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Hanson’s up for a 100-mile adventure

Western States Profile
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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A quiet Saturday night in late June several years ago led Cody Hanson and his girlfriend Kristen Reichardt to the commotion at Le Febvre Stadium. The drama of the Western States Endurance Run finish at the Placer High track was enough to convince the couple that they wanted to join the adventure. Hanson graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last Saturday. As many of his fellow graduates headed to Europe for the summer or made plans to relax on the beach, Hanson headed home to Auburn for some heat training in the American River Canyon before his grueling 100-mile test on June 25. “We had nothing else to do on a Saturday night and we watched the finish. Now four or five years later, I’m ready to do it,” Hanson said. “I had a lot to think about (at school), but running has always been kind of an escape. As far as coordinating and planning everything, it’s a little overwhelming. But that’s part of the challenge. I might as well go do the adventure now.” Hanson’s affection for running developed slowly. It began shortly after meeting his Reichardt, who has competed in triathlons and other endurance events since graduating from Placer. “When your girlfriend is a runner, all of a sudden you like to run too,” Hanson said. “But during high school I hated running.” The two started training for ultras on their own before hooking up with the SLO Trail Runners in San Luis Obispo. Thomas Reiss, the course record holder at the Tahoe Rim Trail 50-miler, and former Cool runners Erik and Tera Dube, helped mentor Hanson and Reichardt after they confessed their goal of running Western States. Hanson appreciates the wisdom of the older runners. At age 22, he is one of the youngest competitors in the Western States field. “I learn a lot from them and hear a lot of good stories,” Hanson said. “We’ve met a lot of good people in the sport.” Hanson and Reichardt both entered the lottery for Western States last year. Hanson got picked. Reichardt will have to wait at least one more year. A nagging knee injury kept Hanson from logging all the training miles he had hoped for this spring. But he still managed to put in between 40 and 50 miles nearly every weekend, mixing in weight lifting, cross-fit and cycling during the week while he attended school. The last race he completed was the Helen Klein 50-miler in November. He’s also run the White River 50 and the Silver State 50 since diving into the sport two years ago. The goal when he takes off from Squaw Valley on June 25 will be to reach the Placer track within the 30-hour time limit. “Ideally I’d try to get in under 24 hours,” Hanson said. “But I don’t think I’m trained enough. Unless I have a really awesome day with no problems, if I just finish, I’ll be really stoked.” After focusing solely on running since January, Hanson said he looks forward to spending more time on his mountain bike and competing in adventure races. He has a job lined up at 20/20 Creative Group in San Luis Obispo as an account coordinator. He plans to keep trail running as a hobby for many years to come. “For me it’s not so much that I really like running as being out in the mountains,” Hanson said. “I kind of just like to go on a big adventure.”