As mentioned last week, the Western States 100 was held this past weekend in California, where the world’s top long distance trail runners gathered to test themselves on the 100 mile long course between Squaw Valley and Auburn. This year, they not only had to contend with the usual challenges, such as 40,000+ feet of elevation change and rugged terrain, but also large amounts of snow that caused the course to be altered. In the end, it was Spaniard Kilian Jornet who took first place amongst the men, while Ellie Greenwood, a Scot living in Canada, was tops amongst the women.
The highly anticipated showdown between Jornet and defending champ Geoff Roes failed to materialize when Roes was forced to pull out of the race at the 55-mile mark. Last year, Jornet was leading the pack, but failed to carry any water with him on the trail. As a result, he ran out of steam, allowing a surging Roes to overtake him. This year, Jornet took no chances with the water, and ran a good race, finishing at 15 hours, 34 minutes, and 25 seconds. The time would have been faster, but he and several of the front runners strayed from the main trail for time, losing about 15 minutes total. As it stands, this was the third fastest time ever run at the WS100 and Jornet has become the first foreign born winner of the 37-year old race. Mike Wolfe of Montana took second place in the race with a time of 15:38:30.
For her part, Greenwood turned in an impressive time too, finishing the 100 mile course in 17 hours, 55 minutes. She beat out a strong field of female contenders that included last year’s defending champ Tracy Garneau and three-time winner Nikki Kimball.
Congrats to the winners and everyone who ran the race. If you finished, and earned that belt buckle, wear it with pride!
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