The 2024 Hardrock 100 is history! Check out our in-depth results article for the full race story, as well as our interviews with champions Courtney Dauwalter and Ludovic Pommeret.

Katie Schide, 2024 Western States 100 Champion, Interview

A video interview with Katie Schide after her win at the 2024 Western States 100.

By on June 30, 2024 | Comments

Katie Schide won the 2024 Western States 100 in the second-fastest time in the event’s 51-year history. In this interview, she talks about her two-year commitment to this goal, what it feels like to reach it, how her day played out, and what she would like to do next with her trail ultrarunning career.

For more on how the race played out, read our in-depth 2024 Western States 100 results article.

Katie Schide, 2024 Western States 100 Champion, Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Katie Schide. It’s the day after the 2024 Western States 100, and you’re the women’s champion. Congratulations, Katie.

Katie Schide: Thank you.

iRunFar: How does that feel?

Schide: It feels really good. This has been a long time in the making, and really happy it all came together yesterday.

iRunFar: Yeah, the Western States Endurance Run has been a dedication for you for now two seasons. What’s it like to have crossed the finish? Achieved, I mean, far surpassed your performance from last year. And I have to say, you must have achieved all the goals you wanted yesterday.

Schide: Yeah, definitely. I mean, after UTMB in 2022 when I received the Golden Ticket, I think it’s just been everything focused on this race. And I’m not sure I actually, from the start, ever thought I could win this race. It was always a big challenge to try to take on such a fast and hot and different kind of race course than in Europe. And I think last year gave me a glimpse of what could be possible. And I was super happy with how everything went last year, and then just tried to bring it up a little notch this year. And yeah, things don’t always come together on the right day, but I’m really happy they did yesterday.

iRunFar: Now the public gets to be privy, or got to be privy, to a bit of your training block building up to this. We saw your incredible performance at the Canyons 100k. I would love to know just a few of the details beyond you know, what went into this really spectacular training block.

Schide: I mean, just about everything is out there. I did pretty similar build-up from last year. A little bit different early season race. I did Canyons this year, which just gave me a chance to get out on the course and build some confidence running on these trails again. Kind of get it in my head again before heading to Flagstaff for two months. Spent a lot of time this spring at my partner’s parents’ house. Close to Nice [France] where I could run on dry, dry trails while we were still getting three meters of snow at home. But yeah, there’s a lot of pieces behind it. Not just the training but the support from my family here from my partner Germain [Grangier] and his parents, and everyone kind of letting me do my thing and just being there whenever I needed them. So yeah, of course the training is a big part of it, but I think it’s all the support I have around it that really makes a difference.

iRunFar: I mean, I really think that’s what we are seeing as trail running continues to professionalize. And you’re just an absolute demonstration of that, that yes, there’s the training, but then there’s the full support system. There’s what you’re doing when you’re not training. There’s the people around you. There’s the psychology you keep. And yeah, it just seemed like bam, bam, bam, everything was there for you this training block.

Schide: Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t all easy, but I think when things got difficult, I had the right people and the right tools to problem solve and make it work. And it’s not just the last two months. I mean, at this point, it’s been two years for this race in particular. And one of the bigger things is just that I’ve been gone from home for two months each year. I think having support networks on both continents that totally understand that. And it’s not easy being away from Germain when I’m here for two months and we’re both training for different races, but just the fact that we never had to really discuss that. It was just understood. We support each other in whatever we want to do, and that’s what makes us happiest. So I’m really looking forward to getting back home.

iRunFar: I think that’s the only thing that would have made yesterday sweeter was if there had been a Germain at the track cheering you in.

Schide: Yeah, definitely. If he had been here, I would have maybe taken a pacer.

iRunFar: So let’s talk a little bit about yesterday. One of the things that was unique about this race for everybody but you was that it was a race against human beings all the way to the finish line. But for you, you were far ahead in the women’s race, almost from the get go, and your lead kept extending, extending, extending. You are running with men of course, but the women’s field was behind you. What was it like to run so much of yesterday with splits with numbers with yourself? I guess you’ve said before you like to train alone, so there’s that, but…

Schide: Yeah, the start was really great because I got to share, I think until after Devil’s Thumb, with Simon Gosselin, who’s French, so I was actually speaking in French for the first half of the race.

iRunFar: Amazing.

Schide: Which was just kind of fun to have something else to think about. And yeah, we had a really good time, and I think we set a good pace for each other. And at that point in the race, I was just focused on being consistent. Picking my own pace, not pushing, where I thought it might do any damage. Mostly trying to play on the safe but efficient side. And then when I was learning more about my gap on the other women, of course it gives me a little bit of calmness, that there’s not someone right on my heels. But when you know that the pack behind you is all racing each other, you know the chance of them making up time on you as much greater. So I wasn’t super comfortable. I was still trying to kind of just stay in control and be smart and not lose any time anywhere. But also take the time to not mess up. Just trying to maintain that gap. Because the primary goal at that point was to win. I didn’t need to prove any specific time goal to myself. When I started doing all the math, I could see that I could probably go under 16 hours. So then that became a new goal toward the end, which gave me just a little bit extra motivation in those final 30k where it’s super hard between Green Gate and Quarry Road.

iRunFar: You said that you were just trying to stay calm but maybe you’re having an inner dialogue of like, Don’t mess up. Stay calm. Don’t mess up. Stay calm. But you gave off this vibe continuously yesterday of being in control, being calm. Whatever emotions were going on inside of you, you weren’t wearing them on your face. Just share a little bit about how did you pass the time in your mind?

Schide: I have no idea. I would say the vast majority of my training is alone and without headphones. So that’s what I do every day.

iRunFar: That’s amazing.

Schide: So I’m just doing my normal thing. Yeah, it was just kind of telling myself like just as usual. Just do what you normally do. Like, no stress. There’s no need to change anything. I think that was also part of my decision to not take a pacer was just to be able to fully be in my own head and not be thinking about anything else. And I think that lets me save a bit of energy. Personally, I’m someone who, yeah, in everyday life I’m an introvert, so it just lets me not feel like I’m losing energy to anyone else.

iRunFar: What were the hardest parts yesterday? Was there a singular moment that you’ll remember that you just really had to apply a little bit more grit than usual? Or was there a period of time that you would like to like leave behind in this experience?

Schide: That last 30k from Green Gate to Quarry Road.

iRunFar: The whole thing.

Schide: It’s just so hard. It all looks the same. It’s really not that interesting. It’s pretty flat. You have to run. It’s when everything is starting to hurt. I had a lot of trouble there last year. And so this year was, I was really thinking about that section the whole time. Like I want to get through that without losing a ton of time like last year. And that was actually the only section where I was really looking at my splits. And that was great because I could see that I was a lot faster than last year. And that was just reassuring like, hey, I’m doing better than last year. Things are going to be okay.

iRunFar: Now for those of us following your race, we were looking split to split, section by section, your progress this year compared to last year, and your run this year compared to the course record. Were you doing the same thing or were you running, and you said a little bit by splits at the end, but how aware were you of the numbers on the ultimate clock?

Schide: Well, the first thing is that I missed the first seven minutes on my watch.

iRunFar: So you didn’t actually know the time.

Schide: So all of my math in my head, I was trying to add the seven minutes. I didn’t really know. I kind of knew the first splits until Robinson because it’s more or less one hour, but I didn’t know them at all. I was asking people in Michigan Bluff where I was compared to last year because I just didn’t know. And I think going into this race, because everyone played up last year as being slow at the start with the snow, and then not super hot, so maybe faster after. I wasn’t trying to get too caught up in times. It’s only my second time during the race. So I don’t have like, Jim [Walmsley], a whole Encyclopedia of my times here like Scott [Jurek] or Ann Trason or someone like that. So yeah, it was just focused on just doing what I felt good with. And when I started getting my splits compared to last year, I was like oh, okay. But I didn’t know that. I think I did the first part to Robinson 20 minutes faster. So I don’t know. I was just going by feel mostly.

iRunFar: Yeah. You are now and have been the champion of some big 100 milers. You have been champion of Diagonale des Fous, UTMB, now Western States. What could possibly be next?

Schide: Hardrock 100. [laughs]

iRunFar: Okay. Hardrock. Just putting that out there. Is there is there a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment right now being like, I’ve been working toward this Western States goal now for a couple of years and now I get to have this on my CV?

Schide: Yeah. I mean, my journey with UTMB was quite long, but I think this one was a bit more, I don’t know the right word. Maybe like intense, more focused.

iRunFar: Committed.

Schide: Yeah, more committed. That’s a good word. Yeah, so this felt really good. Just the commitment to leave home, come here twice, and kind of change up what I would normally do in my running. UTMB fit more in my normal lifestyle, so it feels really good and really, yeah. I’m really happy with this one.

iRunFar: It’s really offensive to ask a person the day after they run 100 miles if they would like to come back and run it again. However, this is one of those unique races that when you finish in the top 10 you get an automatic return then if you’d like it. Have you started thinking about 2025 and this year’s track?

Schide: I am not sure. I would say I think I would like to do a little bit more skiing next year.

iRunFar: A little bit less winter running, a little more snow play.

Schide: Yes.

iRunFar: Okay. Congratulations to you on your win of the 2024 Western States 100, for running the second fastest time ever, and for accomplishing a very committed goal.

Schide: Thank you.

Meghan Hicks

Meghan Hicks is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. She’s been running since she was 13 years old, and writing and editing about the sport for around 15 years. She served as iRunFar’s Managing Editor from 2013 through mid-2023, when she stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief. Aside from iRunFar, Meghan has worked in communications and education in several of America’s national parks, was a contributing editor for Trail Runner magazine, and served as a columnist at Marathon & Beyond. She’s the co-author of Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running with Bryon Powell. She won the 2013 Marathon des Sables, finished on the podium of the Hardrock 100 Mile in 2021, and has previously set fastest known times on the Nolan’s 14 mountain running route in 2016 and 2020. Based part-time in Moab, Utah and Silverton, Colorado, Meghan also enjoys reading, biking, backpacking, and watching sunsets.