Rarely will any runner finish a race at 3:38 in the morning, but for Brian Talon that was perfect timing.
The 1992 Old Town High School graduate finished 93rd of 316 finishers last weekend in the Western States Endurance Run, a 100.2-mile sojourn through mountains, canyons and all kinds of terrain in between from Squaw Valley to Auburn, Calif.
The trail, which traversed remote and rugged territory typically accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters, included 22,000 feet of descent and 18,000 feet of ascent.
“My quads are shot,” said the 39-year-old Talon, who lives in Southington, Conn., and works as an internal auditor and fraud investigator for Northeast Utilities Services Co. “Thirty miles into the race I was in trouble, because living in Connecticut there aren’t the hills to train on, and on sections of this course you run downhill for well over an hour.
Still, Talon, whose previous longest race was 50 miles, easily bested his prerace goal of finishing the race in 24 hours with his time of 22 hours, 38 minutes and 14 seconds.
“I was pretty much on my pace the whole time,” said Talon. “It was pretty amazing though, being out there for nearly 24 hours with more or less maximum effort all the time.”
Talon and the other competitors ran amid unusually cool conditions for the area at this time of year, with temperatures averaging about 20 degrees lower than normal.
But there were other weather-related challenges, such as rain, 30- to 40-mph winds atop some of the mountains, and one episode of hail early in the race, which began at 5 a.m. Saturday local time.
“It cleared up after about 40 miles and the sun came out for the rest of the run, at least during the day,” said Talon. “For me it was perfect conditions, and I ran into a guy who had run this race 17 times before and he said it was the best conditions in the 39-year history of the race.”
Talon raced during the evening hours with a head lamp mounted on his forehead, which provided limited visibility on an otherwise dark trail.
“There were times when the dust would blow up and you’d look down for your next step thinking you’re hitting the ground and you’d still have five inches to go before you’d land,” he said.
Talon used the 100-mile run to raise funds for Can Do MS, a charity that focuses on innovative lifestyle empowerment programs for people with multiple sclerosis, an affliction his wife, Jennifer — herself a veteran distance runner — was diagnosed with two years ago.
Talon said he raised nearly $11,000 for that cause, considerably more than his initial goal of $2,000.
Timothy Olson, 28, of Ashland, Ore., and Elle Greenwood, 33, of North Vancouver, British Columbia, were the men’s and women’s champions of the race, both in record-setting times.
Olson finished in 14 hours, 46 minutes and 44 seconds, more than 20 minutes faster than the previous men’s mark of 15:07:04 set by Geoff Rees in 2010.
Greenwood shattered an 18-year-old women’s course record by more than 50 minutes with a time of 16:47:19. The old mark was 17:37:51 set by Ann Trason in 1994.
Beckums win Maine Games 5K
The husband-and-wife combination of Thomas and Marie Beckum of Caribou were the top finishers Saturday at the third Maine Games 5K State Championship race held on the Neil W. Lash Nature Trail course at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro.
Running on the newly configured three-loop, 2.995-mile course, Thomas Beckum took overall top honors with a time of 17:22 to best second-place Jian Giglia of Damariscotta by 37 seconds, while Mary Beckum was the top women’s finisher and ninth overall in 20:46. Nikki Leeman of Round Pond was second among women finishers in 22:25.
A top-three age-group finish qualified participants for the 2013 State Games of America next Summer at Hershey and Harrisburg, Pa., where as many as 10,000 athletes are expected to compete in 35 different events. The national amateur sports festival is presented by the National Congress of State Games and hosted by the Keystone State Games and the Hershey-Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau.
37th Tour du Lac set for Saturday
The field for Saturday morning’s 37th annual Tour du Lac in Bucksport will include Maine Running Hall of Fame member Charlie Clapper of Bucksport.
Clapper, 84, plans to walk the 10-mile race, which is directed by his son-in-law Chris Jones, husband of Margaret Clapper.
The race begins at 7:30 a.m. with registration beginning at 6:30 a.m. at the Bucksport town pool. The entry fee is $13.