Thursday, January 12, 2012

Unbreakable: The Western States 100

One of my Christmas presents from my brother this year was the DVD, Unbreakable, which is about the 2010 Western States 100 race. Todd & I watched it over the weekend and of course, I loved it & am truly inspired by what the human mind & body can do

The Western States 100 is a 100-mile long ultramarathon that begins in Squaw Valley, California and ends over 24 hours later in Auburn, California on a high school track. Runners will climb a total of 18,000 feet and descend over 23,000 feet all while trying to earn a coveted silver belt buckle by finishing under 24 hours.

Unbreakable follows the four lead men on this amazing journey. Hal Koerner, two time defending Western States champion, and running store entrepreneur from Ashland, Oregon. Geoff Roes, undefeated at the 100-mile distance, an organic chef from Juneau, Alaska. Anton Krupicka, undefeated in every ultramarathon he has ever started, a graduate student living in Boulder, Colorado. Kilian Jornet, the young mountain runner and two time Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc champion, from Spain. All four mean are extraordinary ultramarathoners who must push each other during the course of 100 miles, through the snow covered Sierra Nevada Mountains and the extreme heat of the American River Canyons, to see who will be proclaimed the winner.

As a marathon runner, I can appreciate the time, effort, and passion that is put into training for such an event although not to that extreme. It is mind-blowing that the human body is capable of not only running 100 miles, but also being coherent at the finish. The course record was broken the year this was filmed--the winner ran 100 miles in an astonishing 15 hours & 7 minutes! I'd heard of this race before, and in fact, one of my brother's good friends ran it this past year, but I actually had no idea what type of terrain the course consisted of. To say this course was flat & easy would be a huge understatement. I mean, running 100 miles on flat pavement probably isn't that hard so why not add huge snow-covered mountains & hot canyons to run through....said with total sarcasm. I don't even know how it's fathomable to train for such a race but I'm pretty sure these guys aren't getting much sleep at night considering one of them is in grad school and still manages to run 150-200 miles per week. Yes, that's what I said, 150-200 miles PER WEEK! Insane.

Overall, great movie especially if you need inspiration to train for a race but I think I'll stick to just running 26.2 miles.

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