Western States 100, one of the oldest and most challenging ultra-trail runs in the world, is scheduled to take place on Saturday, when competitors will depart from the Squaw Valley ski resort and run 100 miles along the Western States Trail, before ending in Auburn, California.
Each year the event attracts some of the best ultra-runners from around the globe, who come to run one of the toughest trails around. The race begins on the Squaw Valley floor, which is located at 6200 feet, with the first leg running up more than 2550 feet of vertical gain to Emigrant Pass, which is at 8750 feet. That all takes place in just the first 4.5 miles, from there it's just another 95.5 miles to the finish line.
The route runs through remote backcountry with plenty of elevation gains, both up and down. In total, the racers will gain more than 18,000 feet while descending more than 23,000. It is a brutal run through some stunning scenery, but despite the distance and demanding trails, the trop male runners will finish in about 16 hours, while the ladies will begin coming across the finish line in about 18 hours.
These runners are simply amazing. This is one grueling event, but they manage to cover the 100 miles of trail none-the-less. And what do they get for finishing the event? A belt buckle! But it just might be the most coveted belt buckle in the entire endurance sports world.