Sunday, March 24, 2013

RUPERTO ROMERO EYES TOP HONORS AT THE 2013 ANGELES CREST 100 MILE ENDURANCE RUN





By: Gilbert Varela

48 year old Wild Mountain Runner, Ruperto Romero needed one mile to cross the finish line of the grueling 2012 Angelus Crest 100 mile ultra marathon.   It took many miles of experience to bring Ruperto to the 99th mile of this most exclusive contest.  He began his quest in 2004, when he ran in the Los Angeles Marathon.  Since then, he has run 20, some under 3 hours, including a 2:55.43 in 2012 and 2:49.22 in this year’s  L.A. Marathon.  But to Ruperto, 26 miles was not enough. “I felt 26 miles was too little”, said Ruperto.  So he began running in 50K and 50 mile ultra runs. He has placed in the top 10 in several 50k and 50 mile ultras.  He finished 2nd in the 2009 Mt. Disappointment 50 miler.  No all ultras have turned out well for Ruperto.  To him, dropping out at 80 miles in a Texas 100 mile ultra was a disappointment.  “I was not mentally prepared for this run”, said Ruperto.  It would seem that completing 80 miles should be a triumph in itself!



This was the last mile of the AC 100.  For Ruperto and the remaining 71 other unique group of runners, each mile of trails and dirt roads had been an enormous test of will and physical strength.   In the darkness and stillness of the night, he knew that he was in third place.  At 2 a.m., in a sudden turn, darkness gave way a little and 100 meters ahead he saw the great ultra marathoner George Pacheco surrounded by his support group of runners.  A sense of joy engulfed him as he sensed that he could overtake Pacheco.  “I gave it everything in me but could not catch him”, said Ruperto with a resigned smile.   In the end, Chris Price finished first with a 19:46:06, George Pacheco second with a 21:12.13, followed by Ruperto, with what could be called an ultra marathon photo finish with a 21:12.27 – 14 seconds behind Pacheco!  Ruperto feels that he can win the AC 100 this year.  The slight bodied Ruperto exudes a mixture of self confidence and humility with good reason.  After all, he is an experienced ultra marathoner, having finished 6 of the 7 100 mile ultras that he has competed in. He knows the AC 100 course well.  In 2011, he finished second with a 21:33.5; third in 2010 with a 21:25.2.  In 2010, George Pacheco was second, ahead of Ruperto by two minutes. eight in 2008; seventh in 2007; and seventh again in 2006. 


The AC 100 will  take place August 3, 2013.  The Race begins in downtown Wrightwood and ends at Johnson’s Field in Pasadena.  Joining Ruperto will  be Wild Mountain Runner, 52 year old Jaime Ortiz, a great competitor and experienced ultra marathoner in his own right.   Both Ruperto and Jaime will face off against 174 other ultras. At the start line will be George Pacheco and several other expectant front runners.  It will be a meeting of distance running Titans battling each other for this year’s AC 100 top honor. 

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