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RUN247 / Running News / Trail Running News / Walmsley, Farvard and Hawks class acts on and off the trails after Western States

Walmsley, Farvard and Hawks class acts on and off the trails after Western States

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Did fresh socks and shoes make all the difference for Jim Walmsley as he notched an incredible fourth victory at Western States at the weekend?

Walmsley was pushed like virtually never before by Rod Farvard. To the extent that at the Green Gate aid station, with just over 20 of the 100 miles remaining, it was Farvard who led by close on three minutes.

He’d been ahead from the river crossing a couple of miles before and speaking afterwards on the live broadcast to  Dylan Bowman and Corrine Malcolm, Walmsley reflected on the moment where he wondered if he’d ever get back on terms.

He said: “At Green Gate, I really had to take a moment to just collect myself. I just needed to kind of get my own headspace. 

“I remember looking over – I saw Rod leave and I took a little split and saw he was about two and a half minutes ahead of me. I wasn’t sure if that was the last time I was gonna see him or not.

“But sometimes switching into fresh socks, fresh shoes – I’ve had really, really good luck with that. And the legs came back.

“I’d really just tried to take care of myself all day, which I think meant stopping a lot more at the aid station, keeping cool, getting ice and so on. Just hoping that it pays off at some point. It just brings a lot of emotion because it was really hard – so I’m very proud of this one.” 

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‘I just wanted to run with Jim’

The legs did indeed come back and Walmsley, the reigning UTMB champion, would go on to notch another epic win, finishing incredibly strongly to cross the line in 14:13:45 – only his course record from 2019 has been quicker.

But Farvard had more than played his part in the titanic tussle – and the 28-year-old then had to sprint on the track at the finish in Auburn to hold off a charging Hayden Hawks and hang on to second in what was an all-American one-two-three.

Jim Walmsley UTMB 2023
Jim Walmsley [Photo credit: UTMB]

And afterwards Farvard was incredibly gracious in defeat, explaining: “I turned my mind off and my mantra for the day was to feel in the moment. 

“There were times where Jim and I were leapfrogging for a bit and he’d make a massive move on me and I was like, I’m done. And it would just come back. Or Jim would go hop in a river or something.

“It was unlike anything to run with someone I look up to so much and be able to push each other. 

I didn’t really feel like I was going for a win or anything – I just wanted to run with Jim!

“It gave me energy, definitely. I mean, it was always short lived and I didn’t really think much of it. I knew he’d come back and we were just taking our turns, really.

“And that’s kind of the point of I think. We’re all out there pushing each other and whoever finishes first, that’s great. But, yeah, we’re running together out there.”

‘I did everything I possibly could’

There was pride too for Hawks in his podium place as he pointed out: “I think I ran like an hour and 30 minutes PB or something like that. So, I mean, I did, like, I did everything I could.

“I’ve always said I want to run my own race. I want to run a race that I’m proud of. I want to run a complete race – check, check, check, I did that [but] Jim and Rod were just better. I did everything I possibly could and I’m very proud of the race.”

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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