This past weekend the Western States 100 ultramarathon took place in California, where the athletes put on an impressive show of speed and endurance. The annual event, which takes place between Squaw Valley and Auburn, is considered one of the toughest ultras in the world, drawing in top athletes from across the globe. This year however there was a familiar name at the top of the leaderboard and by the time the weekend was over the course record had fallen for a second year in a row.
Over the past few years, ultrarunner Jim Walmsley has proven that he is easily amongst the best in the world. We received a reminder of that at the Western States however when he not only claimed his second straight win at the event, but smashed his own course record in the process. Walmsley completed the storied route in just 14 hours, 9 minutes, and 28 seconds, taking nearly 21 minutes off the previous mark.
It wasn’t an easy race however, as Walmsley’s training partner Jared Hazen came in second, finishing in 14 hours, 26 minutes. That would have been fast enough to break the previous record too and claim victory had Walmsley not been in the event himself. Third place went to Tom Evans, who completed the course in a little under 15 hours.
The ladies ran a very fast race too with Clare Gallagher earning her first ever win with a time of 17 hours, 23 minutes. That’s good enough to be the second fastest time ever by a woman and allowed Gallagher to hold off Brittany Peterson, who finished 11 minutes back. The third place runner was Kaci Lickteig, who crossed the finish line at the 17 hours, 55 minute mark.
All in an all, a pretty impressive performance by the top runners for sure. This is not an easy race by any means, and while there were some fast times thrown down, the course conditions were as tough and grueling as ever. Congrats to both Jim Walmsley and Clare Gallagher on their fantastic wins.
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