This past weekend, one of the most challenging trail races in the world took place in California, where the 2014 Western States Ultra pitted top ultra-runners from around the world against one another. The 100-mile (160 km) event is run annually between along the Western States Trail, which stretches from Squaw Valley to Auburn, and features more than 18,000 feet (5468 meters) of climbing, and 23,000 feet (7010 meters) of descents. It is a true test of endurance and strength just to complete the race, let alone finish anywhere near the top.
This year’s winner was Rob Krar, who completed the course in 14 hours, 53 minutes and 24 seconds, which is the second fastest time ever in the Western States. Seth Swanson took second place with a time of 15:19:40, while third place went to Dylan Bowman, who finished in 15:36:42.
If you follow the ultra-running scene much, Krar’s win may not be a huge surprise. Over the past couple of years, he has emerged as one of the best ultra-runners in North America, as he has won the TransRockies on three occasions, and has set records for running rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon as well. He finished second in the Western States last year, and been a formidable force on the trail. Not bad for a guy who only just started in the sport two years ago.
I have to say, that my respect and admiration for these runners just continues to grow. The fact that someone can run non-stop for 100 miles, along a tough trail, in under 15 hours is incredibly impressive to me. That’s an average of 6.6 miles per hour, which may not sound like a lot when compared to the world’s top marathoners, but when you factor in the extreme distance, and time, not to mention that these events are run on a trail, it become pretty awe inspiring.
Congrats to Rob on an impressive win.
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