Faces From the Pack at The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run

The 2022 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run is almost underway! This point-to-point 100-mile footrace from Palisades Tahoe ski village in Olympic Valley, CA to the finish on the track at Placer High School in Auburn, California draws athletes from around the world to compete in one of the country’s most historic and renowned ultramarathons.

Race week action began Thursday, June 23 with the annual hike to High Camp. This four mile hike followed the beginning of the Western States 100 Mile course and featured over 2,500 feet of elevation gain in just four miles. The event was open to all runners, crew/family and was a great opportunity to see the first part of the course and mingle with others there for the event.

Unfortunately, due to an impending storm, the ski resort tram that offers participants rides back down from High Camp was not operational and race organizers decided to cancel the hike. In typical trail running fashion, that did not stop a large handful of participants from hiking up to High Camp on their own.

For this article, the American Trail Running Association’s (ATRA) very own Peter Maksimow interviewed these hard-core runners and crew while they trekked to High Camp about their reasons for being at the 2022 Western States 100 Mile.

Sean Greaney (Seattle, WA). Why are you running Western States?
“I’m running this race because I was lucky enough to get in through the lottery. When I first started ultrarunning, I heard about Western States and the many exciting stories about it. It became one of my dreams to do it and now I’ve run it a couple times, but the 24-hour buckle has eluded me. I feel well prepared from my previous experiences running this race and I believe I have the potential to do it this year. I’m psyched to give it a shot!”

Western States

Sean Greaney

Steven LaBranch (Oakdale, CT). Why are you running Western States?
“This is my second time running Western States and I’m going for the ultrarunning slam (Wasatch 100, Old Dominion, Vermont 100 and Western States 100 Mile). I like endurance races that send you into the abyss of despair and negativity and learning to fight your way through these emotions, as opposed to just trying to run really fast.”

Western States

Steven LaBranch

Shannon Dye (Chattanooga, TN). What are you looking forward to most as a pacer at Western States?
“I’m crewing my runner for the second time at Western States. Pacing is a delicate balance. There is a give-and-take between pushing them to get up and go but also tuning into where they are and what they want. I look at hundred milers like famous ultrarunner Scott Jurek once said, “One hundred mile races are just a big problem and all you’re doing is solving it!”. I love crewing and pacing and it’s a different experience every time.”

Western States

Shannon Dye

Zoran Kurdija (Zagreb, Croatia). Why are you running Western States?
“This is my first time running Western States and it’s been a long three years of waiting to get into the race. It’s great to be here on the first few miles of the course. My main goal is to enjoy the race and do my best!”

Western States

Zoran Kurdija

Martin Cox (Tende, France). Why are you running Western States?
“I’m a coach and I have quite a few runners doing ultramarathons. I come from a background of shorter distance running (half marathons) and the main reason I’m running Western States is to understand ultrarunning. I’m not going to give my athletes a workout that I haven’t done myself!”

Western States

Martin Cox

Jody Thrume (New Berlin, WI). What are you looking forward to most being a crew member at Western States?
“This will be my husband’s first time running Western States and I’m looking forward to watching him cross the finish line. He’s found many innovative ways to train for the heat and hills in his training environment here in Wisconsin.”

Western States

Jody Thrume

Want more pre-race stories from the 2022 Western States 100? Check out our other pre-race articles “Runners To Watch at the 2022 Western States 100-Mile” plus an interview with race favorite Emily Hawgood from Zimbabwe.

Follow our live updates and content from Western States on the ATRA social media channels; YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also, follow our new hashtag #palisadestoplacer on social media.

Can’t make it the Sierra Nevada mountains to watch Western States in person? You can see every inch of the course on Google Maps thanks to ATRA’s 2016 Western States Trekker project. Check out our trekker webpage for street-view links to all the aid stations and other notable points on the historic course. Watson Monument / Emigrant Pass Marker embedded below.