Cody Lind’s Western States 100: A Family Tradition and Personal Triumph

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Western States 100, the oldest hundred-mile trail running race in the world. Zenergy’s newest sponsored athlete, Cody Lind, will be toeing the line for the third consecutive year. Western States has been a part of Cody’s life for as long as he can remember. His Grandfather, Dr. Bob Lind, was not only the medical director of Western States for the first 30+ years of the race, but also started the race with the family’s single shot, 20-gauge shotgun. Like clockwork, Cody would head to Auburn the fourth weekend in June every year for the race alongside his grandfather – Cody has only missed two or three Western States in his 28 years.


Western States is one of the most prestigious ultramarathons in the world. It attracts the best runners from across the globe, who gather in Olympic Valley to cover the historic route, following remote mining roads and single track trails over mountains and through canyons all the way to the Placer High School Track. “As a kid I was scared of the distance,” Cody laughed. He had a uniquely intimate insight into the race as he tagged along with his Grandpa through medical check points over the course of race day, “Being out there every year, I understood that this is a really big thing – you have to be on top of everything: eating, drinking, managing the heat, on top of the fitness and mental strength to run that far. I learned a ton watching what others did over 100 miles to successfully finish.” Dr. Lind was an early leader of ultra-endurance physiology – studying what happened to the body as runners pushed themselves to the brink of human capacity. He developed many of the medical protocols that are to this day considered best practice and implemented throughout the world. One of his greatest contributions was his research on heat acclimation – which can make or break many a racers’ effort to get to the finish line of Western States.



“I knew I wanted to do the race someday, but recognized how hard it is on the body and knew I had to wait until I was ready to run that far,” Cody acknowledged. Growing up in the shadow of the tallest peaks of Idaho, in the small town of Challis, Cody developed a passion for running to explore the mountains that surrounded him. His dad, Paul Lind, was himself an ultra-runner, and started a cross-country running and track program for Challis High School. The team only had a dirt track to practice on, had to drive hours to compete with other high school running teams, and yet the Challis High School Team won multiple state titles in both track and cross-country. Cody spent his days training and competing in running races, but on weekends he was outside – exploring the Lost River Range, White Clouds, and Sawtooths with his family. Ultimately, his passion for the mountains is what continued to drive him in sport – he attended Western Oregon University for two years but had left his heart in the mountains. He returned to Idaho to pursue racing in the US and World Skyrunner Series. Skyrunning races are extremely technical, characterized by huge amounts of vertical gain and loss. The Tromso Skyrace covers 57km (35 miles) and over 15,000 feet of climbing and descending exposed ridgelines and peaks. These races were exactly the type of terrain that Cody loved the most, and it showed – he had multiple first place finishes in the US and was on the podium many times around the world.


“I felt ready to race farther and decided in 2021 it was time for my first 100k (62 miles)” explained Cody. The Bandera 100k is a Golden Ticket race for Western States – the top two finishers are offered automatic entries into the race. Going into Bandera, Cody knew that earning one of those golden tickets was a possibility, but his goal was just to get some experience at the 100k distance. In second place, with six miles to go, he knew he had done it – that he had earned an entry into the Western States 100. His Dad was at the finish waiting – all they could do was hug, knowing what was next.


“I had six months until Western States, and it became my sole focus,” Cody imparted. That year, 2021, turned out to be one of the hottest on record – over 100 degrees on race day. The day started with Cody’s Dad, Paul, sending the runners off with the crack of the family’s 20-gauge shotgun. The same one that Dr. Bob Lind had used for some 30 years prior. Cody felt decent all day, he started conservatively, with a goal of feeling good at mile 60 – the Foresthill aid station. “The whole day I was just pinching myself, thinking how lucky I was to be one of the few people that are able to run this race every year.” Not only was Cody in the race, he was picking off runners as he ticked off miles. Cody finished fourth in his first ever 100 mile race. “I couldn’t believe that I’d just run top five at Western States. It was surreal. I had my entire family there with me, and there was no question that I’d come back again, having earned a place at next year’s race with a finish in the top ten.”



In 2022, Cody ran Western States for the second time, and bettered his time by over twenty minutes – finishing 9th. With his second top ten finish in two consecutive years, he earned a place to come back again – for this year’s race in just over two months. “Right now, I’m having more fun training than I ever have before,” Cody expressed, “I just truly love getting out there and being outside – every day I go out excited to learn more and to focus on getting better.” Living back amongst the mountains that inspired him from the beginning, Cody is enjoying the process of working toward his short- and long-term goals. “I’ve been in the sport of ultra running for nine years and want to make sure I can continue to compete at a high level. Every day I’m gaining the experience to help me reach my long-term potential.”

Outside of competing as a professional athlete, Cody started his own coaching business, GOAT Adventures. He manages over 30 athletes and hosts running camps that focus on building technical mountain running skills geared toward being able to run in the mountains in Idaho.