Of all the many races in the region, there is only one of international importance: The Western States Endurance Run.
Even though there are bigger races, and faster courses, the Western States 100 has history and prestige by the bucket-full.
The race gets more media coverage than any other in the region.
It is very hard. It is a test of fitness and durability. It is a race that many people, even the elites, simply cannot finish and the reasons are many.
Even if it’s “not your bag” it’s hard to avoid getting swept up in the excitement.
I’ll try to round up the best of the media coverage for you here.
First of all, the field is deep. This year’s event includes many of the best runners in the US and world.
A great place to start is iRunFar, which has a great preview of the women’s field and of the men’s field. They also have a ton of pre-race coverage, interviews and speculation of the event. Spend some time here and you’ll fit right in at Foresthill.
Tragically, Kilian Jornet, the defending champion will not be racing this year. The statement from Salomon:
“It is with great sadness that we have learnt the death of Stéphane Brosse, in the middle of his challenge, ‘the grande traversée’ that he was sharing with Kilian. Both loved the mountains, and knew each other for a long time sharing the same respect for one another. ‘La grande traversée’ was a project they had set up together, a challenge up to their passion and talent. It is on the last part, just before going downhill, that the ridge they were on collapsed, taking Stéphane within this spilling. Kilian remained helpless whilst waiting for the rescue team. All our thoughts go to Stéphane’s family in those difficult times. We wish a lot of strength to Kilian to overcome this tragedy. As Kilian wishes to stay with Stéphane’s family to support them, he will not be present at the Western State 100.”
In Thursday’s Sacramento Bee, Sam McManis writes about the many hazards runners face on the trail.
Also in the Bee, on Wednesday, McManis wrote about Sacramento PD officer Randy Van Dusen running the race. Van Dusen is famous locally as the partner of the K9 Bodie who was recently shot in the line of duty.
The Auburn Journal always does a good job covering the event, with probably more articles than any publication. Here’s an article by Todd Mordhorst on Ellie Greenwood and the other women contenders.
Also in the Auburn Journal, Kylea Scott writes about the pioneers of the event, and Julie Young writes about eating during the race.
RealEndurance does a mathematical handicapping of the race entrants. This is a fun site, but be cautious when looking at this ranking as some of the times are quite old.
Also not to be missed is their interview of last year’s runner-up Kami Semick, which includes her hilarious telling of the famous bear story.
For race day coverage, be sure to check out the event’s live webcast. It gets better every year.
And finally, don’t be afraid to go check it out in person. Good viewing points are the Foresthill School and the finish line at Auburn’s Placer High School. With pleasant weather forecast for the weekend, it should be a great day for a run in the canyons!