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It's a sprint to the finish

Juan Martinez outduels Kelly Woodke to win 50-kilometer Out Back Run

MOUNT ASHLAND ' Thirty-one miles should be plenty of distance to separate a group of ultra-distance runners.

However, during Saturday's Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run, it wasn't.

— Salem's Juan Martinez and Eugene's Kelly Woodke burst around the final corner of the grueling 50-kilometer run almost dead even, and it was a mad dash to the finish line.

Martinez surged into the lead over the final 50 meters and triumphed in four hours, eight minutes and 53 seconds.

Woodke was a mere one second behind.

Steve George of Ferndale, Wash., wound up third in 4:23.30, while Meghan Arbogast of Corvallis was fourth overall and first among women in 4:24.15.

That's the closest finish I've ever seen in an ultra run, Woodke, 36, said. Usually the winner has a little breathing room, but not today.

Woodke, an eight-year veteran of long-distance running, looked fairly fresh after chugging along for more than four hours along hilly trails in the Siskiyou Mountains near Mount Ashland.

The same couldn't be said of Martinez, a 22-year-old who had never run farther than 25 kilometers prior to Saturday.

Martinez sat in his car after the race, sipping on a bottle of water and looking thoroughly exhausted.

The first half of the race I felt pretty good, Martinez said. But about eight miles from the finish there was a very steep hill and I slowed down.

I was never the same after that. I am very tired.

Woodke led for the first half of the race, but when the pair stopped briefly at an aide station, Martinez got out sooner. He eventually opened as much as a half-mile lead, but Woodke battled back and regained the advantage with about a half-mile to go.

From there it was nip-and-tuck to the finish. Martinez's track and field background ' he ran for Chemeketa Community College last year ' might have proved the difference.

The two runners averaged just over eight minutes per mile.

Saturday's event was a training run of sorts for Woodke, who is preparing for the 100-kilometer (62 miles) Where's Waldo Run at Willamette Pass next month.

That run is the longest and toughest in Oregon, Woodke said. This run today was a piece of cake compared to that one.

Asked why anyone would choose to run such long distances, Woodke said: For me, it's a great way to relax. Plus, I'm pretty good at it and so that keeps me motivated.

Arbogast, meanwhile, dominated the women's portion of the Siskiyou run, defeating runner-up Kami Semick of Bend by more than 30 minutes.

A veteran of 14 marathons and one other 50K event, Arbogast didn't consider Saturday's run to be especially difficult.

This wasn't as tough as a marathon, said Arbogast, who ran the Boston Marathon on her 40th birthday in 2001. It isn't as intense, because the terrain makes it difficult to keep a steady pace and there are no mile markers to even show what your pace is.

Plus, your mind gets occupied in a run like this with all of the beautiful scenery.

Meanwhile, Portland's Nick Wetzler handily won the 15-kilometer run Saturday in 1:03.51. Trevor Hanlin of Grants Pass was second in 1:06.06, and John Leuthold of Phoenix was third in 1:07.10.

50-KILOMETER RUN

(Listing place, name, age, hometown and time.)

Top 50

1, Juan Martinez, 22, Salem, 4:08.53; 2, Kelly Woodke, Eugene, 36, 4:08.54; 3, Steve George, 38, Ferdale, Wash., 4:23.30; 4, Meghan Arbogast, Corvallis, 42, 4:24.15; 5, John Stamstad, 38, Seattle,, 4:24.58; 6, Craig Thornley, 39, Eugene, 4:28.08; 7, Steve Smucker, 49, Portland, 4:29.30; 8, Mark Reudink, 36, Seattle, 4:30.56; 9, Mike Keim, 29, Seattle, 4:35.18; 10, Jim Wiechmann, 42, West Linn, 42, 4:45.17.

11, Petar Kristo, 34, Bend, 4:47.44; 12, Chaski Montoya, 48, Bend, 4:49.31; 13, Austin Ramsland, 28, Portland, 4:49.50; 14, Curtis Ringstad, 51, Bend, 4:52.12; 15, Sean Meissner, 29, Sisters, 4:53.03; 16, Kami Semick, 37, Bend, 4:54.29; 17, Bill Montgomery, 43, Eugene, 4:57.0; 18, Clyde Aker, 51, Yreka, 5:00.22; 19, John Bott, 44, Central Point, 5:10.00; 20, Trevor Nelson, 23, Redding, Calif., 5:11.05.

21, Chip Collins, 40, Tualatin, 5:14.39; 22, Chris Hearn, 41, Ashland, 5:20.47; 23, Rob Cain, 49, Ashland, 5:20.48; 24, Peter Feeley, 38, Boise, Idaho, 5:22.36; 25, Cynthia Morris, 44, Cove, 5:22.42; 26, Keith Callaway, Renton, Wash., 35, 5:22.48; 27, Theresa Schut, 30, Corvallis, 5:23.19; 28, Natalie Lozier, 27, Portland, 5:23.58; 29, Scott Leonard, 35, Corvallis, 5:27.27; 30, Rod Dickson, 57, Santa Rosa, Calif., 5:27.43.

31, Clem LaCava, 54, Corvallis, 5:36.25; 32, Scott Vail, Placerville, Calif., 55, 5:36.45; 33, Jeff Borne, 34, Bend, 5:38.47; 34, Larry Grill, 53, Vacaville, Calif., 5:38.38; 35, Ed Wilson, 49, Eugene, 5:38.39; 36, Owen McDougal, 33, Ashland, 5:43.51; 37, Tom Ahle, 53, Ashland, 5:43.51; 38, Craig Hemmens, 42, Boise, 5:44.44; 39, Kate Chamberlin, 33, Boise, 5:44.56; 40, Clayton Gillette, 47, Medford, 5:45.48.

41, Kyly McMurray, 42, Vancouver, Wash., 5:46.18; 43, Joe Plassman, 38, Tucson, Ariz., 5:46.57; 44, Jack Meyer, 39, Foresthill, Calif., 5:38.37; 45, Ashley Idema, 23, Corvallis, 5:49.24; 46, Sean Harrasser, 36, Portland, 5:50.0; 47, Jim Tabb, 41, Santa Ana, Calif., 5:52.35; 48, Marilyn Farmer, 40, Olympia, Wash., 5:56.59; 49, Annie Christie, 28, Vancouver, Wash., 5:57.36; 50, Togan Capozza, 30, Corvallis, 5:58.24.

15-KILOMETER RUN

(Listing place, name, age, hometown and time).

Top 50

1, Nick Wetzler, Portland, 20, 1:03.51; 2, Trevor Hanlin, 17, Grants Pass, 1:06.06; 3, John Leuthold, 35, Phoenix, 1:07.10; 4, Joe Griffin, 42, Central Point, 1:08.24; 5, Mike Houar, 47, Forest Ranch, Calif., 1:08.42; 6, Gerad Dean, 26, Ashland, 1:10.00; 7, Denver Speelman, 16, Grants Pass, 1:13.06; 8, Eric Poole, 35, Ashland, 1:13.46; 9, Adam Cortell, 31, Phoenix, 1:14.20; 10, Carl Sniffen, 50, Grants Pass, 1:16.03.

11, Sam Holmes, 46, Corvallis, 1:16.52; 12, Sadie Grossman, 21, Portland, 1:17.03; 13, Odessa Weber, 20, Lake Oswego, 1:17.03; 14, Dale Carstensen, 21, Rogue River, 1:17.47; 15, Colby Phillips, 28, Eugene, 1:19.02; 16, Felicia Hazel, 39, Talent, 1:19.39; 17, Bary Kaiser, 39, Eagle Point, 1:20.06; 18, Audrey Baldessari, 37, Redmond, Wash., 1:20.10; 19, Todd Tousszint, 36, Denver, Colo., 1:20.13; 20, Radek Gregor, 29, Redding, Calif., 1:20.18.

21, Brittany Hodgson, 17, Grants Pass, 1:20.24; 22, Mark Wayne, 41, Ashland, 1:21.22; 23, Butch Stratton, 58, Redding, Calif., 1:21.32; 24, Kurt Lauer, 41, Seattle, Wash., 1:22.07; 25, Steve McCuen, 30, Banks, 1:22.35; 26, Lindsay Carstensen, 23, Portland, 1:22.36; 27, Ted Baumer, 37, Shady Cove, 1:23.57; 28, Mei-Yen Hui, 20, Portland, 1:24.26; 29, Heather Timmons, 34, Ashland, 1:24.43; 30, Alison Hanks-Steinberg, 22, Seattle, 1:24.54.

31, Jessica Rykken, 39, Corvallis, 1:25.21; 32, Rod LaCoste, 33, Jacksonville, 1:27.43; 33, Ashley Buffington, 25, Portland, 1:27.43; 34, Doron Cutright, 35, Redding, 1:27.45; 35, Cynthia DeMarco, 39, Newport Beach, Calif., 1:27.58; 40, Bruce Mendelson, 44, Medford, 1:30.01.

41, Amelia Menteer, 23, Ashland, 1:31.11; 42, Curt Sturos, 38, Klamath Falls, 1:31.30; 43, Simone Kaiser, 36, Eagle Point, 1:31.39; 44, John Doss, 52, Phoenix, Ariz., 1:31.52; 45, Dave Hansen, 49, Cupertino, Calif., 1:32.31; 46, Denise Trevathan, 31, Corvallis, 1:32.58; 47, Carole Grandmain, 44, Redding, 1:34.05; 48, Mike Ricketts, 48, Medford, 1:36.03; 49, John Lingafelter, 44, Medford, 1:36.03; 50, Barbara Ringstad, 47, Bend, 1:37.17.

Clay Fife makes his way through a meadow at Grouse Gap on the south side of Mount Ashland during Saturday?s Out Back Trail Run. Mail Tribune / Andrew Mariman - Mail Tribune Andrew Mariman