Modern Trail Ultramarathoning: A Horse Race with No Horse

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The present-day sport known as Trail Ultramarathoning started around 45-years-ago when one man showed up for a 100-mile length horse race but without any horse. In this context, an ultramarathon is explained as something longer than a distance of 26.2 miles. Now, it’s true that 10,000+ people every year participate for the 50, 100, or even the 1000 miles run over tiring and rough terrains after this man & his hypothetical horse became the talk of the town.

However, the history of Ultramarathoning started with another man who went by the name Wendell Robie & another horse. Gordon Ainsleigh, popularly known as Gordy, explained that Wendell is a guy with a small stature but he was wiry, strong, and wore the signature cowboy boots. However, he is no more in the world and died as an 84-year-old man.

Back when this trend started Wendell and Gordy were good friends. In the year 1954, when Wendell was a part of the camping trip at Robinson Flat with Sacramento Horsemen’s Association around 30 miles Westside of the Lake Tahoe. Today, Gordy recalls the moments around a campfire when it was the final night of this trip. Gordy mentioned that Wendell was continually bragging about his horse and how great it was. This was when one among the guys around the campfire stated that it can’t be compared with great horses seen in the previous century. To this Wendell replied that there is nothing they can do and his horse can’t. This was followed by a reply stating the horses can go 100 miles through the desert and mountains. This was when Wendell brought together few close friends and rode all the way from Tahoe to the faraway location Auburn.

Gordy further adds that Wendell just planned to achieve this task once. However, when people said that if they thought he had any chance, they would have surely come along with him, he continued the trend for years to come. This is now the official Western States 100 Trail Ride, currently known as Tevis Cup, started. Now, Gordy Ainsleigh isn’t simply an old confidant of the trend creator Wendell Robie. He is also known as Father of Ultramarathoning.

For Gordy, similar to that of Wendell, the scoping of Western States was initiated with the presence of a horse. Gordy always dreamt of owning his very own horse and bought one when enrolled with the University of California at Santa Barbara. His horse was named Rebel.

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