Western States 100 is here...
Just 4 days remain until one of the biggest races on the global trail calendar, as all roads head to Squaw Valley this weekend for the Western States 100 – and we’ll be counting down with the great Stateside site iRunFar.com…
First-up though comes the tragic news of the death of Stéphane Brosse at the weekend whilst on Mt. Blanc. With Stéphane was Kilian Jornet. Understandably Kilian will therefore not race the 2012 WS100, as the following statement from Salomon outlines:
“It is with great sadness that we have learnt the death of Stéphane Brosse, in the middle of his challenge, ‘the grande traversée’ that he was sharing with Kilian.
Both loved the mountains, and knew each other for a long time sharing the same respect for one another. ‘La grande traversée’ was a project they had set up together, a challenge up to their passion and talent. It is on the last part, just before going downhill, that the ridge they were on collapsed, taking Stéphane within this spilling.
As Kilian wishes to stay with Stéphane’s family to support them, he will not be present at the Western State 100.”
However, the race will go ahead this weekend…
When it comes to this daddy of US ultra-trail races you need some local knowledge. So when looking ahead to the hotly anticipated 2011 edition of this American classic it’s best left to Bryon Powell and the excellent iRunFar.com site, who has already gone deep on pre-race interviews and previews, with the men’s race here and the women’s preview here. Both the women’s and men’s fields are expectedly loaded with ultra-trail talent.
International entrant Ryan Sandes heads to his first WS100 and after winning Leadville in 2011 and impressing at the TNF100 in Australia last month, the South South African will be a formidable force in Squaw Valley come Saturday morning.
The men’s race also contains plenty more big-guns too in the shape of Britain’s Jez Bragg, TNF50 San Fran winner Mike Wolfe, Nick Clark, Ian Sharman, and Dave Mackey.
Briton’s Lizzy Hawker and Ellie Greeenwood go head to head for what should be a fantastic women’s event. This will be Hawker’s first crack at the American ‘monument’, and should she add the Western States to her 4 UTMB titles we’re sure that the win will secure her place on the ultra-trail hall of fame.
After winning in 2011 Greenwood is back for more and has been rounding into form very nicely ahead of this weekend. With the two runners fit and racing hard it will be interesting to see how fast the can go.
Three-time winner Nikki Kimball is in great form this year too, and fresh from her third placing at Transvulcania she should also go close. Throw in Kami Semick and you have a recipe for a mind-blowing race.
The trail ascends from the Squaw Valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4½ miles. From the pass, following the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850’s, runners travel west, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn.