Western States record broken

By: Cameron Salerno
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It’s a record that was bound to be broken.

The Western States is a 100-mile race, with extreme heat and brutal terrain.

But that couldn’t stop the over 360 runners from taking part.

And it couldn’t stop Jim Walmsley of Flagstaff, Ariz. from shattering the course record.

“It was extremely dry out so I was just concentrating on staying wet,” Walmsley said after winning the Western States 100 on Saturday. “It was a very difficult course but also very rewarding to accomplish.”

The previous record was held by Tim Olson, who in 2012 ran the race in 14 hours and 46 minutes. Walmsley beat that by over 16 minutes to finish the race in a jaw-dropping time of 14 and half hours.

“Coming into today I didn’t think I would be able to make my splits in order to break the record,” Walmsley said “It was just a very special day and I had a ton of crowd support.”

Walmsley is very familiar to this race and course. The last two years he had to opportunity to finish first but fell short from mental mistakes. But he capitalized on his chance to finish first this time.

“It has been an extremely long road to get back here after letting the last two years slip away,” Walmsley said. “It definitely was hard to try this race again after what happened the past two years but I’m glad I did and I wouldn’t want to race in any other race.”

Finishing behind Walmsley was Francois Dhaene from France. He finished 84 minutes behind Walmsley.

“The course as well as the heat was brutal,” Dhaene said. “I wanted to keep Jim motivated by running behind him the whole time and he took that motivation to finish first, he had a very strong performance."

The first woman finisher was Courtney Dauwalter from Golden, Colo. She finished the course in 17 hours and 27 minutes. She beat out Kaytlyn Gerbin from Issaquah, Wash., by 73 minutes.

Overall, 299 out of 376 completed the race. The last qualifying finisher was Manouch Shirvanioun of Grass Valley - an Auburn Recreation District employee - who just barely made the 30-hour cutoff, finishing in 29 hours and 55 minutes.