After much deliberation, anonymous voting, lots of reading and even wiping away a few tears, we’ve chosen a lucky winner. Alison Chavez will be toeing the line with the Strava entry spot at the 2016 Western States Endurance Run. See you in Squaw, Alison! 

Alison has been a member of the LA trail running community for many years. She’s volunteered at over 25 ultramarathons and many other charity races in the area and beyond. She has given her community lots of thankless help and positive energy (often in costume) – as a young racer and volunteer, as a woman battling cancer barely strong enough to work an aid station, and now again as a survivor/ultrarunner/badass. After her last operation in 2014, Alison was able to train and complete her first Western States qualifying run – the Cuyamaca 100K. She has since finished her first 100-miler at the Chimera 100 just two weeks ago, on her “cancer-aversary.” We are thrilled that she will be attempting her first Western States with our support. Please help us give this woman some KUDOS! She’s earned ‘em.

Picking a Strava runner to gain free entry into the 2016 Western States was not an easy task. With over 100 applications from some truly inspiring athletes, it was almost as hard as running the race (maybe not that hard, but you get the idea). We wish we could give everyone a chance this year. Thank you to everyone who applied and we wish you all the luck at the lottery on December 5th.

Win a coveted spot in this historic ultramarathon.

Forty one years ago, Gordy Ainsleigh was slated to compete in the Tevis Cup, a 100-mile horse race along California’s historic Western States trail. Unfortunately, though good for all of us, Gordy’s horse went lame and wasn’t up for the adventure. But that didn’t stop him from taking on the challenge by foot. Gordy ran over the rugged Sierra mountains in the heat of summer and began what is now known as the oldest 100-mile footraces in the world – The Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run.

Fast forward to 2015, where those crazy enough to follow in Gordy’s footsteps consider themselves lucky. As it’s not just skill that can get you a ticket to the coveted trail race: Only 390 runners are allowed on course each year. Due to the sensitive nature of the trail – its beautiful singletrack, bridges and serene rivers – the race remains small in field, in spite of booming popularity.

Runners don’t just sign up for Western States, either. They must qualify by running an approved 100k or 100-mile race and throw their hat in the lottery with thousands of athletes vying for a slot. If an athlete has been denied in a prior year, their ticket remains in the lottery so they get two tickets the next year, increasing exponentially each time they don’t get in, thereby adding even more tickets to the pot.

But this year, you may be in luck. As an official race sponsor of the 2016 WSER we’ve been granted a single spot in the race to award to a deserving athlete. This individual will be chosen based on their commitment to the trail running community, something fundamentally important to the Western States organization and Strava.

Best of luck to all those hoping for a spot in this legendary race.


How It Works:

Prior to applying, all applicants must enter the Western States lottery between Saturday, November 7th and Saturday, November 14th; and meet or plan to meet all race qualifications, including medical and service requirements.

An internal team of four at Strava will be evaluating applications and awarding the winner based on the following criteria: 50% commitment to the trail running community, 35% unique and deserving story, and 15% active participation on Strava.

Strava will announce the winner before November 30th. We will notify WSER by December 1st so the winner will be removed from the lottery and added to the entrants list.

The winner will receive the official sign-up link from WSER directly and charged the entry fee of $410. Strava will reimburse the winner for this cost.

Each applicant must read and agree to the official rules.

1. Tell us why you deserve to toe the line at the 2016 Western States Endurance Run. What contributions have you made to the trail running community? Have you volunteered at specific races, done trail work, coached, led training groups, or even opened a running store? Provide creative and honest examples of your local impact.

2. What would participating in the Western States Endurance Run mean to you?

3. How has Strava been influential in your training?

* Accepting entries through Wednesday, November 18th at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Photos by Matt Trappe