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Mackey, Koerner out front; Jurek out

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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MICHIGAN BLUFF — Veteran Dave Mackey and defending champion Hal Koerner soaked in the applause and cheers as they pulled into the Michigan Bluff aid station as the leaders of the 35th Western States Endurance Run Saturday afternoon. While Mackey and Koerner emerged from the blistering canyon looking strong, favorite Scott Jurek was nowhere to be found. The seven-time champion, who had not run Western States since 2005, dropped at the Devil’s Thumb aid station – 47.8 miles into the race. Jurek was the third runner into the Robinson Flat aid station at mile 29. But he withdrew for unknown reasons, dashing his chances for an eighth title. Anita Ortiz of Eagle, Colo. was the surprise leader on the women’s side. She pulled into the Michigan Bluff aid station at 2:40 – about 50 minutes behind Mackey and Koerner. Bev Anderson-Abbs was about 15 minutes behind Ortiz, but was having trouble dealing with the oppressive heat. Leigh Scmitt of Conway, Mass. was the third man through Michigan Bluff, trailed closely by Jasper Halekas of Oakland. The race began at Squaw Valley at 5 a.m. Saturday and will finish at Placer High in Auburn. The 100-mile course follows the historic Western States Trail.