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Mackey motors on the trail

Veteran from Colorado comes from behind to win American River 50
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Dave Mackey isn’t sure if the Western States Endurance Run will be on his schedule this summer. After the veteran runner outlasted a host of talented, younger competitors at Saturday’s American River 50-miler, the 41-year-old Mackey sure looked ready to contend at the country’s most prestigious 100-miler. “My wife is the decider,” Mackey said. He trailed AR 50 newcomer Jason Loutitt, from Vancouver, B.C., by close to 20 minutes at one point. After running a marathon on flat, paved surfaces, Mackey found his groove on the trails leading from Folsom to Auburn. “I wanted to have a good, even pace. I didn’t want to go out with the leaders,” Mackey said of Loutitt, who ran the first 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 40 minutes. “I fueled a lot and I think that helped me in the last half of the race.” Mackey crossed the finish line at the Auburn Overlook in 5 hours, 55 minutes. Loutitt settled for second place in 5:59 while Nick Clark and Ian Sharman both finished within a minute of Loutitt. A longtime Boulder, Colo. resident, Mackey is now studying to become a physician’s assistant at Touro University in Vallejo. He is plenty familiar with Western States. Mackey was the Geoff Roes’ pacer last June when Roes shattered the course record for the 100-mile race from Squaw Valley to Auburn. Ellie Greenwood didn’t need a comeback on Saturday. She was out in front for the final 30 miles or so, setting a pace that no other woman in the field could match. Greenwood, who lives in Banff, Alberta, clocked in at 6:25 to top second-place finisher Kami Semick by nine minutes. “My goal was just to have a solid race,” said Greenwood, 32, who was running her first ultramarathon in California. “You always hope to win, but I mostly wanted to get some good miles in and enjoy some new trails.” Greenwood, who is originally from Scotland, plans to race at Western States in June. The deep snow that covers many miles early on along the Western States Trail should suit her just fine. “It’s an adventure,” Greenwood said of training in the Canadian winters. “At this time of year though, we’re ready for the snow to melt.” Loutitt, who recently joined The North Face ultrarunning team, said he is hoping to be able to fit Western States into his tight running schedule this summer. He enjoyed the atmosphere at Saturday’s race, which included more than 800 runners. “This race was really well organized, the volunteers were great, and so were the other runners,” said Loutitt, who met his wife Taeko on the “Blue Planet Run” in 2007. “There’s just something about ultrarunners – they have compassion for each other.” Folsom’s Erik Skaden was the top finisher from the foothills, taking ninth place overall in 6:36. Del Oro High graduate Eric Johnson (7:07) placed finished 22nd while Auburn’s Tim Twietmeyer (7:56) was 57th and second in the age 50-59 division. Twietmeyer, who is best known for completing Western States in less than 24 hours in 25 straight years, has completed AR 50 24 times. Auburn city council woman Bridget Powers finished in 11:47.