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WESTERN STATES 100-MILE ENDURANCE RUN FEATURES STELLAR FIELD FOR 42nd RUNNING
The world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race returns defending men’s champion Krar and women’s champion Howe
The top trail runners in the world, including defending men’s champion Rob Krar and defending women’s champion Stephanie Howe, will embark on the 42nd running of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, June 27-28.
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 30 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.
Krar, 38, of Flagstaff, Ariz., ran one of the more memorable races in race history last year. After breaking open the men’s race with a record-setting split time of 2 hours, 3 minutes on the critical 16-mile Cal Street section from Foresthill, Calif., at mile 62 to the mile 78 mark at the Ruck-A-Chuck river crossing, he finished in 14:53 – only seven minutes off Timothy Olson’s 2012 course record.
Howe, 31, of Bend, Ore., took the lead in the women’s race shortly after the 30-mile mark and ran to a commanding victory. Her 18:01 finishing time was the fourth-fastest in race history.
Both Krar and Howe will be pressed by two of the deepest men’s and women’s fields in race history. Nine of the top 10 finishers in last year’s men’s race return; all 10 of the top 10 finishers in the women’s race from 2014 are entered. The men’s returners are led by runner-up Seth Swanson, 36, of Missoula, Mont., who finished in 15:19, and third-place finisher Dylan Bowman, 29, of Mill Valley, Calif., who ran 15:36.
In addition to Howe, past women’s champions entered include 2013 winner Pam Smith, 40, of Salem, Ore.; Nikki Kimball, 44, of Bozeman, Mont., a three-time women’s champion (2004, 2006, 2007); Anita Ortiz, 50, of Eagle, Colo., who won the race in 2009. 2008 U.S. Women’s Olympic Marathoner Magdalena Boulet, 41, of Oakland, Calif., will be making her WS 100 debut.
Other runners of note include:
Gordy Ainsleigh, 68, of Meadow Vista, Calif. Ainsleigh , who has finished the race more than 20 times, was the first runner to complete the 100 miles between Squaw Valley and Auburn in 1974 when he joined the horses in the 100-mile Tevis Cup;
Meghan Arbogast, 54, of Cool, Calif., eighth last year and generally considered the finest veteran (over 50 years old) runner in the world;
Gunhild Swanson, 70, of Spokane Valley, Wash., who established the race’s over-60 record in 2005 in 25:40. If Swanson finishes this year, she will become the first over-70 female runner to do so.
“Last year was a pretty remarkable day – we had temperatures that weren’t bad (89 degrees was the high), Rob and Stephanie ran remarkably strong races, and we had 296 finishers, including 129 silver buckles (for sub-24-hour finishes),” race director Craig Thornley said. “This year has the potential to be even better. The men’s race will be exciting with Rob and a host of talented runners running to beat him. And our women’s race may very well go into the books as our deepest and most competitive field ever.”
“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.”
WHAT: 42nd running of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run
WHEN: Saturday, June 27, 5 a.m. start at Squaw Valley, Calif., finish at Placer High School, Auburn, Calif. More than 360 trail runners from more than 30 countries and more than 40 states to compete.