After 5 years of qualifying and entering the lottery, my brother was finally selected to run the 2019 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. He put together a serious training program and reached out to friends and family to help him achieve his goal. I was having a blast exploring Alaska, but even the allure of The Last Frontier wouldn’t keep me from catching a flight back to the Lower 48 and crewing the Western States Endurance run!
The Western States Endurance Run Film
Western States is not only the pioneering 100 mile endurance run, it is one of the premiere 100 milers in the world today. The event is so popular that for the 2019 race 4,909 runners qualified and entered the lottery for only 369 spots. It was Tyler’s 5th year in the lottery, and he was finally selected.
I flew down from Alaska for the race, leaving my truck camper in Fairbanks, to document Tyler’s adventure into uncharted territory between Squaw Valley and Auburn, California. Tyler had a big crew including friends, fellow ultrarunners, and family, all clad in custom made “Hey Buddy” tie-dyed t-shirts that couldn’t be missed.
The star of the show though was the giant Tyler Head that would make the rounds from aid station to aid station and take over many-a-Instagram feeds during the 100 mile race!
After the mandatory crew beer mile, a last minute gear check, and going to bed early, we were up long before dawn on race day, making our way to Squaw Valley. With pre-race jitters, Tyler toed the line, the gun went off, and he was gone.
Our crew split up into 2 vehicles and leapfrogged down the course, taking care of Tyler at different aid stations, refilling his pack with food and water, helping change out socks, reapplying sunscreen, and cooling him down with ice. By Foresthill, mile 62, the crew was reunited and Tyler took off into the fading daylight with his first pacer, Kan. Back in 2014 I paced my friend Juan from here to mile 92 and I knew the darkness that these guys were heading into.
Several hours later Tyler and Kan emerged from the dark into the Green Gate aid station at mile 79.8 and Peter jumped in to pace Tyler to the finish. The crew packed up and continued down the trail, looking forward to the sunrise.
Tyler cruised through more miles and with renewed energy pushed into Robie Point, the final aid station, and ran the last stretch with his crew to the finish.
Tyler missed his original goal of a 24 hour finish, but came in strong in 27 hours and 51 minutes, still and incredible feat. After finishing, he hobbled to the crew vehicles, collapsed into a camp chair, kicked the shoes off his achy feet, and relaxed with an ice cold beer.
The next day our crew, along with fellow ultrarunning friends, rented a pontoon boat on Folsom Lake and celebrated the race. The next day, after crewing the Western States Endurance Run, I was back on a flight to Alaska to continue my summer adventure in The Last Frontier!
For the full film of Tyler Clemens and the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, click HERE.