The buzz is in the air, the snow has melted from the trail (didn’t take much this year), and the tapers are on… it’s time for the Big Dance. Year after year the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run boasts arguably the deepest US field of female and male 100 mile runners. At 5:00 AM on Saturday morning the feeling in Squaw Valley will be electric. 400 men and women will begin their 100 mile journey to Auburn. Runners and their crews will be making last minute preparations, using the restroom, topping off their glycogen stores, and just basking in the last moments of stillness before the sound of the gun. Some may finish as early as 8pm, though many others will run through the night, chasing the clock to finish by 11:00 AM on Sunday morning, hoping to slip under the 30 hour cutoff.
Western States is the oldest and one of the most prestigious 100 mile races in the world, and being a local race for us here in the Truckee/Tahoe area, you find that almost every local runner you bump into on the trail has some sort of desire or dream of racing it one day. This year we have eleven Donner Party Mountain Runners getting the chance to fulfill that dream.
As many of you have seen, iRunFar has put out their top men’s and women’s previews. So we thought it was important to highlight our own club members that are toeing the line in Squaw Valley as well, and see where their heads are at going into this year’s race. UNAFRAID!
Kelly Barber – First time running WS, finished TRT 100 last year in the heat/rain/snow/hail/sleet. He is looking forward to racing for the silver buckle (and a burger at the finish line)!
Skipper Crockett – Third time running WS, going for second finish (ran 19:28 in 2011!!). Skip ran a solid 50k at The Canyons Endurance Runs in May, runner-up to President Peter Fain. He has dedicated to his WS training this year and is looking forward to that feeling at the finish line, the payoff from overcoming all of the mental and physical challenges that this race will provide, and then he plans to enjoy some celebratory wine.
Jason Dumars – First time running WS, four 100 mile finishes and the Tahoe 200!! Jason has been trying to get into this race since 2007, so you can bet he will be soaking in the experience. He will need some quick recovery though since his next race, the Bigfoot 200 mile endurance run is right around the corner!
Tina Hyde – First time running WS, second 100 miler. If you missed her Member Highlight, check out how she is overcoming some major health struggles, but keeping a positive mindset, “I plan on grinning ear to ear all the way to placer!” You’ve got this Tina!
Jennifer Hemmen – First time running WS, second 100 miler. Jennifer says she is inspired “every time I run because I always have my best ideas and intentions while out on the trail – and then I have to run again to remember what they were.” She will certainly have enough time to commit those ideas to memory on her way to Auburn.
Bill Hunter – Second time running WS, third hundred miler. Bill just ran The Canyons 100k, so he got a good taste of that section of the course in the heat.
Mike Kreaden – Second time running WS, third hundred miler. He also ran at The Canyons Endurance Runs, choosing the 50k race. Again, seems like a smart choice practicing the canyons in the heat.
Laura Matz – First time running WS and will be her second 100 miler. Her first 100 was TRT last year, so she should have a handle on the early altitude. She says about running WS “It’s my ‘home course’ and I will be looking forward to seeing so many familiar faces.”
Kynan Matz – First time running WS, second 100 miler. He got in on two tickets, and couldn’t be more excited. Suffering from a stress fracture, he says “I may be undertrained, but if I play my cards right I’ll toe the line in Squaw healthy and ready to employ some stubbornness.” Stubbornness just might be more important than training, good luck!
Claire Price – Second time running WS, third 100 miler. Hailing from Hong Kong, Claire raced her way to an entry via winning and setting a course record at the UTWT Hong Kong 100k!! Wow! She says she is inspired by “the scenery & the feeling of utter freedom when I run in remote places around the world.” Watch for Claire to end up near the front of the women’s field!
Paul Sweeney – Second time running WS, 18th hundred miler (of which 9 are top ten finishes and 2 wins!). Paul has over 80 finishes on UltraSignup, and will be running Hardrock for the 8th time just two weeks after. Phew, we are lucky to have a 100 mile veteran like Paul leading the way for the rest of the club members. His advice for first time WS runners? “Be patient.”
Good luck to all of you running on Saturday!