Jared Hazen blew past the finish line in Auburn, Calif., on Saturday, 100.2 miles away from the starting line of the Western States 100, in the awe-inspiring time of 15 hours, 37 minutes and 55 seconds.
The time was good enough for a third-place finish in the most prestigious 100-mile race in the United States.
In the 2014 Western States 100, Hazen took 14th overall, and came at this year’s race with a whole different attitude.
Taking first place, in this year’s ultramarathon was Rob Krar, who runs for The North Face, finishing at 14 hours, 48 minutes and 59 seconds.
Second place was also a North Face runner, Seth Swanson, who finished at 15 hours, 17 minutes and 28 seconds.
Twenty minutes and 27 seconds later, the unsponsored underdog from Titusville crossed the finish line.
Hazen didn’t take third easily either.
For the last 10 miles or so, he was battling with Lithuania’s Gediminas Grinius, who runs for the company Inov-8.
Hazen and Grinius battled neck-and-neck for awhile, until Hazen finally pulled away.
Grinius passed the finish line at 15 hours, 40 minutes and 57 seconds — just three minutes after Hazen had passed.
In an earlier interview with The Herald, Hazen said that his top goal would be to finish in the top five.
That goal was greatly surpassed.
iRunFar, a website that ran total coverage of the race, wrote that Hazen was made to work all the way to finish for his podium spot.
Hazen had a ‘super-chill start’ and then moved into the top-five men for good, around the halfway point of the race, according to the website.
Hazen surged into third with the help of a long descent down Cal Street and kept cruising ahead of the fourth-place finisher past the river crossing at mile 78.
The third podium spot was well earned by Hazen, but the awards didn’t stop there.
Because of his recent successes, Hazen was awarded for his consistency.
Not only did Hazen take third at the hardest ultramarathon in the country, Saturday, he also took third at the Bandera 100k and third at Lake Sonoma 50 miler, previously.
With all the points from the races adding up, Hazen racked up enough to win the Montrail Ultra Cup.
The Montrail Ultra Cup is a trophy awarded to a runner who has earned enough points throughout the Montrail Ultra Running Series, which opened in January, in Texas.
Hazen won the Ultra Cup by 0.01 points, edging out Western States 100’s second-place finisher, Seth Swanson.
Hazen said he was a bit intimidated running in last year’s race, and this year, he was going to go for it.
“(Last year), I finished over two and a half hours after Rob (Krar), I know this year I’ll have to take a few more risks early on if I want to be at the front of the race,” Hazen said in a pre-race interview.
Taking a few more risks is exactly what ‘The Younsta’, as Team Colorado calls him, did.
Taylor Nelson along with her father, Jeff Nelson, traveled out to California to crew Hazen along the treacherous hilly course.
“He looked good and strong all day,” said Taylor, “he didn’t lose his stride and even when he started to get tired, he still pushed himself. My dad (Jeff Nelson) jumped in the last seven or so miles to pace him, he (Hazen) picked up the pace even more and fought his way into third and held it to the finish. He did great the whole race, and paced himself well.”
Hazen stopped at almost all the aid stations, except for the last two, as he was battling so much to keep in third place ahead of Grinius.
Hazen said, “the last six miles of the race were the hardest, because I had to push so hard.”
There didn’t seem to be that big of a difference between this year’s race and last years’. Hazen said that he definitely ran harder and pushed harder, “I just ran.”
Ultra running isn’t something everyone can just jump into, most of the guys in the race have been training all their lives, and now, a young 20-year-old from Titusville could very well be the new face of the sport.