Updated: Apr 4, 2019
Steve was on the waiting list for Western States 2018 when a spot became available three weeks before the race. But he had just run a 245km endurance event. Would he recover in time?
STEVE Redfern had pretty much given up hope of being called to Western States. He was number 19 on the waiting list and very few people appeared to be pulling out.
So he cancelled the annual leave he had booked and instead signed up for a 24-hour race.
“I won the race, running 245km in 24 hours and I got home and thought ‘Time to start recovering’,” says Steve, an aircraft maintenance employee from Heathcote, south of Sydney.
“I woke up Monday and saw the email saying I had been selected for Western States and it was on in just under three weeks.
“But I couldn’t say no.”
Instead of a six-week recovery, Steve took a week off and jumped straight back into training before flying to California to fulfil his dream that had taken three years of lottery entries.
But how would his body cope with 100 miles after only recently completing a gruelling 24-hours without the usual time off?
“I knew I’d finish Western States,” says Steve.
“It was just a matter of how well the body would cope with it.”
His hope was to run under 24 hours to achieve the ‘Silver Buckle’. He raced out hard and the first 50km were difficult; his legs were tight, hips were tight and he felt like he had already done a miler at less than half way.
“I thought ‘This is going to be a long race if I’m already feeling like this’,” recalls Steve.
But at the 60km mark, after seeing his crew for the first time, the body loosened up and Steve’s race started.
He was enthralled with the scenery and relished running through deep ravines and canyons, up stunning single track and past turquoise rivers and gushing waterfalls.
He revised his target, aiming to finish in under 20 hours and was on track (with his pacer Katy Anderson) until he realised he had not properly calculated the distance and had 4km extra to go.
Steve finished in 20 hours, 17 minutes and was ecstatic, crossing the finish line at about 1am.
“It’s the biggest trail event in the world and on everyone’s bucket list and I had a fantastic experience,” he says.
Steve Redfern started running four years ago and completed his first miler after he had been running for only nine months. He has since completed 24 races of 100km or more. He hopes to make the Australian 24-hour team and will next year tick off his other bucket list item. Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. He plans to enter the Western States lottery again.