The Western States 100 is one of those legendary races. Probably the most legendary one on North-american territories. Take that as a starting point, add a battle between 4 of the greatest trail runners at the time during the 2010 edition of the race, and you’re in for 2 hours of breath-taking cinema
This movie then is a mix of several story-lines. To begin with, there’s the battle between 4 amazing trail runners. There’s Hal Koerner, winner of the 2007 & 2009 editions. That’s something that puts you high on any bookmaker’s list. There’s Anton Krupicka, who seems the least serious about the whole thing, but runs so many miles and is probably best accustomed to the heat the runners get to deal with. Kilian Jornet, at the time merely 22 but already winner of the Ultra trail du Mont Blanc… 2 years in a row. None of the other candidates has any idea on what to think of this guy, but obviously there’s a lot of respect. And finally, Geof Roes. By far the most introvert and humble of the pack.
Interwoven in this main story line, there’s short fragments of these 4 meeting each other before the race and of their life at home in the weeks before the Western states 100. It’s a nice though superficial view into their daily life and kind of shows how they ended up doing ultra running and how it fits in their lives. I really enjoyed these bits. Added to this are short interview fragments of Scott Jurek, with his 7 wins an authority on the Western States 100, giving his opinion on the 4. Interesting stuff!
Finally, there’s the history of the Western States 100 as a footrace. Throughout the whole movie, Gordy Ainsleigh tells us about how he got the idea and how his first race went. It’s an amazing story and even though his chrono is currently being beaten by many, it’s still a heroic tale. On top of that, Gordy actually ran that year’s edition as well.
Added up, this makes for a really captivating documentary. The cinematography might not be of the same level as the stuff we get from the Salomon series (some of this was filmed with go-pros worn by pacers and drones weren’t as established as they are now, but the storyline makes up for this easily. And the soundtrack is simply amazing: Fleet Foxes, M83, Trampled by Turtles, Dustin O’Halloran… So go buy it here: www.ws100film.com
Favorite moment of the movie? Well, we all know I’m a bit of a Kilian fan, but when Anton tells about Kilian suddenly flashing by on a descent, and then actually being shown that moment… well, that was brilliant:
As for the official trailer: