Blog

Western States 100 Mile: America's Premier Ultra

May 18, 2023

The Western States 100 mile race is one of the most iconic ultramarathons in the world. The race takes place in California's Sierra Nevada mountains and is known for its challenging terrain and extreme weather conditions. In this blog post, we'll take a look at the history of the Western States 100 mile race, its significance, and provide some tips on how to best train for the race.

History of the Western States 100 Mile Race

The Western States 100 mile race was first held in 1974, with 14 runners taking part in the race. The race was the brainchild of Gordy Ainsleigh, who wanted to see if he could run 100 miles across the Sierra Nevada mountains in under 24 hours. He finished the race in 23 hours and 42 minutes, and the Western States 100 mile race was born.

The Western States 100 mile race has grown in popularity over the years, with hundreds of runners from around the world participating in the race. The race is significant because it's one of the oldest and most prestigious ultramarathons in the world, and it's known for its challenging terrain and extreme weather conditions.

Significance of the Western States 100 Mile Race

The Western States 100 mile race is significant because it's one of the most challenging and prestigious ultramarathons in the world. The race takes place in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which means runners will face steep climbs, rocky terrain, and extreme weather conditions.

The race is also significant because of its history and tradition. The Western States 100 mile race is one of the oldest ultramarathons in the world and has inspired other iconic ultramarathons like the Leadville 100 and the Hardrock 100.

Qualification


In order to participate in the Western States 100 mile race, runners must first qualify. Qualifying standards are based on previous race times and distances, and vary depending on the runner's age and gender. For example, to qualify for the 2022 race, a male runner between the ages of 18-29 must have completed a qualifying 100 km race in under 14 hours, or a 100 mile race in under 22 hours. A female runner in the same age range must have completed a qualifying 100 km race in under 16 hours, or a 100 mile race in under 24 hours. For a full list of qualifying standards and requirements, be sure to check out the Western States Endurance Run website.

In addition to meeting the regular qualifying standards, elite athletes may also be invited to participate in the race based on their previous performances at “Golden Ticket” races. The Western States Endurance Run Foundation has established guidelines for elite athlete entry, which take into account an athlete's previous race results, ranking in the Ultra-Trail World Tour, and other factors. Elite athletes who have not met the qualifying standards may also apply for entry through the lottery system, although their chances of being selected are lower than those of runners who have met the regular qualifying standards.

Training for the Western States 100 Mile Race

Training for the Western States 100 mile race requires a significant commitment of time and effort. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the race:

  1. Build your endurance: The Western States 100 mile race is a long and challenging race, and you'll need to build your endurance to complete the race. Most training plans recommend at least six months of training leading up to the race.
  2. Focus on hill training: The Western States 100 mile race is known for its steep climbs and descents, so it's essential to include hill training in your training plan. This includes running uphill and downhill on steep terrain, as well as incorporating stairs and lunges into your strength training.
  3. Train in extreme conditions: The Western States 100 mile race can have extreme weather conditions, including high heat and cold temperatures. Train in these conditions to prepare your body for the race.
  4. Practice fueling: Proper nutrition is essential for ultramarathon training. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Also, practice fueling during your long runs to figure out what works best for you.
  5. Get the right gear: Make sure you have the right gear for the race, including trail shoes, comfortable clothing, and appropriate layers for the weather conditions.
  6. Rest and recover: Rest and recovery are just as important as training. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, taking rest days, and stretching or foam rolling to prevent injury.
  7. Join a running group: Joining a running group can provide motivation, support, and advice during your training. Look for local trail running clubs or online communities for support and inspiration.

Conclusion

The Western States 100 mile race is a challenging and prestigious ultramarathon that requires a significant commitment of time and effort to train for.

If you're thinking about running the Western States 100 mile race, make sure you give yourself enough time to train and prepare properly. And if you want to run your best, consider working with a coach. A coach can provide guidance on your training plan, offer personalized advice, and help you stay accountable to your goals.

Want to learn more?

We’re stoked you want to get in touch! Our real, live human staff of elite athlete-coaches will get back to you as soon as we can.

Tyler Andrews

Learn More

Fredy Moposita

Learn More

Kathy Pico

Learn More

Morgon Latimore

Learn More

Amelia Boone

Learn More

Coree Woltering

Learn More

Mike Wardian

Learn More

Pete Kostelnick

Learn More

Alicja Konieczek

Learn More

Maggie Fox

Learn More

Zandy Mangold

Learn More

Emily Schmitz

Learn More

Sarah Burns

Learn More

Kimber Mattox

Learn More

Jon Waldron

Learn More

Sue McNatt

Learn More

Carolyn Stocker

Learn More

Calvin Lehn

Learn More
Slider Left
Slider Right