Western States gets underway from Squaw Valley | SierraSun.com

Western States gets underway from Squaw Valley

Runners await the start of the 2019 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run at Squaw Valley on Saturday morning, June 29.
Justin Scacco / jscacco@sierrasun.com

Hundreds of runners ascended from a foggy Squaw Valley Saturday morning, beginning the opening stages of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run.

In order to reach the finish line in Auburn the field of some of the world’s best endurance athletes will climb more than 18,000 feet and descend nearly 23,000 feet.

Last year’s champion, Jim Walmsley, who set the course record in 2018 with a time of 14 hours, 30 minutes, 4 seconds, is among the athletes competing at this year’s event. The 2017 champion, Ryan Sandes, is also on the course.

On the women’s side, defending champion Courtney Dauwalter, of Golden, Colorado, returns after winning in her first time out.

Dauwalter, 34, finished with the second fastest time ever for a woman last year, reaching Auburn with a time of 17:27:00. The women’s record, set in 2012 by Ellie Greenwood, of Banff, Alberta, Canada, is 16:47:19

Second-place finisher from a year ago, Katlyn Gerbin, 30, of Issaquah, Washington, is also in the field. Lucy Bartholomew, 23, of Melbourne, Australia, finished third last year and is on the course. Bartholomew has spent the past few weeks training in the area, and running with Truckee-Tahoe athletes at local races.

Kaci Lickteig, 32, of Omaha, Nebraska, who won in 2016, is racing as well.

For live race updates, visit https://www.ultralive.net/ws100#tracking/info