Vancouver’s Kathryn Drew has been setting her sights on the iconic Western States 100-mile Endurance Run (WSER) for many years. After earning her Golden Ticket at Canyons 100K in April, she toed the line with some of the most well-known ultra-trail runners in the world. In a record-breaking year at WSER, Drew crossed the finish line in 18:59:08, in eighth place–making her one of the only Canadians to run that fast in the 46-year history of the race.

RELATED: Clare Gallagher wins WSER in second fastest time ever

Drew with her crew from Fraser Street Run Club at the finish line

Western States is known as The Big Dance. So logically, Drew decided to dance big to Beastie Boys. At mile 80 (100K into the race), Drew, her crew and pacers pulled out the moves. She raced hard all day, but never stopped smiling while cracking sarcastic jokes. Twenty miles later, she sprinted onto Placer High track as one of the fastest Canadians to ever finish WSER.

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When we asked what shoes she changed into at the mile 62 aid station, Drew joked, “They’re Chanel.” Out of the top 20 male and female finishers, Drew was the only one without a sponsor. The last few months Drew has had some assistance from Kintec, a local running store. However, over the last few years, she has spent thousands of her own dollars on Wildhorses (not Chanel), Huma gels, race entries, and travelling as she races to the top. In 2019 alone she has inspired the Canadian and international running community at Bandera 100K (3rd), Chuckanut 50K (1st), Canyons 100K (1st), Trail World Championships, and now Western States.

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Western States 100mile!! It’s hard to put into words what an incredible day this was. There were so many things that made it special but the most important to me was my crew. I can’t say enough about these amazing people who took time off work and came out to support me through this 100 mile journey. I couldn’t have done it without them. Whether it was Pre-race organizing, shoving calories at me, spraying me with sunscreen (sometimes right in my eyes 😝), changing my shoes or making a Beastie Boys music video at mile 80, this group ensured I was set and ready (and in great spirits) to run 100 miles. They helped me squeak in under 19hours and landed a spot as 8th female – which means I get an automatic entry for next year! Woo! I’m forever grateful to @runningwithboris @capmodel @codycallon @peak_power @jessebooi @aldipsn @supersocco and Jeremey for coming on this adventure with me! . The power pack of women was back! The women’s field was insane this year and it was so fun to get to run with so many of them – especially through the snowy patches at the start. A special shout out to @kaytlyn_g and @ladiahallie for keeping the energy high and working together after dusty corners ❤️(Yay for pnw women!) Also, A huge congrats to my fellow Canadian @magnusgoatrunner for finishing top 20 and powering through a tough day! . Getting to see coach @addiedoesstuff and @meg_runs_happy at the 100k mark for an ever so helpful pep talk and at the finish line was another highlight- David encouraged me to pursue this goal of running Western, and Im so grateful that he has always pushed me to ‘dream big'! Thanks to both of you for being such an awesome duo that brings so much joy to the running community! . @wser you put on an incredible event and have some of the best volunteers and aid stations out there. It’s hard not to stop and hang out with them all day! Can’t wait to come back next year 🤗 . A HUGE thanks to @kintecfootwear and @pipvass for believing in me and giving me support towards these races- especially Western States! #worldatmyfeet #wser #westernstates100 #kintecfootwear #katfromcanada #gottabekd #teamswap #trailrunning #intergalactic

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Drew wasn’t the only Canadian crossing the finish line at Western States this year. Vancouver’s talented Kim Magnus raced to top 20. Alissa St. Laurent finished her third WSER in 22nd place. Other Canadians included Cedric Chavanne (53rd male), Nathaniel Couture (40th male), Ted Croll (244th male), Andre Erlank (106th male), Rod Giachetta (253rd male), Nicolas Guayasamin (144th male), Simon Marcil (63rd male), and Carsten Meyer-Jacob (73rd male).

Top 10 women with Kat Drew third from right. Photo: Dave Stevens

Kat from Canada’s top-10 performance at Western States means she has a guaranteed entry for The Big Dance in 2020. Although she could still be buying her own fuel for her next ultra, there is no doubt Drew will continue to shock the trail and ultraunning world–with her results as well as her dance moves.

RELATED: How Jim Walmsley broke his own record at Western States

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