Roes conquers 100-miler in Utah (Running)

September 19, 2009

Alaskan Geoff Roes is one of the most accomplished ultra-marathoners in the country, but even he walked away from this week’s Wasatch 100 shaking his head.

And he won the race.

The annual contest up and down the Wasatch Mountains in Utah lived up to its claim as “a premier run that will test the endurance of any runner,” hammering participants with an elevation gain of 26,882 feet followed by a descent of 26,131 feet.

Roes, a 33-year-old from Juneau, crossed the finish line in 18 hours, 30 minutes, 55 seconds.

“I have never run a race in which I was so close to physical and mental collapse for so much of the time,” Roes said on his blog Fumbling Toward Endurance. “It was stressful in every sense of the word.”

Roes beat runner-up Karl Meltzer of Sandy, Utah by close to 42 minutes, although it was closer than the time indicated.

“I don’t ever again want to spend 85 miles being chased by Karl. He was shockingly relentless in his pursuit,” Roes said. “I felt like I couldn’t do anything to shake him and if I had it to do again I think I would have hung back with him and the others a lot longer than I did. I guess it worked out OK, though.”

The Wasatch 100 had 245 racers sign up, but only 156 finished.

How did Roes celebrate his impressive victory? He went on a two-day backpacking trip in Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

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