Are you sick of all these Western States updates yet? We hope not 🙂 Our friends over at Ultrarunnerpodcast.com have done a fantastic interview with the guy who started it all – Gordy Ainsleigh. If you know anything about the history of this race, it began 38 years ago with Gordy and is widely regarded as the start of the 100 mile ultra running scene. Click here to listen.
At the time, the trail was used only by horses participating in the 24-hour Western States Trail Ride. When his horse went lame prior to the race, Ainsleigh decided he would run the torturous 100 miles (160 km) of mountain trail from the Squaw Valley Ski Resort to Auburn, California, rather than look for another horse to ride. Ainsleigh completed the ‘equestrian race’, without a horse, in 23 hours and 47 minutes. This was the beginning of the Western States Endurance Run, and the beginning of the modern sport of ultradistance trail running.
Gordy has some interesting views on food, and admits that when he first ran this race, he did the entire run on sports drink – legend. He’s lining up this year yet again, and as the dean of trail ultra running, Ainsleigh has finished the Western States 100 twenty-two times. His fastest time was 20:55, in 1984.