After 2 successful wins this year, one in Hong Kong and one in Australia, Ryan Sandes has set his sights on the oldest ultra-trail run event in the world – The Western States 100miler – taking place on the 23rd of June 2012.
The run is set along the original Western States Trail starting at Squaw Valley, California and ending in Auburn, California, covering a staggering 160km. The trail climbs from the Squaw Valley floor (6200feet above sea level) to Emigrant Pass (8750feet above sea level) a climb of roughly 2550 vertical feet in the first 7.2km. From the pass, following the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850’s, climbing another 15 540 feet and descending 22 970 feet before reaching Auburn. Most of the trail passes through remote and rugged territory, accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters.
The race originated in 1955 when the late Wendell T. Robie rode the Western States Trail from Squaw Valley to Auburn with 5 other horsemen, to prove that horses could cover 160km in one day; officially starting the annual Western States Trail Ride. In 1974, Gordy Ashleigh joined the ride to see if he could complete the course on foot – 23hrs42min later Gordy arrived in Auburn proving runners could run the 160km in less than one day. Last year Killian Jornet won the event in a time of 15hrs34min24sec.
“I am super excited to be part of such an iconic race and can’t wait to start running,” says Ryan Sandes. “The course should suit me but 100 miles is a long way so I won’t be getting too far ahead of myself. My main focus will be to make the most of the experience and have a fun day out on the trails.”
Western States will be Sandes second 100miler event, and set to be his toughest race yet. His competition for this year’s race include; 2011 Western States 100miler winner, Killian Jornet; Miguel Heras, the 2010 TNF San Francisco winner, 2011 Zugspitz Ultra trail winner and 2011 Transvalcunia winner; Mike Wolfe , who came 2nd in the 2011 Western States 100miler and won TNF San Francisco 2011 and Nick Clarke placed 3rd in the 2011 Western States 100miler to mention a few.