Boulder’s Clare Gallagher Wins Western States, Trained in the Arctic

By Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online

Over the weekend, Jim Walmsley and Clare Gallagher took advantage of unusually cool conditions to win the men and women’s races in the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. Walmsley improved his own course record from last year by more than 20 minutes, finishing in 14:09:28. Meanwhile, Gallagher completed the trek from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California in 17:23:25—the second-fastest time ever in the women’s race—after fending off a late challenge from Brittany Peterson. The two women and their pacers were actually running in a small pack with less than ten miles to go before Gallagher put in a crucial surge after the Pointed Rocks aid station at mile 94. (Astonishingly, this effort garnered her a Strava CR for the climb after Robie Point, which comes roughly 98 miles into the race.) In the end, Peterson came in second by eleven minutes—a photo finish by ultrarunning standards. It was Gallagher’s first Western States win, and a fight right up to the end. 

“When Brittany caught up to me, I didn’t think about the 94 miles I’d just run. All I thought about was that this had just turned into a six-mile race,” Gallagher says. “I redlined harder than I’ve ever redlined in my entire life for six miles.”

As if her push to the finish line weren’t remarkable enough in and of itself, Gallagher had also just returned from a two-week trip to Alaska. In early June, Gallagher, who is as dedicated to her environmental activism as she is about running ludicrous distances over gnarly terrain, got a call from world-renowned climber Tommy Caldwell. Was she interested in coming on a Patagonia-sponsored expedition to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)? It was too good an opportunity to pass up. As a consequence, Gallagher’s Western States taper included her first foray into alpinism—an ascent of Mount Hubley in the Brooks Range.  

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Drug testing comes to ultra running: Western States Will Have Drug Testing at 2017

From Runners World
Western States Endurance Run Will Have Drug Testing at 2017 Race – Runner’s World

Athletes who are lining up for the 2017 Western States Endurance Run, the country’s prestigious 100-mile race that starts on June 24, in Squaw Valley, California, better brush up on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) banned substance list. Officials announced Wednesday that they will be drug testing at the Placer High School finish line for the first time this year.
The Western States board of directors has been working on creating a policy and approved a protocol that the organization is comfortable executing and can afford, said John Medinger, board president, during a phone interview with  Runner’s World .
“It’s been kicking around for a while,” he said. “The activity of people in the sport and the number of sponsored athletes has gone up. There’s been more and more discussion, concern, and chatter among the athletes wanting to make sure that they’re competing on a level playing field.”
U.S. ultra and trail running has been grappling with a shifting environment for several years. The once laid-back, no frills culture has given way to one in which more corporate brands are offering sponsorship opportunities for top talent, thereby attracting faster athletes, some of whom come with road or track racing pedigrees. With the potential for financial gain also comes the temptation to cheat…

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