For the 6th straight year I found myself at Wasatch 100. This year I was pacing Roger Smith from Brighton to the finish. Roger really wanted a sub 24 in his 7th Wasatch. As I headed up to Brighton looking at his splits it wasn't looking good. It was great seeing long time friends and meeting some new ones as I hung out at Brighton. Rogers splits had him there at 9:45pm but his estimated arrival at Brighton was 10:55pm after leaving Scotts....sub-24 out of reach. However, at 10:40pm he stormed in shouting out orders. He was in and out in mere minutes. As we started up the mountain he looked at me very seriously and said "We are running a sub-24. OK?! I can do this."
I was doubtful. Leaving Brighton at 10:44pm I didn't know anyone who had left that late and still made it. But I thought I would push him to see how close we could get. He simply told me "I'll do anything you say...no questions asked. Just get me there before 5am." So we pushed it...HARD. I honestly didn't think he could hold it. From Brighton to Ant Knolls in 73 minutes. His drop bag at Pole Line he ignored and left within 20 seconds after arrival. He didn't stop at Rock Springs. As we were leaving, I was blown away by his perseverance, but we were still on the bubble. However, he finally had me believing! I wouldn't let him talk...everytime he said something I would tell him "if you can talk, you can run. Shut up and run!"
We stormed down the Plunge and the Dive picking out headlamps and picking them off one by one. Heading into Pot Bottom, he was doing sub 7 minute miles! As we pulled into Pot Bottom I smiled...we had plenty of time! Rogers GPS had died and he had no idea how much time he had left. I didn't let him know, but kept pushing him. As we hit the singletrack 2 miles from the finish I called the family. Roger still didn't know how much time he had left and was pushing with everything he had. Over the phone I told his family and him, that he was going to be a Cheetah! He was emotional over the next mile and coasted to the finish in a time of 23 hours and 42 minutes. 13th Place.
He ran the last 25 miles in 6 hours flat! It was amazing to behold. 23:40 is now my new magic number. After pacing Ben Corrales last year to 23:39, running Cascade Crest 100 in 23:40, and now pacing Roger Smith to a 23:42! I'm sensing a trend! Next year should be my turn at Wasatch...
Congrats to Roger and all other Wasatch 100 finishers! Magical race.