Top American ultra-runners Jim Walmsley and Katie Schide, both recent UTMB champions, are set to headline the 51st edition of the Western States 100 Endurance Run. This historic event, considered the most iconic 100-mile trail race globally, will take place on June 29-30 in Auburn, attracting an impressive lineup of elite athletes.

Will Walmsley Claim His Fourth Title?

Jim Walmsley, who achieved a milestone by winning the prestigious UTMB race in Chamonix last year, holds the course record at Western States with a time of 14:09:28, set in 2019. Already a three-time winner of this race, Walmsley enters with a UTMB index of 934, making him the highest-ranked participant, second only to Kilian Jornet’s 941.

Walmsley will face stiff competition from notable runners, including 2023 runner-up Tyler Green (USA, UTMB Index 880) and fourth-place finisher Jiasheng Shen (CHN, UTMB Index 906). Other formidable contenders include Dakota Jones (USA, UTMB Index 902), Ji Duo (CHN, UTMB Index 889), and Hayden Hawks (USA, UTMB Index 910), all of whom secured their entries through top-three finishes at major qualifying events.

Schide Poised to Dominate Women’s Race

In the women’s category, Katie Schide (UTMB Index 825), the 2022 UTMB champion, seeks to improve on her second-place finish at last year’s Western States. With the reigning Western States champion Courtney Dauwalter not returning to defend her title, Schide, who recently won the Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB in April, is the frontrunner.

Schide will, however, face strong challengers, including last year’s third-place finisher Eszter Csillag (HUN, UTMB Index 768) and three-time finisher Emily Hawgood (ZWE, UTMB Index 757). Other significant competitors include former IRONMAN professional Heather Jackson (USA, UTMB Index 764), Eleanor Davis (GBR, UTMB Index 753), and Emily Schmitz (USA, UTMB Index 736). Jackson recently displayed her endurance prowess with a thrilling performance at the Unbound gravel race.