More than 360 runners representing 26 countries will descend on California next week for the 41st edition of the Western States 100, a 100-mile trail race.
The race, which starts in Squaw Valley, Calif. on June 28 at 5 a.m. and ends in Auburn, Calif., includes several of the ultramarathon world’s top runners: 2013 women’s champion Pam Smith and the men’s runner-up Rob Krar, both Americans. There’s also a strong international lineup, which includes Spain’s Miguel Heras, second in the 2013 Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc; France’s Thomas Lorblanchet, winner of the 2012 Leadville (Colo.) 100-mile race; South Africa’s Ryan Sandes, second in the 2012 Western States 100; and France’s Natalie Mauclair, the 2013 IAU world trail champion.
“We have a great group of returning runners, some fresh faces we haven’t seen before and some faces we haven’t seen in a couple of years,” race director Craig Thornley said in a press release. “It should add up to an extremely exciting and competitive race. Western States continues to be the most competitive 100-mile race in the world for both men and women. This year is no exception.”
The course was affected by a wildfire last August, and there were concerns the route would have to be altered. But with the help of volunteers who worked, according to the release, a combined 6,000-plus hours throughout last fall and winter, a 10-mile, burned-out section was fixed. Part of the repairs included the installation of a new bridge to replace the Pacific Slab Mine Bridge.
“What our volunteers and the joint trail team between Western States, the Tevis Cup and our partners from the Forest Service have accomplished over the past few months has been really remarkable,” Thornley said. “The community of ultrarunners and trail team workers has really come together to accomplish something very special. The Western States Trail is back and open for use. We couldn’t be prouder of what our people have done to help make this happen. A big ‘thank you’ to all of our volunteers.”
A series of events leading up to the race begins next Tuesday.