Wally Hesseltine – 72 and Going Strong

Wally Hesseltine is seventy two years old and is gearing up for another run at Western States Endurance Run in a few weeks.  He’s run it a number of times, but many will remember his non-finish last year when he passed under the arch less than two minutes after the cutoff.

wally hesseltine
Photo from “30 Hours” movie in the Episode Notes. Watch it.


But don’t worry, Wally has plenty of other finishes to talk about. He’s raced every single month since 1981, completing over 500 races and nearly 200 ultramarathons and kept records of all of them. In this interview, Ethan and I talk about a wide range of subjects:

  • His start in running and conversion to trail ultramarathons.
  • Significant races in his career and people who’ve affected his running.
  • Lessons and mistakes he’s made along the way.
  • How he’s run so many races and can still count his DNFs on one hand.
  • What he appreciates about the tradition and culture of the trail scene.
  • How goal setting and record keeping are intertwined.
  • What he remembers about the last few miles of Western States 2016 and any regrets he has about his performance.
  • Any advice he has for new (quick) runners getting into the sport.
  • How he gained entry to the 2017 race and what he’s doing to ensure success.
Wally hesseltine
Pic courtesy Lynn Hesseltine


Wally Hesseltine Episode Sponsor

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Wally Hesseltine Episode Notes

You must watch this short film on Wally’s run at Western last year. It’s called “30 Hours”, is produced by Alex Massey, and is awesome.

URP Gear Editor Ben Zuehlsdorf reviewed the Altra Escalante, Altra Lone Peak 3.0, and the HOKA Speedgoat 2. Stay tuned for written reviews from each and more gear previews from Ben.

Here’s a link to Matt Flaherty’s music. 

Wally hesseltine
Pic courtesy Lynn Hesseltine

And hey, while I have you here, please consider joining Patreon and supporting URP with a small monthly subscription. You’ll learn about upcoming guests and show ideas, be eligible for gear giveaways, and have direct access to me with any questions.  Thanks again everyone. I really appreciate it.

Wally Hesseltine and the grandkids.


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