In 1955, Wendell T. Robbie started a horse race from the Squaw Valley to Auburn to show you could still cover 100 miles in one day on horseback. This race also was known as the Tevis Cup “100 miles – One Day” Ride.
In 1974, Gordy Ainsleigh joined the horses to see if he could complete the course on foot; 23:42 later he arrived in Auburn and the Western States was born.
1977, 14 runners participated in the first Official Western States Endurance Run and now a few decades later the race is the arguable the Mecca of Ultra Marathons. There is so much demand by runners to challenge the 100 mile course that a lottery system for entrants was established.
2011, one of the deepest most competitive fields in the history of this race is descending on the Squaw Valley. The athletes running this year have won 50mi and 100mi races and many of them have set course records during their wins. Examples are Goeff Roes winning the Western States last year in 15:07 (~9 min miles) or Ian Sharman destroying the field and the course record at the Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler finished in 12:44 (under 8 min miles for 100 miles !!!). These athletes compete at a level that some of us only can dream of on trails where heat, snow, dehydration and wild animals are a constant threat with nothing guaranteed.
Below are my picks in order for both the men and women. It is going to be fun to follow and I expect amazing.
Masters Winner: Tsuyoshi Kaburaki
Masters Winner : Meghan Arboghast