Sandes and Bradley take Western States 100 2017

By Alice Morrison

It’s the oldest 100-miler in the USA and always a hugely-competitive race. The Western States 100 M Endurance Run starts in Squaw Valley, California near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and ends 100.2 miles later in Auburn, California. The first race was held in 1974. Following the historic Western States Trail, runners climb nearly 5500m and descend over 7000m.

Once again, all pre-race eyes were on Jim Walmsley. Would he do it this year? Would he take the course record? Last year was a legendary heartbreaker. He was 40 minutes up at mile 93 when he took a wrong turn and ended up a couple of miles off the course. Everything gave up but his spirit and he walked back to the course and then on to finish the last seven miles, even though he had lost all hope of the record and, indeed, a good finish.

So, back to the 2017 race. The leaders got off to a blistering start and Jim Walmsley looked strong early on. He went through the 38-mile aid station ahead of course record pace. At that stage, Ryan Sandes was in second 37 minutes behind, with Jonas Buud in third. But stomach problems set in and by mile 78, Ryan Sandes, Alex Nichols, Mark Hammond and several others had all overtaken Walmsley. He dropped at this point.

At the start of the race there was snow, but as the day wore on the thermometer was nudging 40 degrees, and it was taking its toll as runners dropped.

Through it all, Ryan Sandes held on to his lead and won the race with a time of 16:19:38. Alex Nichols came in 2nd at 16:48:23 and Mark Hammond was third with 16:52:57.

After the race, a delighted Sandes said, “For me, Western States is my dream race to win so for me, this is one of the greatest days of my life.”

Women’s race

The line up for the women’s race this year was very impressive with three former champions in there – Kaci Lickteig, Magdalena Boulet and Stephanie Howe Violett – as well as many other strong contenders including Yiou Wang.

At the 38-mile point, Yiou Wang went through first but all the 2nd-5th placed women were hot on her heels, speeding through the aid station within four minutes of her.

By mile 70.7, all had changed and Cat Bradley, who was a surprise break out, had taken the lead which was eventually to give her the race in 19:31:31. Magdalena Boulet came in second with 19:49:15 and Yiou Wang had to DNF. Sabrina Stanley took third with 20:11:41.

After the race, when she was asked about the moment when she took the lead, Cat said, “I was really scared (when I took the lead) I didn’t know how I felt about being chased but I ran harder after that. It was kind of unbelievable and I was trying to hang back for as long as possible and I wanted to start racing hard at the river. I was going to try and hang back till then but it just kind of happened and then I was running scared I guess!

"The leaders got off to a blistering start and Jim Walmsley looked strong early on. He went through the 38-mile aid station ahead of course record pace."

Like what you read?

Click here to sign up for more

Related news

Top Reviews May 2018

Last updated: 24-Aug-18 By Luke Jarmey We’re pleased to announce our top reviews for May. So, congratulations to Rosemary Byde (@planetbyde) who will receive a

Read More »

5 rules of Crewing

Last updated: 24-Aug-18 By Susie Chan Many ultramarathons allow crews and in the US it is very much encouraged. Crewing can mean either running alongside

Read More »

The Spine

By Alice Morrison The MONTANE® Spine® Race 2017 gave us another epic edition of this 268-mile non-stop monster which follows the entire Pennine Way. The

Read More »

Latest news

The Backbone Bill Whitfield

The BACKBONE

The Backbone – Pennine Way via SPINE ROUTE Edale to Kirk Yetholm 12th – 18th Jan 2024 Many of us have a sports plan at the

Read More »

SEARCH

Filters

Distance
Distance - slider
0KM500KM
Entry Fee
Entry Fee - slider
010000

DATE SEARCh

Date Range

Global - Virtual

Elevation

A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for

For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Elevation

An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for

Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Brutal

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude)

Suitable for

Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Expert

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat)

Suitable for

Experienced runners who have completed at least 4 ultras in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Advanced

Elevation

Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Intermediate

Elevation

Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed at least one ultra in last 6 months or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Beginner

Elevation

Very little change < 500 metres

Suitable for

First ultra event. Runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running (>26 miles) in the last 6 months.