Looking for something to do this weekend? Feel like getting in a good workout? Then maybe you should enter the Western States 100, one of the toughest trail runs in all of North America. The 38th edition of the race will gets underway on Saturday in Squaw Valley, California, where runners will take their mark at 5 AM for what promises to be another great run through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The 100 mile course begins with a long, slow climb out of Squaw Valley, up to Emigrant Pass. Along the way, the runners gain more than 2500 feet in just the 4.5 miles of the run. It doesn’t get much easier after that, as the athletes will face another 38,000+ feet of elevation change over the remaining 95 miles of course, before eventually reaching the finish line in Auburn, California.
Due to the record levels of snow that fell in the Sierra Nevada this past winter, there is still as much as eight feet of powder still on the ground at some of the higher altitudes. This has caused the race organizers to alter the traditional course to a degree, although the changes won’t have an impact on the overall length of the race. While the change in course has been made for the safety of the athletes and the support crews, they won’t avoid it completely, as there is just too much of it along the trail.
The race has a full field of 400 participants, including defending men’s champ Geoff Roes, who set a new course record last year at 15 hours, 7 minutes. Tracy Garneau, the reigning women’s champ, will also be on hand to defend her title as well.
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