Thursday, June 22, 2023

As 50th Western States approaches, Gordy Ainsleigh reflects on how it all began - Full Article

As the 50th annual Western States Endurance Run approaches, Gordy Ainsleigh reflects on how it all began

Jordan Georgeson
Jun 21, 2023

With less than a week until the 50th Western States Endurance Run, Gordy Ainsleigh reflects on how it all began.

Ainsleigh is a pioneer in the ultrarunning world, the James Naismith of trail running, as he paved the way for the sport to burst onto the international stage.

He first ran the Western States Trail during the 1974 Tevis Cup on a 107-degree day, finishing in 23 hours and 42 minutes and proving a person could trek the treacherous trail in under a day.

The run was not easy for Ainsleigh, who pushed his body to the limit but kept powering through, not wanting to disappoint friends riding alongside him.

“I was running with riders who are by and large friends of mine. I didn't want to quit, but I was miserable,” Ainsleigh said...

Read more here:

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The 2023 Western States 100 Endurance Run Preview - Full Story

Brian Metzler
Mon, June 19, 2023,

This article originally appeared on Outside

Where would ultra-distance trail running be without Gordy Ainsleigh? Probably not on the verge of celebrating 50 years of a 100-mile trail race from Olympic Valley to Auburn, California.

But thanks to Ainsleigh--and, of course, thousands of others that followed in his footsteps--the 50th Western States Endurance Run (a.k.a. the Western States 100) will get underway just before sunrise on June 24.

With a legacy tied to Ainsleigh's legendary effort 49 years ago this summer, the 2023 Western States 100 will send 381 runners on a 100.2-mile journey from the base of the Palisades Tahoe ski slopes on its legendary 100-mile route to the Placer High School track down in Auburn. It's not the oldest ultra-distance trail race of modern times, but it's one of the most prestigious because it really put the ultra-trail discipline and the 100-mile race distance on the map.

If you haven't heard the story, Ainsleigh had participated in the regionally popular 24-hour Tevis Cup horseback riding event a few times in the early 1970s, but in 1973 his horse went lame and he intended to buy another horse to compete in the next year's event. But, he says, he "never got around to it," and so he decided to try to run the entire length of the course...

Read more here:

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Horseback trail team prepares for last long-haul ride in NZ’s back country

Black Saddle/Alpine Horse Safaris photo - Full Article

June 15, 2023
Emma Barron

When Jenny and Lawrie O’Carroll bought Waitohi Downs just outside of Christchurch in 1981 they started to breed their Clydesdale Thoroughbred-cross horses and in 1992 the husband and wife team began offering Kiwis and foreign adventurers alike the opportunity to join expeditions through the high country of the Southern Alps.

You’ve got to be made of hard stuff to commit to such an undertaking. Many would balk at the idea of traversing snowy mountain ridgelines and fording swollen rivers, all while managing a herd of up to 18 horses and enough food, water, gas, tents, sleeping bags, loaded swags, and emergency supplies to keep 10 riders safe, dry and happy.

But manage they have, drawing on an old-school sense of adventure, a tough can-do attitude, classic Kiwi No.8 wire practicality and a lifetime of working on stations and raising horses. The 1012-hectare Waitohi Downs was Lawrie’s childhood home...

Read more here:

Monday, June 05, 2023

The Great Endurance Horse Race of 1908 - Full Article

June 3, 2023

The 1975 movie, Bite the Bullet, with Gene Hackman, Candice Bergan and James Coburn, was about a 700-mile endurance horse race. The inspiration for the movie was a 600-mile horse race held from Evanston, Wyoming to Denver, Colorado, in 1908.

Western author, Jack Schaefer author of Shane and Monte Walsh, wrote a small book titled, The Great Endurance Horse Race, published in 1963, about the race. The race was started to prove the superiority of the western bronco over the Thoroughbred as a horse for the Army.

Although the race took place between Evanston and Denver, there were a couple of Sheridan connections...

Read more here: