The Lind Family Legacy at the Western States 100

AJW's Taproom“From the very beginning in 1974 when Gordy Ainsleigh ran, there has been at least one Lind family member at the Western States 100 every year. With so much of that knowledge captured and passed on through the years, I have to imagine it will be an advantage,” says 25-year-old Cody Lind of his thinking about his first-ever 100-mile race this coming June at the Western States 100.

Cody, son of two-time Western States finisher Paul Lind and grandson of legendary Western States medical director and 30-year Western States Board of Directors member Dr. Bob Lind, qualified for the 2021 Western States by finishing second at the Bandera 100k earlier this month.

[Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Lind family, read AJW’s tribute to Dr. Bob Lind in 2016 and our WeRunFar profile of Paul Lind from 2017.]

From left to right are Cody Lind, Dr. Bob Lind, and Paul Lind at the Western States 100 starting line. All photos courtesy of the Lind family unless otherwise noted.

“Western States has always been the first 100 miler that I’ve wanted to do. It’s just the way it should be.”

Cody recalls attending Western States for the first time in 1999 when he was just four years old.

“I went with my dad and grandpa. We got to the start super early, shot off the gun at the start, then headed to Dusty Corners or Robinson Flat, Michigan Bluff for a burger, then Foresthill, the river crossing, No Hands Bridge, and the finish. This would be our routine every year, unless there was something going on medically.”

Cody Lind after taking second at the 2021 Bandera 100k and earning entry to the 2021 Western States 100.

And there was usually always something going on medically. For the better part of 30 years, Cody’s grandpa Bob, as Western States’s medical director, was a one-man encyclopedia of the issues one faced when running 100 miles through the hot, remote, and dusty canyons of Northern California. Much of the medical research that exists on the impact of ultramarathons on the human body originates with Dr. Bob Lind and his tireless work at Western States. And, as Cody tells it, his grandpa’s living room in Roseville, California is, to this day, a veritable museum on Western States’s medical history.

“The room is filled from floor to ceiling with pictures and memorabilia of just about every start line, old-school maps of the entire course with every original aid station penciled in, handmade diagrams and graphs regarding hydration and nutrition, medical studies, and awards from the Western States’s board.”

Paul (left) and Bob Lind at the finish of the 1986 Western States 100.

In 2015, while Bob was struggling through his most challenging days in his battle with cancer, his son Paul, Cody’s dad, ran Western States in Bob’s honor.

“The year 2015 was a very special year for the Lind family,” Cody recalls, “My dad started the race standing next to my grandpa as he shot the shotgun for the final time. Then I paced my dad from Foresthill to the finish and helped him get under 24 hours.”

The 20 gauge shotgun that the Lind family has used for every start of the Western States since 1975 stays at Bob’s home and in its case 364 days a year. Then it’s brought to the start line by a member of the Lind family to start the race every year. After the start goes off, a member of the family gives the shell, embossed with the race date, to the race director who eventually presents it to a runner in the race.

The Lind family at the start of the 2015 Western States 100.

I asked Cody, now that he has qualified for the 2021 race, how the start is going to play out this year.

“I am going to join my family over on the left side of the start line. My dad will have the gun, my grandpa’s jacket, and hat–the same one as always. We’ll start the race just like we always do, and I’ll be off.”

Of course, Cody knows, since he’s running not just his first 100 miler but also his first Western States at the place where so much family history resides, that it will not be business as usual. Cody says, “It gives me chills to think about it. So much history, so much meaning. It’s going to be awesome. I am going to Western States!”

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Cody Lind’s Beer of the Week

Jim Dandy Brewing where I live in Pocatello, Idaho makes “FlyHopper, an IPA that is perfect for any time of the year with lots of juiciness and mellow bitterness. This New England IPA is smooth with a variety of different fruit flavors that will even satisfy some of the non-IPA drinkers. It’s best consumed after a big day in the mountains!”

Call for Comments

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The Lind family carrying on Bob’s tradition of firing the shotgun to start the 2016 Western States 100 after Bob’s passing in early 2016.

Rob Krar’s Western States 100 finishing buckle and shotgun shells. Photo: Andy Jones-Wilkins

There is one comment

  1. Kyle Ballentine

    Great article AJW. What an awesome legacy! Just add this to the list of amazing story lines to follow at Western States this year!

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