The clock is ticking to the start of the Western States 100 Endurance Run, June 24-25, and it looks like recent hot temperatures have taken care of much of the snowpack. As a result, race organizers say they do not plan to use alternative snow routes this year.
New this year, Western States has partnered with an independent third party to conduct drug tests. The goal is to keep performance enhancing drugs, or PEDs, from entering into the play.
Although all runners could be subjected to drug testing, the focus will be on the elite men’s and women’s finishers field, according to a Western States news release. Possible candidates include top 10 men and women finishers; age-group winners; or 10 randomly selected, but predetermined, finishers from the top 20 men and women.
Entry into Western States, considered by many the Super Bowl of ultra-running, is through a lottery held the previous December. This year, 369 runners are on the official entrant list.
Among those lucky individuals is Modesto’s Shane Jones, who took up ultra-running a few years ago as way to change some bad habits he developed over the years. Jones has shed pounds, taken up a healthy lifestyle and become a ravenous mountain goat.
The ultra begins at 5 a.m. in Squaw Valley and finishes on the track at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. During the run, participants will climb a total of 18,090 feet and descend 22,970 feet. View the course elevation map by clicking here.
The event has a 30-hour cutoff time, which is strictly enforced. All runners must finish by 10:59:59 a.m. to be eligible for an award. Those unlucky enough to miss the cutoff are given a ride by course sweepers to the next aid station on horseback.
Those completing the 100.2-mile course in less than 24 hours earn a silver belt buckle; those running between 24 and 30 hours receive a bronze belt buckle.
You can track your favorite runner’s progress online at http://www.ultralive.net/. iRunFar also will have a live camera feed at the start line in Squaw Valley as well as the finish line at Placer High in Auburndale.
Best of luck to all entrants.