to the river. It was really fun. Then Aliza and I hiked out up to Green Gate together. She held the raft for me, which was really nice. Yeah, it was just a fun time out on the trails.

iRF: Did she slow down at some point or did you just have a good patch and say, “This is the time to go?”

Bosio: I know that back section pretty well, and I trained on it. I like how it kind of undulates, and you can kind of stretch out your legs at that point which feels pretty good to get the leg speed going. So I just told my pacer to stick on my butt and crack the whip and he did and so we just kept moving.

iRF: So each year you’ve gotten progressively faster and with this year being on the harder course on a good day, have you learned things in each of your hundreds progressively and you’re just dialing it in each time?

Bosio: Kind of. I guess I would say when to hold back, even if you feel good. I was running with Nikki and her pacer, Stephanie, down to the river and I was actually feeling pretty good. I was like, “I could kind of go for it now,” but I knew I’d probably be paying for it later with all that hammering on the quads on that section. So we kind of just stuck with Nikki. I knew that I wanted to have speed left in my legs for that last 20 miles. The first time I did it that was the hardest section for me because I just got bogged down. It’s easy to just plod along at that point. I really wanted to feel pretty good there, so I kind of held it until there.

iRF: So in your two previous 100s (Western States), in either of them was there ever a time towards the end of the race (besides right near the finish) where you decided to push it rather than hold back? Was it different this year?

Bosio: My pacer, John, and I got splits… we’d kind of known all day that Lizzy was 20 minutes ahead of me and, “Twenty minutes, oh, that’s long to me. I’m not going to catch her.” Then we got splits at ALT and, “Oh, she’s 12 minutes now.” “Oh she’s seven minutes now.” When we heard she was only seven minutes out… that must have been the splits at ALT. “Oh, I think we can do that. So let’s just try and see if we can catch up to her.” Then we put the hammer down.

iRF: You are one of the most positive people out on the course just having fun. How does that help your racing?

Bosio: I think it just makes it… for me it takes the pressure off. I think if you’re not going to have fun, I don’t know why you’d want to run 100 miles unless you’ve got some sadomasochist thing going on, because it could be a real struggle. I totally understand just wanting to do the event. But I think this race in particular, they put on such a good event and all the volunteers and my family comes out for this and my sister — it’s just so fun to feel this much support. It’s kind of just a selfish day where it’s all about you, so I kind of revel in it. And then the people I run with like Aliza and Nikki, I ran with Mike Wardian for awhile, they’re super fun. I feel like the best people I meet in life are at these races, so it’s really fun. I love it.

iRF: I guess I really don’t have to ask the question, but will we see you back here next year?

Bosio: Yeah. I told Tim Tweitmeyer that I’m gunning for his 25 years, so…

iRF: You’ve got a good start.

Bosio: We’ll see. I’d like to get to 10. I love this event, and I’m super stoked for Craig [Thornley] to take over eventually. I think he’ll just make it even better than it already is.

iRF: Congratulations on a great run, Rory.

Bosio: Thanks! Thanks for doing all this stuff.

iRF: I love it.

Bosio: Peace!

iRF: For the bonus, give us a joke.

Bosio: Oh, okay. Let’s see. A candle walks into his therapist’s office and says, “Doc, I’ve got a problem.” The Doc says, “What’s the problem?” “I’m having a meltdown!” That was really good. I can’t tell you any more because they’re not too PC.

iRF: Yeah, the one at the finish line we’ll not have you repeat.

Bosio: Hahahahahaaaa… that’s right.

There are 10 comments

  1. HP

    Another great interview, Bryon.

    Rory was my pick to take the win this year, but Super Ellie showed up and then all bets are off. Great race Rory, it's good to see you keep getting better and better!

  2. Andy

    Bryon, please interview some cynical, overly serious athletes. Between this and the Jorge Maravilla video, I'm tempted to stop living my life as a jaded misanthrope and start looking at the world with rose coloured optimism.

    Seriously though, thanks for this. I've never seen/heard an interview with Rory Bosio… she's awesome!

    1. Jamie Falk

      Agreed. Find somebody grumpy to interview!

      (My general theory is that grumpy, serious people who take running too seriously don't make it very far in trail/ultra running . . .)

    1. AJW

      She told the joke to Craig Thornley at the finish. I heard it but don't remember. It was funny (and, surprisingly, a little off-color:)

  3. Dean G

    I'm trying to imagine what it must be like to run for 100 miles, that fast, and then just chat about it casually the next day like it was neat-o…


  4. Alex from New Haven

    And the comment about getting 10 (or maybe 25!) finishes because she loves the race… music to everybody's ears! And starting with 3 top-5 finishes at age 25…

    I saw her at Way Too Cool this year and she was hurting… at the time I wondered "Is she training through this with an eye on States?" And sure enough…

    And if she loves the mountain races, I'm sure North Face wouldn't mind if she did UTMB some day.

  5. Easa

    Saw you two on the way out, looked like you were having a blast so I felt compelled to watch.

    I would have asked how she feels yoga may contribute to her success, how her prior racing experience influences her ultra racing, and where her confidence comes from when racing against much more experienced women.

    I'd also be curious what exactly drives the western states fascination (proximity to the course?) and if she has her eyes on any other 100's elsewhere.

    I'm also curious how sunset/darkness influences those in the 18 hour range since the home stretch seems so different with daylight.

  6. Paul F.


    Well done on all your work at WS100.

    I had one, naive question, and it comes from a completely unaccomplished runner.

    Rory mentioned during the interview at one point that Aliza "held the raft" for her, presumably at Rucky Chucky.

    I found this odd. My runner and I enjoyed 'the full experience' of the river crossing. Was there a raft alternative at Rucky Chucky? Did one have to make reservations (e.g., at Expedia or Orbitz?) to take the raft in lieu of the frosty genital bath? Did I fail as a pacer in not reading about this option in the Holy Western States Handbook? Did Rory just imagine that Aliza held the raft and proceeded to float across the icy water on some sort of endorphin raft? Do the 'elites' run a slightly different course than the pedestrian 25 hour finishers? If so, is that 'fair'?

    I suppose that there is an answerable question amid this twaddle.

    Thanks in advance for the answer(s).


    Paul F.

    1. AJW

      I got this;

      The WS race organizers have an arrangement with the raft companies on the American River for the dam to be closed earlier than normal on race day to reduce the water flow and hence allow runners to ford the River. The timing of that closure is, to my understanding, based on a historical average of the typical time for the first runner to get to the river. This year, for obvious reasons, many runners reached the river earlier than expected. As such, the water level at the time of their arrival was not low enough to allow for a safe crossing (when Timothy Olson got to the River the water would have been over his head!). So, the first 100 or so runners took boats across. In my opinion, no time advantage was gained as a result of these boat rides, especially since several runners had to just stand on the side of the river and wait for the boat to return.

      1. Paul F.

        Thanks, AJW.

        I suppose the time advantage or lack thereof depends on the timing of the raft, the necessity (or not) of a sneaker/sock change after a completely wet river crossing, the speed and skill of a runner's hand-over-hand-river-fording-training or nocturnal-hand-over-hand-river-fording-training …

        Thanks again for clearing it up … though it is a bit odd to think that some folks get to stay 'high and dry' while others have slosh through ice water (particularly shorter runners)…

        1. AJW

          Paul, I was on hand to see the first 20 runners through the aid station and I can assure you that none of them stayed high and dry. Most took baths on both sides of the river. Dylan Bowman's pacer had to drag him out and remind him of the race:)

          That said, it's something we need to work on…

          1. Paul F.


            I was thinking more of the folks further back in the pack (i.e., those who crossed in the dark).

            Personally, I have no standing in this exchange. I was but a pacer. In fact, my runner would have probably preferred that I stayed the river!



          2. Amy


            Many of us would have welcomed the river crossing by foot. I had been looking forward to it for many miles, as my quads were trashed and I was really wanting a cold water soak for them for a few minutes, but had to take the boat. Sloshing through ice water sounded heavenly, but it wasn't an option. And, as AJW mentioned, we all got wet, whether we took the boat or not. We had to wade out several feet before getting in the boat, so there were no dry shoes on any of us (plus, feet had kind of been wet all day bc of the rain and other river crossings/muck).


  7. Rob Digga

    I met Rory a few years ago while running the Dick Collins FireTrails 50 (2009 i think)- it was my and her first ultra. We ran like 4 or 5 miles together and she pretty much told jokes the whole way. Having fun and staying loose is definitely her thing.

    Rory is as legit as she displays in this great interview.

    Yes, she chicked me by like 3 or 4 minutes. Both of us running a respectable sub 8 hour race. I think she won that year. I knew she would become an elite runner from that day.

Post Your Thoughts