And anyway, it was the phone call my Dad was waiting for! No longer does he need to worry (quite so much) about long term joint damage. And now I can safely reassure him about how much kinder the soft packed mountain trails are than hundreds of miles of tarmac.
So, to Western States! The race is 100 miles of well-maintained trail through the mountains and canyons of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Northern California, from Squaw Valley ski resort, near Lake Tahoe, to a small town called Auburn. It will be held on 29th June next year. Originally a horse race, it was run for the first time in 1974 by Gordy Ainsleigh (whose horse was lame) leading to the concept of 100 mile races being widely adopted. It's now hugely competitive with entry through a lottery system meaning applicants who pass the entry requirements have only a 7% chance of success. I am still feeling incredibly lucky but also sorry for those UK applicants who didn't get picked.
|The Western States Course Profile|
I may never get the chance to run this race again so I'll be putting absolutely everything into doing my best next June. Flights are booked, crew pleas posted on forums, lists obsessively written, training plans in progress. I hope to join up with West Highland Way guys and gals for some hill training, and get out for as many mountainous hikes as humanly possible, fast-hiking up, running down, starting with the week on Knoydart over New Year. The WS course has over 22,000 feet of downhill so I need to get very comfortable to dealing with the vertical swiftly, sensibly and without injury.
|Geoff Roes & Anton Krupicka running the WSER100|
|One of the many downhill sections of the race|
So...if anyone fancies joining in training - or indeed a week or two of running in California - just shout. Until then, I'm looking forward to blowing the cobwebs away at the Country to Capital ultra (from Bucks to London along the Grand Union Canal) on 12th Jan, followed by the Thames Trot 50 miler (Oxford to Henley-on-Thames) in early Feb. Bring this year on!
Wishing you all a Happy Hogmanay and healthy, adventurous 2013.