The 2019 Western States Endurance Run (WSER) is breaking records. Clare Gallagher just won the women’s race in the second fastest time in history in a time of 17:23:25. (Ellie Greenwood still has the course record set in 2012 of 16:47:19). Following Gallagher’s finish, Idaho’s Brittany Peterson raced to second in 17:34:29 and Nebraska’s Kaci Lickteig finished her sixth WSER in third in 17:55:55.
This may be the first time in the race’s 46 year history that the top three women finish below 18 hours. Immediately at the finish line, Gallagher explained that in the last six miles she “completely blacked out. I was quietly behind Courtney [Dauwalter] all day. She was an hour ahead and thought, ‘well someone has to be second.'”
When Dauwalter dropped at mile 79, Gallagher began running even harder. Peterson was on her tail, and Gallagher “was running very scared. I stopped eating from the last 20 miles on, which I don’t condone.” Gallagher even told us she consumed a Frappuccino at one point.
When Peterson came up behind Gallagher at mile 93, Gallagher was near the spot she had DNFd two years ago at WSER. “Brittany and I sprinted into mile 94 together, and then I just didn’t stop.” Gallagher was unsure of her training, since she had spent the last two weeks in Northern Alaska raising awareness to prevent oil drilling.
Petersen came into the finish 11 minutes later with the fourth fastest time ever in women’s WSER history. Lickteig finished her second sub-18 hour WSER 11 minutes after Petersen stating, “I just love this race. I feel like it’s a part of me.”