Boulder’s Clare Gallagher sounded as if she was still in shock Monday morning after winning the prestigious Western States 100 endurance run late Saturday night, and for good reason. Actually, two reasons.
One was the magnitude of the race, but she also was on a mountaineering expedition in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve the two weeks preceding the race. That’s hardly the best way to store up energy before the most important endurance run of the year, but when the opportunity to go on the expedition with big-wall rock climber Tommy Caldwell came up a month ago, she couldn’t pass it up.
No wonder the reality of her achievement took some time to sink in.
“I know the facts of the situation and I feel it in my body — I can’t really walk right now — but when something really big happens, you never know how you’re going to feel,” Gallagher said in a cellphone interview from the Sacramento airport. “I can’t really describe how I feel. I guess I just keep smiling and laughing. I’ve been laughing since I stopped. I was like, ‘This is pretty awesome.’"
After her two-week expedition in Alaska, Gallagher barely had 20 hours at home in Boulder to do laundry before leaving for Western States, a race that begins at the Squaw Valley ski resort and ends 100 miles to the southwest in the town of Auburn.
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