The 2019 Western States 100-mile Endurance Run (WSER) was one for the books. In almost perfect weather conditions, Jim Walmsley broke his 2018 course record, Clare Gallagher ran the second fastest female time in history, 86 percent of runners finished (24 percent female), 130 runners under 24 years old, a new 50-59 age group record was set, top 10 men finished under 16 hours, and top three under 18 hours. Yet despite these incredible victories, Ellie Greenwood’s course record still remains.
The hype lingering from last weekend’s race is undoubtedly well-deserved. However, so is an acknowledgement of Greenwood’s performance at WSER in 2012. Greenwood set a new female course record of 16:47:19, and for seven years, no woman has come close to touching it. Despite fast times for both men and women in the 2019 race, Greenwood’s record still stands strong.
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#tbt A little self indulgent trip down memory lane. It’s Statesmas next week and I’ll be at the sidelines hanging out, helping a little, seeing some old(er) faces. It will be a little sad to think these old legs don’t want to run that far any more but I’m excited to cheer on my coaching clients Hideo, Gerad and Luzia, and good friends like Kim. A woman will run faster than 16:47 one year and it might be this year and I’ll be a little gutted but I’ll give them a congratulatory hug. But no one can ever take away that day when I had the run of my life with five wonderful friends helping me along the way before one of my idols, Nikki Kimball, presented me with the trophy. It was a good day and I’m forever grateful for it. . #seeyouonthesidelinesinsquaw #ws2012
Gallagher won the 2019 WSER as the second fastest time ever in 17:23:24, beating Courtney Dauwalter’s 2018 winning time of 17:34:29. The top three women of this year’s race are now recorded as the top 10 finishing times in its 46 year history. At one point in this year’s race, Dauwalter was on track for setting a new women’s course record. The race even included a sprint finish for fifth and sixth place between Camelia Mayfield and Kaytlyn Gerbin. Top women and top men broke records this year, yet Greenwood’s record remains unbeatable.
The 2019 winner Walmsley and Greenwood not only share the current course record at WSER, they do for the JFK 50-mile as well. Greenwood’s running resume also includes two-time winner of 100K World Championships and winner of the Comrades Marathon.
Canadian Rob Krar (based in Flagstaff, Arizona), has won WSER twice, and holds two of the top 10 overall times in WSER history. Krar won the race in 2014 in 14:53:22 and 2015 in 14:48:59.
Greenwood was living in Banff, Alta. in 2012 when she set the record. Born in the UK, she was a Permanent Resident of Canada and received her citizenship in 2015. Thus, the current women’s record is held by a Canadian.