Since I have been running and racing ultras since 1977-78, it often takes quite a bit to impress me, performance-wise. We have had many talented, inspiring USA women and men ultrarunners the past few years, but I also see that Rae Clark”s 12:12 100 mile from 1989 remains the national 100 mile record, that Don Ritchie’s 6:10:20 100Km is in its 35th (yes, thirty-fifth) year as the world 100Km best, etc.
So it is with great pride and enthusiasm that I have watched my onetime training partner (and former UTEP football player) Jon Olsen (Modesto, CA) reel off an amazing string of performances in the past two months.
Jon won the Rocky Road 100 mile (hybrid course) in southern CA in 13:14:44, then as an “alternate” and last minute replacement on the USA 100Km team went to Italy and placed 7th in the WORLD 100Km (6:48:52, just 4 seconds out of 6th) on April 22. He also threw in a 2:33 marathon PR between Rocky Road and Italy. And now this past weekend on the lakefront in Cleveland he won the North Coast/ National 24 Hour with over 158.5 miles (this just two weeks after his speedy 100Km).
The only one of these efforts that surprised me was the 24 hour, because I am guessing his legs were not 100% recovered from the Italy 100Km. I have had several of the greatest ultrarunners in history concur with me that often after an ultra (assuming one has no injury), the legs and mind can get back to 85-90% of normal quite quickly, but gaining that last 10-15% can take a long time. BUT we are all different, and experiments of one.
By the bye several ultrarunners have asked me if Jon and Jesper Olsen (he of World Run fame, also who just did 400 miles in the New York Self-Trans. 6 day) are related. They are close in age, and there is some resemblance. I asked Jesper this recently and he said “maybe we are very distant cousins??”
Anyhow, hats off to one of our greatest USA ultrarunners, Coach Jon Olsen!
Best wishes to all ultrarunners around this big world,