The 45th running of the Western States 100 Endurance Run presented by Altra Footwear took place June 23rd to 24th, 2018. In contrast to 2017, this year’s race was hot. Despite these triple-digit temperatures there was still an 81% finishing rate and very fast winning times, including a course record on the men’s side and second fastest women’s finish in history. #TeamAltra Elites snagged 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th on the men’s side, and 4th on the women’s side.
For Jim Walmsley, the 3rd time was the charm, and he not only set a new course record of 14:30:04 but had a huge 1 hour 24 minute lead over second place. On the women’s side, Courtney Dauwalter had an incredibly strong day, not only winning, but clocking the 2nd fastest time ever run by a woman at Western States in 17:27:00 (Ellie Greenwood holds the record with a time of 16:47:19 set in 2012). Just last year Courtney won the Moab 240 outright with a time of 57 hours 55 minutes and 13 minutes.
#AltraElite Amanda Basham ran a 19:17:59 besting her 2016 time by almost an hour, running a strong race and finishing 4th woman overall. She came into Western fit and ready after her second consecutive win at UROC 100k in May where she not only won the women’s race, but placed 3rd overall. Amanda’s 4th place finish at Western States this year is second time finishing in the top ten and second time finishing 4th.
"I’ve started this race three times now and this year was the best one yet. I stayed positive and ran almost an hour faster than my previous time. Hundred milers haven’t come as easy for me. It takes an enormous amount of mental engagement that I’ve struggled with in the past. I had fun this year and I finished in fourth place among an incredibly talented field of women."
#AltraElite Mark Hammond ran a very impressive, smooth race in a time of 16:08:59—45 minutes faster than last year and grabbing his second consecutive 3rd place finish at Western. Mark is the no fan-fare, no-fuss kind of runner; he puts in the work, shows up, gets it done and repeats. He attributes his success on the Western States course to very specific training, which for him includes running “downhill” repeats on his treadmill at a 6 minute mile all while wearing a weight. Running fast on a decline with the added weight of a vest thoroughly smashes the quads and prepares them for the net downhill course athletes encounter at Western States.
"Western States has dramatically impacted me. It has inspired me to become a significantly better athlete. I approached this year’s race feeling more pressure to do well than ever before. When people discuss who the best ultrarunner in the world is, two names that usually come up are Jim Walmsley and Francois D’Haene. Both of them were in this race along with numerous other elites."
#TeamAltra Elite Ian Sharman ran a different kind of goal-oriented race this year and secured a HUGE window of time for next year’s race where he aims to get the record for fastest 1000-mile time at Western States.
“I’m incredibly happy with my run,” Sharman said. “I am on track for my goal of 10 top 10 finishes as well as being the first person to get 10 Western States finishes, totaling 1000 miles, under a combined time of a week. I just need to run under 18 hours and 6 minutes next year, which would be my slowest time by far.”
"I am on track for my goal of 10 top 10 finishes as well as being the first person to get 10 Western States finishes, totaling 1000 miles, under a combined time of a week"
#TeamAltra Elite Kyle Pietari is well-known for his gutsy 2017 race where, after spraining his ankle during the early miles, he pressed on and pulled off an incredibly grueling 10th place finish. He was on crutches at the awards ceremony. This year, everyone was curious and excited to see what he could do in good health. And he did not disappoint. Kyle ran an impressive race and even more impressive finish. He sprinted to the track—going from a 12:48 pace at mile 94 to a 6:56 pace to the finish—barely edging out close competitors and finishing in sixth place with a time of 16:54:23. Kyle definitely proved his merit in one of the most competitive 100 milers in the world. He came into the race healthy and fit, having put in countless miles throughout the year all while expertly balancing his full-time job with running and being a dedicated father and husband. The majority of his miles are either run commuting or uphill treadmill miles carrying one (sometimes two!) of his kids on to his front and/or back.
"What a day of some struggle, more than offset by a lot of triumph for me. 6th place in 16:54 in arguably the most competitive 100-miler ever run in the U.S. Thank you x 1,000 to my crew/pacers"
Other notable finishes for #TeamAltra included: Jeff Browning ran his characteristic patient, consistent style, making huge moves in the second half of the race to take fifth place in 16:45:29. Jesse Haynes battled through a rough day with many tough patches but still finished with his signature grin. Jesse’s 2018 Western States finish means he is half way to his goal of running “The Double”—running both Western States 100 and Hardrock 100 in the same year; Zach Bitter fought hard and battled through the heat for a strong 11th place finish; this was Kaci Lickteig’s first 100 miler back after her recent and well-known injury and she ran a smart race, smiling the whole way; Traci Falbo battled through heat, stomach issues and a seemingly inevitable DNF to finish her 2nd Western States 100, and Nicole Bitter (formerly Kalogeropoulos) fought hard and posted a WSER time that put her in the women’s lead for her biggest goal of the year; the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (completing 4 of the oldest 100 milers in the US. Nicole still has Leadville 100, Vermont 100 and Wasatch 100 left), she’s currently 1st for women with 3 more races to go.
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