WGN reporter Mike Lowe and photojournalist Kevin Doellman spoke with a Chicago man taking on one of the most extreme tests of human endurance.

Financial advisor Anthony Severino is the only Chicagoan competing in the exclusive Western States 100-mile ultramarathon.  Three hundred and eighty five people from more than 30 countries won a lottery to compete this weekend in California. Severino finally had his name selected after eight unsuccessful lottery attempts. 

Anthony Severino running the Miwok 100 trail race in May of this year. 

The Western States 100 is the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race with temperatures ranging from 20 degrees to above 110 degrees. Runners carry LED flashlights as almost half of the race will be traveled at night. 

Due to the risks, the race differs significantly from other organized runs. 

Severino, a 44-year-old dad of three, will climb high mountains and deep canyons in a quest for a prized belt buckle. The Lincoln Park resident has 30 hours to complete the race.

Severino with his family after he finished the Miwok 100.

More information at wser.org

Mike Lowe: “Why would you want to put yourself through this?”

Anthony Severino: “For most ultra-runners this is the pinnacle event that everyone would like to run.”

Mike Lowe: “How do you deal with the blisters, the pain?”

Anthony Severino: “Everything is telling you to stop, but you push through that and the satisfaction of getting through those low points and getting to the finish line is why I continue to do these events.”

Anthony Severino running the Miwok 100 trail race in May of this year.

Runners started at 5 a.m. on Saturday, June 25 in Olympic Valley, Calif., and traveled 100.2 miles, through the Sierra high country and the canyons of the American River before finishing at in Auburn, California. There was a live broadcast of the event on YouTube

Other runners from Illinois include:

Anthony Severino of Chicago, IL  (Finished 26:21:26)

Bibo Gao of Buffalo Grove, IL  (Finished 29:04:02)  

Lucus Lyons of Kingston, IL  (Finished 26:54:33)

Jeffrey Lenard of Johnsburg, IL  (Finished 27:15:16)

Magdalena Casper-Shipp of Catlin, IL  (DNF 70.7)