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Way Too Cool: King sets new course record

51-year-old finishes first in women's 50K endurance run
By: Todd Mordhorst / Special to the Journal
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COOL – Max King showed why he is a running marvel and Meghan Arbogast proved age is but a number Saturday at the Way Too Cool 50K Endurance Run.

King set a new course record, maintaining a blistering pace over the 31-mile trail run and finishing in 3 hours, 8 minutes 50 seconds. Conditions were ideal and King’s fitness was enough to hold off a hard-charging field that included two-time champion Leor Pantilat, who took third, and upstart Chris Vargo, who was runner-up.

“I definitely wanted the course record,” King said after besting Uli Steidl’s 2003 mark by about nine minutes. “It’s stood for a while and Uli is obviously really quick. I knew I had to work hard to get it. I started out a little slow, but at about mile 15 I got a little faster and I pushed the whole way.”

King finished 19th at last year’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and is considered one of the most versatile and talented distance runners in U.S. history, competing in everything from 3K to 50-mile races. Saturday’s 50K race proved close to ideal for the Bend, Ore., resident. His average speed was roughly 9 mph.

“This is a really good distance for me,” he said. “I finally got my nutrition dialed in and today I had everything dialed in.”

Vargo was 10 minutes back in 3:18 while Pantilat clocked in at 3:21. Defending champion Gary Gellin finished sixth in 3:36.

Another Oregonian, Arbogast, figured she had little hope of catching speedy Rory Bosio. Arbogast trailed by a minute or more at the Highway 49 crossing just 1.5 miles from the finish. Bosio had led the majority of the race and is 23 younger than the 51-year-old Arbogast.

But the veteran dug deep and pushed past Bosio with less than a mile to go, claiming her first Way Too Cool win in 4:06.

“At the aid station at Highway 49 the people there said (Bosio) was only a minute ahead, but I thought it doesn’t matter, she might as well be 20 minutes ahead with that little distance left,” said Arbogast, who has finished in the top 10 at Western States six times. “But I saw her climbing up the hill and I said, ‘I have to go for it.’ This is a big deal for me. I’ve never won it before.”

Bosio, who was second at Western States last year, finished less than a minute behind Arbogast. The Soda Springs resident was fifth at Way Too Cool in 2012.

Auburn’s Tim Twietmeyer was the top local finisher in the field of more than 900 runners, finishing in 4:25. His 18-year-old son Austin also raced, finishing in 5:45. Auburn’s Kelly Cronin was the sixth woman across the finish line with a time of 4:27.

Placer High football coach Joey Montoya ran his first ultramarathon and had a strong finish in 5:25.

Auburn resident Tommy Irons, a 17 -year-old senior at Colfax High School, was the youngest competitor this year.  He finished in 5:45.