determined to meet it.
"I had my heart and mind set on Laurel for the last four months leading up to it," said Olson. "My recovery was pretty fast. I can run a marathon now and recover in a couple days; a year ago it was totally different."
Olson's training involves running five or six days a week, with at least one day of rest, but the specifics depend on the type of race he's preparing for.
Photo by Denny Kyser
Jamestown’s Yhonathan Barrios reacts after hitting a two-run homer in the third inning of the Jammers’ 4-3 loss to the Batavia Muckdogs, Wednesday, at Diethrick Park in Jamestown, N.Y.
Photo by Denny Kyser
Laying it down
Jamestown’s Jimmy Rider lays down a sacrifice bunt during the second inning of the Jammers’ 4-3 loss to the Batavia Muckdogs, Wednesday, at Diethrick Park in Jamestown, N.Y.
"There's a lot of differences between marathons and ultra races," he said. "A marathon is like a sprint for me now."
And so the Laurel Highlands race finally rolled around, and Olson began working his way toward the front of the pack.
"I figured I wasn't going to come out super fast," said Olson. "The first part of the course is the hardest, with over 5,000 feet of ascending and descending. All of a sudden, mile 30 comes and I'm picking off guys left and right."
Of course, Olson also had some help along the way. Eric Morelli, a fellow runner whom Olson has bonded with over their shared interest, paced him the whole way. They ran the final 24 miles together.
"Once I picked up Eric is when I really started going fast," said Olson. "We did the last 24 miles in four hours. After running 46 miles, it was a crazy burst of energy that none of us anticipated. The same guy was winning the race all the way up to about 55 miles, and we passed him. He ended up dropping out of the race."
Olson finally reached the end, finishing in first place with a time of 12 hours, five minutes and 27 seconds. The runner-up finished 15 minutes behind him, at 12:22:04. Other results ranged from 13 hours all to way to the 22-hour mark. And, while Olson had high expectations for a strong finish, first place came as a bit of a surprise, even to him.
"Let's put it this way," Olson started. "I knew from the (Glacier Ridge) race I ran in April, placing third with some pretty fast guys, I would be able to get into the top ten, maybe top five. I definitely wasn't thinking first. I was thinking I just wanted to have a good day out there and finish the race. I would have been happy just to finish the race and have my friends and family there."
The support of Olson's family along the way has helped him to reach new heights that would have seemed impossible a few years ago.
"When he first started running, I didn't really understand what was going on," Devon's father, Gary, said. "It's hard for me to understand 70 miles. A lot of people ask me why he (does it), and I sort of wondered that myself. I remember asking, 'What do you think about when you're running?' And he said 'I just think about putting one foot in front of the other.' It's a difficult thing to do, no doubt about it. That's something he'll have for the rest of his life. We're truly happy for him."
The rest of his life is starting now.
"I've only been running ultra races less than a year, so I think they thought I was a little crazy at first," said Olson. "But they're coming around now. My mom and dad were both really excited that I won. My sister Lindsay has been at every race but one. She's been tremendous. You really need a supportive crew along the way. Sometimes it's just nice to see someone you know, after running."
When Olson says winning isn't the most important thing to him, he really means it.
"I'm just as proud of my other races as (the Laurel Highlands race)," he said. "Obviously, I realize there's no money in what I'm doing, but it's something that I love doing, and I'm finding out more and more that I'm not too bad at it."
After winning a 70.5-mile trail run, what could possibly be next on Olson's agenda?
The answer is easy: The Burning River 100-Mile Endurance Run held July 27 and 28 that runs through Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.
"I've been looking at the Burning River 100, and I think it's a good option for my first 100-mile," said Olson. "I definitely want to do it. Some really elite guys run in it, but I think I can place well. I've already started running again. I've come this far, why stop now?"
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. - The old Jammers toppled the new Jammers, Wednesday, at Diethrick Park.
The visiting Batavia Muckdogs - the team that replaced Jamestown as the Class A short season affiliate of the Miami Marlins beginning this season - used a two-run seventh inning triple from Yefri Perez to rally past the Jammers by a final score of 4-3. Perez spent last season in a Jammers uniform.
The loss drops Jamestown to 5-4 on the young New York-Penn League season. The Jammers hit the road Thursday, traveling to Batavia before returning home Friday through Sunday for a three-game series with the Auburn Doubledays.
Things started well for Jamestown on Wednesday as the hosts scored three runs in the first two innings to take a 3-1 lead. Catcher Jin-De Jhang did the damage in the first inning, bringing home teammate Elvis Escobar with an RBI single off Batavia starter Max Garner.
Jamestown pulled ahead in the bottom of the second when Yhonathan Barrios hit his first home run of the season. The two run blast off Garner also allowed Harold Ramirez to score and the Jammers had a two-run advantage.
Jamestown's bats would go silent from there as the team could only muster two hits and no runs over the final seven innings. In the meantime, Batavia crept its way closer before ultimately pulling ahead in the seventh.
The lead was cut to 3-2 in the fifth when Felix Castillo smacked a solo homer off Jamestown starter Jackson Lodge. Despite the Castillo homer, Jamestown maintained its lead into the top of the seventh inning.
There, Jammers' reliever Justin Topa quickly sat down the first two batters of the inning. J.T. Riddle followed with a two-out walk and Castillo kept the rally going with a single. That brought Perez to the plate and the ex-Jammer delivered with a triple to deep center, providing the deciding runs in the game.
Batavia's Beau Wright - another former Jammer - earned the win and the Muckdogs' Casey McCarthy pitched a perfect ninth for his first save. Topa took the loss for Jamestown.
Barrios led Jamestown with two of the team's six hits. Jhang, Ramirez, Jimmy Rider and Beau Wallace also had hits in the loss.
Batavia 010 010 200 - 4 9 2
Jamestown 120 000 000 - 3 6 0
2b-Justin Bohn (B). 3b-Yefri Perez (J). HR-Avery Romero (B), Yhonathan Barrios (J), Felix Castillo (B). WP-Beau Wright. LP-Justin Topa. Save-Casey McCarthy.