(Brian Morrison collapsing at the finish, later to be disqualified; photo courtesy of Kurt Bertilson)
The rules of Western States clearly state that a runner cannot receive aid during a run from pacers (except at aid stations) and must complete the race under their own power. Shortly after the final finish, Morrison was disqualified, and Graham Cooper (who finished just a few minutes behind) was declared the winner. For those who were there, apparently "it was clear he would not have finished under his own power" so perhaps it's not that controversial. The Sacramento Bee did a great job of covering the story here (and the Duluth Tribune has it here). Man, that's gotta be a tough break for a guy who was clearly having a great race most of the day.
Kudos to all of you who finished States this year - only 211 of the 399 racers managed to do so, thanks to the wicked heat that peaked at 101 degrees, tough new canyon trails, and plenty of water run-off soaking the trails. This was the toughest finish rate since 1995, and allowed only 54 runners to receive the silver belt buckle for a sub-24 hour finish. If you finished at all, YOU'RE A ROCK STAR!!!
(Graham Cooper (with kids), unknowingly winning the 2006 Western States 100; photo courtesy of Kurt Bertilson)
Graham Cooper and Eric Skaden have been kicking ass all year, so I'm pleased they finished 1-2. Nikki Kimball and Bev Abbs conquered the heat as well and put on a great race. Tim Tweitmeyer managed to run under 24 hours for the 25th time. You guys are true champions!