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WESTERN STATES 100-MILE ENDURANCE RUN
FEATURES STELLAR FIELD FOR 40th RUNNING
The world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race returns defending men’s champion Olson; women’s race wide open
The top trail runners in the world, including men’s champion and course record holder Timothy Olson, will embark on the 40th running of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, June 29-30, 2013.
Western States is the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail run. The race features a field of more than 360 entrants from more than 20 countries, and more than 40 states. Runners start from Squaw Valley, Calif., the site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. They climb and descend about 40,000 feet through the alpine beauty of the Granite Chief Wilderness and the deep, equally picturesque, yet infernal canyons of the historic California Gold Country, then cross the Middle Fork of the American River before finishing at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. The 100.2-mile race has a 30-hour time limit.
Olson, 29, of Ashland, Ore., ran a race for the ages last year, shaving more than 20 minutes off Geoff Roes’ 2010 course record with a run of 14 hours and 46 minutes. A number of ultrarunning’s most talented and accomplished athletes will vie for the women’s title with two-time defending women’s champion and course record holder Ellie Greenwood sidelined with a stress fracture.
Top contenders in the women’s race include: Rory Bosio, 28, of Soda Springs, Calif., who finished second last year; Nikki Kimball, 42, of Bozeman, Mont., a three-time women’s champion (2004, 2006, 2007); Amy Sproston, 39, of Portland, Ore., eighth last year and the reigning World 100-Kilometer Champion; and Meghan Arbogast, 52, of Corvallis, Ore., 10th last year and generally considered the finest veteran (over 50 years old) runner in the world. Intriguing newcomers include Emily Harrison, 27, of Front Royal, Va., a former NCAA cross country All-America who has run a 2:32 marathon and chased Greenwood to a second-place finish in the country’s largest 50-mile race, the JFK 50-Miler, in November.
On the men’s side, Olson will be challenged by: 2013 third-place finisher Nick Clark, 39, of Fort Collins, Colo., the only person in race’s modern era to run under 16 hours twice in their career; 2007 and 2009 champion Hal Koerner, 37, of Ashland, Ore.; 1997 champion and former course record holder Mike Morton, 41, of Lithia, Fla., who is making his return to Western States after a 16-year competitive absence and is coming off a superb year in 2012 that saw him set an America Record for the 24-hour run and notch a victory in the blistering conditions of the Badwater 135-mile run. A cadre of younger, rising runners will press the “old guardsmen” every step of the way.
“Last year was an amazing day for all concerned – we had record low temperatures, both the men’s and women’s course records were broken and we handed out the most silver buckles (for sub-24-hour finishes, 148) in our modern era,” said race director Craig Thornley. “Both our men’s and women’s fields this year are extremely deep. We could have champions ranging anywhere in age from their 50s to their early 20s.
“We had a relatively dry winter in the high country, so conditions are snow-free and potentially fast. Thanks again to the Montrail Ultra Cup, (which has provided an avenue for qualification for many of sport’s elite runners through a national series of qualification races), there are probably close to a dozen to 15 runners with a legitimate shot at winning either our men’s or women’s race.”
This year’s race is also notable in that it will mark the 40th anniversary of Gordy Ainsleigh’s historic run in 1974, when Ainsleigh, of Meadow Vista, Calif., became the first person to cover on foot the entire 100 miles of the Western States Trail between Tahoe and Auburn in less than 24 hours. The 66-year-old Ainsleigh is entered in this year’s race.
WHAT: 40th running of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run
WHEN: Saturday, June 29, 5 a.m. start at Squaw Valley, Calif., finish at Placer High School, Auburn, Calif. More than 360 trail runners from more than 20 countries and more than 40 states to compete.
Western States Endurance Run: http://www.wser.org
Montrail Ultra Cup: http://ultracup.montrail.com/overview.aspx