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‘I think the winning time will be…’ – Tom Evans predicts blistering Western States finish

Olly Green
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Tom Evans believes there will be scintillating pace at this weekend’s Western States due to cooler conditions.

The British runner is taking on the coveted California race for a second time after finishing second in 2019.

Rapid finish

Speaking on the Singletrack Podcast, Evans split the race into three sections – from the start to Robinson Flat, from Robinson Flat to Forest Hill and from Forest Hill to the finish.

He predicted a slower start as a field featuring a host of talented international runners feels each other out, before a rapid conclusion from Forest Hill.

Jim Walmsley currently holds the course record at Western States, running a 14:09:28 in 2019.

“If there is a Strava segment from Forest Hill to the finish, I guarantee it will go this year,” Evans said.

“I think the winning time will be 14:28:00.

“I don’t know who’s going to do it. I’m not saying I’m going to run 14:28:00, I just think that’s what it’s going to take to win.

“I think it will be the equivalent of a negative split. Compared to Jim’s course record, I think it will be five, six minutes quicker from Forest Hill to the finish.

“I’m not necessarily saying that I think I’m going to run mid-14s. I think the person that is going to win is going to need to.

Tom Evans transgrancanaria photo credit Red Bull Content Pool
[Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool]

“In order to win, I think you’ll have to have an amazing day and you’re going to have to run really quick.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole men’s podium was sub-15.”

US love affair

Evans’ crowning achievement to date was second place behind Kilian Jornet at last year’s Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), but he revealed that running in the US holds a special place in his heart after 2019.

“When I finished third here (Western States) in 2019 it was a great result,” he said. “Racing in the US is so different to racing in Europe.

“I guess I just fell in love with the culture.

“I just loved the whole energy around the race, before the race, during the race and after the race, the aid stations, the other athletes. It’s so different to anything else I’d experienced.

Tom Evans third UTMB 2022 copyright UTMB
[Photo copyright: UTMB]

“I still don’t think I’ve performed to my greatest at Western States yet. 2019 I was really happy, but it was my first 100-miler and I made lots of mistakes.”

Improvements made

Evans comes into Western States off the back of a win at Ultra-Trail Snowdonia and second at Black Canyon Ultras, and he is adamant he is in a better place than four years ago.

“I think I’ve learned a lot and developed a lot more as an all-round athlete, especially in the longer, but fast, races,” he added.

“The goal is to have my best possible day and I would absolutely love to win. It would be a complete dream come true.”

Olly Green
Written by
Olly Green
Olly is the content lead for RUN247, is a regular contributor to TRI247 and keeps an eye out for content that appeals to both audiences including interviews with pro Heather Jackson.

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