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Posted: May 4, 2006

Running: Tim Twietmeyer Announces '06 As Last WS100 Run


Tim Twietmeyer recently announced that his 25th running of the Western States 100 (WS100) this June will be his last. Plenty of runners have impressive accomplishments, but the enduring runner from Auburn, Calif., has combined his long running tenure in the country's most well-known ultramarathon with a more impressive legacy.

Twietmeyer will leave the Western States 100 as a gracious ambassador, an athlete proud of what he's accomplished but also as an athlete who respects his fellow athletes as much as they respect him.

That's a rare quality. The sporting world is overburdened with tales of drug abuse, cheaters and sizable egos, and even in the niche world of ultramarathon running not all is right. Yet, Twietmeyer always found the positives in his fellow front-running athletes -- even at times when there wasn't much to find.

Some event winners cross the line doing summersaults and others seek the limelight in other ways. Year after year, Twietmeyer has crossed the WS100 line holding hands with his children. Hours later, he's arrived at the finish line again to greet the final finishers.

During his WS100 tenure -- an event requiring a lengthy and committed training focus -- Twietmeyer balanced family (a wife and three sons), employment, friends, training, volunteerism, faith and community involvement.

Twietmeyer's history at the WS100 began in 1980 when he sent in his entry, but didn't make it to the starting line. He asked the race to hold his entry to the following year and in 1981 he competed for the first time.

Twietmeyer's WS100 streak has has only one glitch, 1984, when he wasn't selected to participate. He says he has had only two "bad" years, 1982 and 1987. In 1982, Twietmeyer recalls eating too much sugar and he was sick during much of the last half of the course. In 1987, he participated while recovering from the flu, but still finished strong.

Media reports citing Twietmeyer's departure following the 2006 event suggested the end of a career. On the contrary, Twietmeyer plans to continue running, most notably where he has long tenures in Northern Califronia events like the Way Too Cool 50km, American River 50 and California International Marathon.

In recent years, Twietmeyer has also selected new challenges, including endurance mountain biking, a winter crossing of the Western States Trail and the Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc, and international ultramarathon across the Alps in France, Italy and Switzerland.

Twietmeyer's consistency at the WS100 will likely go unequaled -- five victories, 15 consecutive years of top-five finishes (1989-2003), 10 finishers (17-18 hours), six finishes (18-19 hours) men's age 40-49 course record (17:17:50, 2001), and 24 sub-24 hour finishes. A 25th sub-24 hour finish also likely this summer.

And yet when asked about the brief recent article in the Sacramento Bee that announced his intention to end his WS 100 participatiion, Twietmeyer commented: "Really, it's much ado about nothing."

Tim Twietmeyer's Finishing Times And Placings (1981-2005)

1981 - 22 hours, 3 minutes, 25th place
1982 - 22 hours, 53 minutes, 50th
1983 - 21 hours, 4 minutes, 30th
1985 - 18 hours, 40 minutes, 10th
1986 - 19 hours, 02 minutes, 7th
1987 - 20 hours, 59 minutes, 16th
1988 - 19 hours, 00 minutes, 14th
1989 - 17 hours, 06 minutes, 2nd
1990 - 17 hours, 26 minutes, 3rd
1991 - 17 hours, 25 minutes, 4th
1992 - 16 hours, 54 minutes 1st
1993 - 17 hours, 56 minutes, 2nd
1994 - 16 hours, 51 minutes, 1st  (personal record)
1995 - 18 hours, 34 minutes, 1st
1996 - 17 hours, 42 minutes, 1st
1997 - 17 hours, 14 minutes, 2nd
1998 - 17 hours, 51 minutes, 1st
1999 - 18 hours, 01 minutes, 2nd
2000 - 17 hours, 53 minutes, 5th
2001 - 17 hours, 17 minutes, 2nd
2002 - 18 hours, 08 minutes, 4th
2003 - 17 hours, 55 minutes, 5th
2004 - 18 hours, 54 minutes, 12th 
2005 - 18 hours, 31 minutes, 11th
2006 - ?

© Copyright 2005, James Raia

Posted with the permission of James Raia.

James Raia is a journalist, author and publisher in Sacramento, California. Sign-up for his free electronic newsletters Endurance Sports News and Tour de France Times on his web site:

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