A 24-year-old former Arizona State University economics and accounting major ran his way to the championship of the Zane Grey Highland Trail 50-mile race.
Jamil Coury, who maintains “Hold for thru hiker” general addresses in Pine, Mt. Lemmon and the Grand Canyon, won the April 25 race in 9:34.52.
While the time was remarkable considering the windy conditions that day, it was well off last year’s winning time of 8 hours, 2 minutes set by Anton Krupick of Colorado Springs, Colo.
In 2006, Josh Brimhall of Henderson, Nev. also turned in a very fast time of 8 hours, 51 minutes.
For 2009, second place overall and first place among the females was garnered by 37-year-old Bozeman, Mont. runner Nikki Kimball. She was timed in 9:58.15.
Her second place overall finish is the highest placing ever by a female entrant.
At the 2004 run, Kimball — then of New York — set the women’s course record of 9 hours, 14 minutes.
At the 2009 run, Flagstaff ultra-marathoner Peter Traylor, 32, was second among the men in 9:58.57.
Jane Larkindale, 34, of Tucson, took second in the women’s division in 11:24.14.
The oldest runner in the race, 61-year-old Wayne Coates was 58th in 13:54.38.
While Coates qualifies as a senior racer, Karsten Solheim — the champion of the first run and an 11-time finisher — competed when he was 70 years old.
In 2005 he endured one of his greatest challenges, finishing the race after dark and in the rain.
Of the 111 entrants who began the 2009 race, 76 finished.
This year, the race — which is actually 51.4 miles and traverses the Highline Trail (TR 31) — began at the Pine Creek Trailhead and ended at the 260 Trailhead.
It has also been run in the opposite direction during the race’s 20-year history.
Among ultra-marathoners, the Zane Grey course is considered one of the toughest in the country, mostly due to the rugged, rocky terrain and varying weather conditions.