71: The 100-miler: Part 18 (1977) Western States 100

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Manage episode 282924208 series 2396657
על ידי Davy Crockett התגלה על ידי Player FM והקהילה שלנו - זכויות היוצרים שמורות למפרסם, לא ל-Player FM, והשמע מוזרם ישירות מהשרתים שלכם. הירשמו כדי לעקוב אחר עדכונים ב-Player FM, או הדביקו את כתובת העדכונים באפליקציות פודקאסט אחרות.
By Davy Crockett The 1977 Western States 100 Andy Gonzales In 1977, Wendell T. Robie (1895-1984), the president of the Western States Trail Foundation and the director of the Western States Trail Ride (Tevis Cup), decided that it was time to add a runner division to his famous Ride. For more than two decades this 100-mile endurance horse race had been held on the famous trail in the California Sierra. Could ultrarunners also race the course? Robie had previously helped seven soldiers successfully complete the course on foot in 1972 (See Forgotten First Finishers), the first to do so, and had been pleased that Gordy Ainsleigh had been the first to finish the trail in under 24-hours in 1974. (See Episode 66). In addition, dozens of people had backpacked the trail since then, and a couple others had tried to run the course solo during the Ride. Robie believed it was time to organize a foot race on "his trail" for the first time. This first Western States 100 in 1977 was hastily organized by riders, not runners. There was no consultation with the existing well-established ultrarunning sport at that time. Practices were put in place that mostly mirrored the endurance horse sport such as mandatory medical checks, but did not use the existing ultrarunning practice of setting up aid stations. The event would be held with nearly 200 riders and horses also competing on the course at the same time as the runners. The day would turn out to be perhaps the hottest ever for the historic race. The risks were extremely high for this small rookie running race staff and some rather naïve runners. Who were the runners who turned out for this historic first race? Did they have the experience to finish or just survive? Please help support this podcast. I’ve joined a partnership with Ultrarunning Magazine. I can offer a 25% discount on Ultrarunning Magazine subscriptions and renewals. Visit https://ultrarunning.com/ultrarunning-history/ Subscribe or renew today. Race Organization Gordy Ainsleigh On Robie's race staff was Gordy Ainsleigh, of nearby Meadow Vista, California. He was perhaps the most experienced runner in on the staff with some cross-country running experience. He had also run in some Ride & Tie events and of course had run the course solo three years earlier. Ainsleigh had hoped to get the race director job from Robie and talked about putting in a qualifier requirement that the runners had to have completed a marathon in at most 3:15. He said, “We don’t want anyone who isn’t a good runner.” Thankfully, that requirement was not put in place. Ainsleigh did not have the organizational skills to put together a race and was not the race founder. Robie was the man in charge for the 1977 race and gave the race director job to Curt Sproul. Curt Sproul Curtis Cutter Sproul (1948-), of Weimer, California, originally from Pebble Beach, was designated by Robie as the 1977 Western States 100 manager, assisted by his wife, Marion "Mo" Orrick Sproul (1951-). Curt Sproul was an experienced endurance rider and a young attorney. He was the grandson of Robert Gordon Sproul (1891-1975) who was the first system-wide President of the University of California system and president of UC Berkeley. Mo and Curt Sproul in 1972 Curt Sproul, born into privilege, received his love for the outdoors from his parents. His father was also an attorney, an outdoors enthusiast and environmentalist, who frequently took his family on trips to Yosemite National Park and camping trips to Wyoming. His mother had once climbed to Everest Base Camp. Sproul's wife, Mo, was originally from San Francisco. Her father was an attorney and the president of the San Francisco Opera Association. The Sprouls met and married when both attending UC Berkley. They both would become very important contributors toward the founding and growth of Western States 100. Race Planning The first year, in 1977,

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