Saturday, 27 June 2015

Western States 100 week Thu 25th

This was the first day of official activities, which began with the Western States welcome by Race Director Craig Thornley and WSER Foundation President John Trent. The RD has changed since I was last here. The previous RD was Greg Soderlund. The only familiar face for me was Mo Livermore, who has been a part of the race since its inception. You would never believe it to look at her; she never seems to age. Our greeting was a reunion of old friends. She remembers me for completing the very hot 2006 event with no heat training and without a single salt tablet, when most other runners were popping S-caps like there was no tomorrow. (There nearly was no tomorrow for those who overdid it. Vomiting and DNFs were common.) Latest medical research recommends doing exactly what I did instinctively back then - drink to feel as thirst dictates and take an electrolyte drink or soup at aid stations if salt in food is not enough.

After the welcome we hiked to Emigrant Pass for the brief ceremony at noon. I joined WS volunteer 'UltrAlena' Hansen to share the flag carrying. Alena will be volunteering at Rucky-Chucky nearside this year. On the way up we breathed the dust of heavy construction vehicles as they climbed to chair lift construction works.
A big crane that reminds me of Jez.
A cement mixer kicks up the dust.
The ceremony at the top with Mo Livermore and Tony Rossmann was moving. Tony's description and pointing out of the route to beyond Robinson Flat was particularly interesting. I recall while running the race in previous years that, as we leave Robinson Flat and run around Little Bald Mountain, the trail briefly turns back and we can see all the way back to Emigrant Pass. This is with more than 30 miles behind us. After that we begin to lose altitude as the route descends towards the canyons (even though we've already been through the first canyon before the climb to Robinson Flat).
Tony Rossmann and Mo Livermore conduct the ceremony.
At the top I met up with three other UK runners James Poole, Chris Howe and Henry Church. James had been feeling so energetic he went mountain climbing as soon as he arrived.

James descends his mountain.
After the ceremony we descended back to High Camp where we met the oldest entrant Gary Knipling, who does pretty well for a 71yo.
With 71yo Gary Knipling, oldest competitor at WS this year.
The 4th cable car ride of the week to the bottom saw us proceed by way of the newly erected starting arch to lunch at Fireside Pizza. It took my mind back to the pizza eating competition I had with Jez Bragg and Paul Charteris back in 2008 (I think). There was none of that shenanigans this time.
Henry, James, Chris, me - time to race start.
Here are the day's photos.

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