On Your Mark, Get Set…


Today’s Run

Time – 42:04
Distance – 4.04 miles
Pace – 10:25 min/mi
Elevation – 180 ft.

Tickets to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game tomorrow, so no run. With the off-day yesterday, I figured I best put more effort in today to get the miles. Did one “long” hill (I only have a few to choose from around the house), and I’m already starting to plan a run with lots of hills, as there are 5–6 that could be put together in a good solid run. One is going to be my “hill repeat” spot. Decisions, decisions.

A Western States Primer

The Western States Endurance Run has been around a long time. According to the official Western States website and the “How it All Began” page, the race is the longest 100 mile race in the world, and has been around since 1977, when the 1st Annual footrace officially commenced.

This race, however, was (and is) actually a horse race, originally begun, as all good ideas are, through a bet in 1955 (How many adverbs can I fit into one sentence?). The 100 mile horse race, also known as the Tevis Cup, in 1974 had one unusual participant. Gordy Ainsleigh, with the blessing and the “encouragement” of one of the Tevis Cup officials, strode to the starting line on his own two feet to run against the horses. The Cup has a time limit of 24 hours, and Gordy finished with 18 minutes to spare. The next year, another person tried (and withdrew 2 miles from the finish…which is not the only time this has occurred since). The next, another put in the effort to finish 30 minutes over 24 hours. The next year, in 1977, the 1st official race, with 14 participants and no horses (they race on a different day now), occurred.

Racers who finish in under 24 hours get a silver belt buckle. Finishing in less than 30 hours but more than 24 hours earns the racer a bronze belt buckle.

The race itself begins at 5:00 AM on the Saturday of the last full weekend in June. One must run the entire 100 mile trail without assistance beginning in Squaw Valley, California, near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, to Auburn, CA, and finish the race by running 300 meters around the Placer High School running track. It’s a grueling trail that climbs 15,540 ft. and descends 22,970 ft. By the way, that much descending on legs with 100 miles in them isn’t easier because it’s downhill. The quads have to work even harder to slow you down…

The course requires racers to FORD A RIVER at mile 78, which means there’s another 22 miles to go AFTER the river crossing. In “high water years” according to the course description, rafts are required to get across…

Temperatures can range from 20 degrees Fahrenheit to more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit…IN THE SAME YEAR. There was snow on the course last year…

Oh, yeah, and because most racers don’t even finish before nightfall, headlamps are required equipment because you will run in the dark…

So here I am. I’m ready to run a horse race (any jokes may commence in three…two…one…GO) for nothing more than a silver belt buckle. I’ll have 30 to finish, but I want that silver.

This sounds like a good idea to me.


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