The Western States 100 is one of the most famous and most prestigious ultra events in the world. Taking place on an annual basis in California, the race is seen by many in the world of ultra and trail racing as the biggest event of the year.
Several look towards the race in a similar way that road runners target Boston. In a sense, it’s viewed as the ultra championships though it has not been given that label formally.
Those who are unable to enter into and run the course will soon be able to get a sense of it virtually. Coming available, is 360-degree video of the course which will give runners insight as to what it’s like. That means that those considering the event can get a glimpse of some of the terrain and the route from afar.
To capture that footage, trail runners took the Google street view “Trekker” backpack along the course. Where Google street view takes footage of residential and well-traveled roads, the Trekker is for more out of bounds areas. Recently released is the video below which details how the runners approach this project.
This has been in the works for a little while. Earlier this spring, it was announced that teams of runners would be taking cameras along the course to film it.
There has been a lot of curiosity about this race and the 360-degree shots wouldn’t be the first time that runners have seen video of the route. In the video (above) 25-time finisher Tim Twietmeyer is featured explaining why he loves to race this iconic ultra event. “When I’m out there racing, it’s the mountain and me in harmony trying to get to the finish line and beat the clock,” he says. “The terrain will tell you what you should be doing if you just pay attention and listen.” As well, runners can appreciate views of twisting trails, steep drop-offs and mountain scenery– in case they weren’t already tempted to check it out.
An early summer event, the 2016 running of Western States happened over the weekend with the winner being the youngest so far to take the title in the 100-mile competition. Andrew Miller, 20, placed first after the initial first-place runner made an error on the course. See the recap here.
Canadian trail runner of the moment, Alissa St Laurent, 31, came in fifth place overall. St Laurent has been dominating trail races lately and became the first woman to flat out win the Canadian Death Race last year.