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‘Nothing new on race day’ – Western States star Katie Schide on why she didn’t run with a pacer

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Katie Schide revealed that her epic Western States win at the weekend came after “probably the hardest block of training I’ve ever done” while she also explained her decision not to have a pacer run with her in the latter stages of the race.

French-based American Schide made the women’s race look like a procession as she came home nearly 35 minutes clear of her nearest rival.

She was out on her own from the start and, for many hours, Courtney Dauwalter‘s supposedly untouchable course record from last year [when Schide was second in 16:43] was under real threat.

In the end – in baking hot conditions, unlike 12 months previously – Schide joined the ultrarunning GOAT in becoming only the second woman to go under 16 hours for the 100 miles at Western States as she stopped the clock in a staggering 15:46:57.

And like Dauwalter she also joined the select club of being a Western States and UTMB winner, following her victory in Chamonix in 2022.

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Ticking off the goals

And chatting afterwards on the live broadcast to the outstanding commentary duo of Dylan Bowman and Corrine Malcolm, she was asked if things had gone as smoothly as they looked.

To which she replied: “Yeah, mostly. [Though] I definitely had some low points that were not seen on camera.”

She elected to go pacer-less in this year’s race, more of which later, but she said running in the company of Frenchman Simon Gosselin in the early stages was a big help early on.

“Simon and I had a really great start to the day and it was really fun to run with him,” she explained. “And then he kind of left me. But I just tried to stay steady and once I knew I had a good lead, my goal was really just to not do anything stupid and just maintain my lead. Because the goal was to get here first and the other goals followed.”

She did admit there was one other pre-race target, which gave the perfect indication of the sort of time she was aiming for, adding: “One of my intermediate goals was to finish without a headlamp. And I’m really happy to have done that.”

Picture-perfect finish

She made it to the track of Placer High School in Auburn just as the sun was setting but revealed that she wasn’t 100% confident going into the race despite her stunning win in the 100K at the Canyons Endurance Runs at the end of April and the miles she’d racked up since then.

She explained: “To be honest, this training block was probably the hardest block of training I’ve ever done. So I actually don’t know if I had as much confidence as last year when I was just feeling better in all my training. But I was confident that I had that in my memory and could build off that. 

“So during the whole race, I took confidence every time I was in a place I recognised. I even recognised some volunteers, which was cool. And that just felt really reassuring.”

Katie Schide canyons 2024 photo credit UTMB
Katie Schide has ramped up the training since Canyons [Photo credit: UTMB]

To pace or not to pace

Runners are allowed to have one pacer at a time accompany them, starting from the Foresthill aid station at mile 62, and Schide was paced towards the end of last year’s race by Topher Gaylord.

But she elected to run alone this year even though she’d thoroughly enjoyed the experience 12 months previously, explaining her thinking as follows: “I had so much fun running with Topher last year, and I think it was a really great way to be introduced to the race. [But] there were a few steps in making that decision. 

“The first was just that I always, almost always, run by myself. And I just tried to think about the little phrase we always say – ‘nothing new on race day’. 

“And in Europe, we’re not allowed to have pacers. So it was my first time running with a pacer. And while I had fun, I knew that it’s not what I normally do. 

I just felt confident enough that I would be able to maybe even push myself harder if there wasn’t anyone watching. 

“And I also ran the idea by Courtney in February, and she approved [so] I went for it!”

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

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