On Saturday 29 June, ultra-marathon trail runner, Ryan Sandes, will be returning to the start line of the world’s oldest trail race – the Western States 100 Miler. “I am super excited to be heading back to Western States again this year to race,” says Sandes. “Having run this race a few times, I feel my preparations have gone really well. With my win in 2017, the pressure is off to prove anything so I am looking forward to getting out onto the start line and enjoying the unique experience that is Western States.”
This year’s start line see’s some of the world’s best trail runners lining up, including 2018 defending champion Jim Walmsley who set a new course record of 14hrs30min04sec, Matt Daniels, Ian Sharman and David Laney to mention a few. The 369 strong competitor list also includes 72 year old race founder, Gordy Ainsleigh, who has completed the race a whopping 23 times.
Starting in Squaw Valley, California near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and ending 100.2 miles (160km) away in Auburn, California, Western States, in the decades since its inception in 1974, has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the world.
Following the historic Western States Trail, runners climb more than 5500m and descend nearly 7000m before reaching the finish line in Auburn. Over the 160km, runners experience the majestic high country beauty of Emigrant Pass and the Granite Chief Wilderness, the crucible of the canyons of the California gold country, a memorable crossing of the ice-cold waters of the main stem of the Middle Fork of the American River, and, during the latter stages, the historic reddish-brown-coloured trails that led gold-seeking prospectors and homesteading pilgrims alike to the welcoming arms of Auburn.
The race will start at 5am local time on Saturday 29 June 2019 – 2pm local South African time. To find out more about the race please visit https://www.wser.org/
To follow Ryan live on race day please follow his social media pages:
Facebook – @Ryan.Nicholas.Sandes
Twitter – @RyanSandes
Instagram – @RyanSandes