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How Jim Walmsley broke his own record at Western States

Jim Walmsley explains how friendship helped him break his course record at 2019 WSER on Saturday

Minutes after Jim Walmsley broke his own record at the 2019 Western States 100-mile Endurance Run (WSER) in 14:09:28, he shared how he did it. He didn’t tell us about his training build, nutrition, or gear. Nor did he explain his race splits or pacing tactics. He told us about his best friend, Jared Hazen.

RELATED: Jared Hazen runs WSER in second fastest time ever

Jared Hazen beating 2018 WSER course record and placing second behind Walmsley. Photo: Dave Stevens

Hazen finished in 14:26:45 as the second-fastest time in 46 years of WSER history. Walmsley and Hazen are not only training partners, they are best friends and roommates in Flagstaff, Arizona. As founding members of The Coconino Cowboys, the men dream big and train hard, while promoting camaraderie, inclusivity, and unconditional support for one another. It’s “a really good group of guys,” explained Walmsley.

During his race, Walmsley “couldn’t wait to see Jared finish.” The last two weeks before the race, Walmsley and Hazen stopped running together entirely “because he has a goal to win, and I have a goal to win. He’s one of my best friends, and I couldn’t ask for anyone else to be pushing me today. I want nothing but the best for him,” said Walmsley after winning and setting a new course record.

RELATED: Jim Walmsley wins WSER shattering his own course record

The race wasn’t easy for anyone. For most of the day, Walmsley was being chased by Hazen, and running eight to 10 minutes ahead. Hazen dug deep during the race, aiming to close the gap. “That was motivation to keep hammering as hard as I could,” said Hazen.

The men capitalized on their friendship, while lucking out with the cooler temperatures. “We had some overcast in the canyons, and how do you not start ripping a little bit?” said Walmsley. Hazen also thought that “the weather was just about perfect.”

Walmsley at Pointed Rocks Aid Station, about to race the last six miles of 2019 WSER

Despite a successful day for both men, no race is perfect. Walmsley explained there were “constantly so many challenges,” including keeping fuel down while pushing his limits. Walmsley felt the pressure of the chase, and at one point even “told a cow to hold onto Jared for a while.”

In training, and in life, Walmsley and Hazen focus on the big picture by “continually looking for improvement. I like to think I’m getting better every time. It’s a big goal to come here and try to win. It’s one thing to pull off a win at Western States once in a lifetime. To do it twice is pretty surreal,” Walmsley explained at the finish.

Top 10 men with Walmsley and Hazen far left. Photo: Dave Stevens

In Flagstaff the men “just really elevate each other. We train really hard. We take it very seriously. We keep each other accountable,” explained Hazen. Upon their return to Flagstaff, Walmsley predicts “There will be a lot of trash talking about this one.”

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