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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...
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