Conquering 100 miles in stride
Of the 360 or so ultrarunners who started Saturday’s 100-mile Western States Endurance Run, 317 finished within the final cutoff time of 30 hours. Truckee resident Kathy D’Onofrio was one of them” barely.
“I finished, and that was my goal,” said D’Onofrio, who won the race in 1986 and ’88, and crossed the finish line last weekend with about 55 minutes to spare. “Finishing means I did good. I’m perfectly happy.”
Completing the trail, which starts at the base of Squaw Valley and snakes through the high Sierra before releasing its often staggering participants into Placer High School in Auburn, proves year after year to be a taxing physical endeavor.
Now 40, D’Onofrio’s body lets her know how it feels about running 100 miles.
“My body likes to run for 50 miles,” she said. “After 50 miles it would like to go to bed.”
When asked what part of her body was particularly sore, D’Onofrio began with her back, then hips, then conceded, “everything.”
“I’m really crippled, but I did this to myself,” D’Onofrio said.
First-time Western States entrant Chris Luberecki of Tahoe City placed 54th in the race. His time, which he easily rattles off from the top of his head, was 22 hours and 15 minutes.
“I’m completely satisfied with the results,” Luberecki said. “I had some nausea and stomach issues that slowed me down towards the end, but I’m completely happy. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”
Robert Kronkhyte, also of Tahoe City, completed the 100-mile run “in the middle of the pack,” just as he expected, but shaved an hour and 10 minutes off the time he posted last year.
“I faired well,” said Kronkhyte, who prior to last week had completed the race three out of six times. “I kept an excellent pace. I’m very satisfied.”
The one factor that altered the race from previous years ” and was no surprise to anyone ” was the snow in the high country. As expected, most found the slick white surface to be hard to deal with. But the locals didn’t mind so much.
“The snow was pretty interesting,” Kronkhyte said. “People were scared on it. But that’s the terrain I train on, so I just motored right past them, which was different. I’m not used to that.”
Luberecki exploited the “10- to-12-mile” snowy portion of the trail, as well.
“I was having a blast on it,” Luberecki said. “Everybody else I talked to hated it. People were falling. I think the snow negatively effected a lot of people. But I came out of the snow in like 25th place or something.”
D’Onofrio, who seemingly held an advantage at only 95 pounds, described the high-elevation snow as “very icy” and thus time-consuming.
“It was treacherous,” D’Onofrio said of the snow still pasted to the steep mountainsides. “It looked like everybody fell. You had to be ginger on it, but quick and nimble. I have a few bruises and scratches (from falling). You had to treat it like hot coals ” halfway that and halfway crawling.”
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