The Western States 100 will certainly be a great race to watch. Put your reading glasses on folks, this one’s gonna take a while. If I pick em’ even remotely close, it’s all luck, cuz’ it doesn’t get any tougher than this one, and all my research on every runner listed below comes straight off the cuff. I did not look at any runners results from the past 6 months. Let’s see how I do this time. The field is so stacked, creating an actual “odds” is nearly impossible, but here it goes.
1. Geoff Roes 2-1. He won it last year, ran 15:07, hasn’t lost at 100 miles yet, has beaten everyone below, and I can bet he feels less pressure as a previous winner than any other previous winner. His attitude towards racing these things is perfect. He let’s it evolve and runs his own deal. He’s got the speed to be at the front…no shit. He’s wearing the #1, and I expect to see him wear it with pride and kick some arse.
2. Killian Jornet 5-2. We all know Killian was racing up front last year without a water bottle. I would expect that to change. He’s the fastest downhiller in the field, and is not afraid to race at the front all day. He’s young, fast, and the best mountain runner on earth right now. Even though I don’t consider Western States to be a real Mountain run with only 17k of climbing he’s sure to be out front fast and furious. As long as he doesn’t pee his morning coffee, he’ll be the man to beat and probably the most competitive out there. I would imagine also that he’s got a little unfinished business at Western too.
3. Nick Clark 3-1. Nick has been running super fit all year. He recovered so fast after his fast run at the Jemez 50 in May, he’s sure to be in the mix all day. He’s matured to a stellar ultrarunner over the past few years, and this is his chance to really put the hammer down. His speed is also solid now, and after his 4th place finish last year with a strong finish, he’s sure to be in the mid 15′s or lower.
4. Hal Koerner 7-2. Two time winner and probably having his best season so far. He never goes away under that visor and knows the WS course as well as everyone else. He’s not injured this year either, which makes him that much faster. This is his chance to throw down a sub 16 and give himself a chance, not to mention, he’s probably the most stylish runner in the field. If you don’t know him, you’ll see. Go get em’ Hal!
5. Dave Mackey 4-1. Dave at this point is the top dog for the US Ultrarunner of the Year. He won Bandera real fast, American River real fast, and Miwok real fast. He rarely loses, but hasn’t run as many 100s as the few guys above. He ran WS a few years back when Scott Jurek set the course record. Dave ran 16:30 ish and had a few issues. Look for him to take a few tips from me and keep his stomach settled. If it stays settled, I’m way off putting him 5th here. And he’s wearing Hokas, so his legs are not gonna hurt when he’s flying down to the river at top speed.
6. David James 5-1. Dave has thrown down some sick times at various distances from 50k to 100 miles on the circle. He’s not afraid to take chances being near the front, and this course not being technical at all will help him a bit. He’s not afraid….
7. Mike Wolfe 11-6. When the Wolfeman is on his game, he’s really hard to beat. His stride is smooth as silk, and he was real close to Dave Mackey at Miwok a month and half ago. If he nails it, he can win too. His 3:28 at Miwok, although only a 50k, also shows alot of speed in those legs.
8. Sim Jae-Duk 6-1. If he can throw down a performance like he did on me at Massannutten a few years ago, he’ll be tough to hang on to. He’s got great leg turnover, and this is a turnover race.
9. Tsuyoshi Kaburagi 7-1. He’s done it before and was tough at the end. Look for him to be focused and the first one from the other side of that big pond.
10. Jez Bragg 8-1. He’s got it in him, but really has to nail it to be near the front. He ran a great UTMB “fun run” last year edging out Mike Wolfe. He’ll be the fastest Britt easily.
11. Mike Foote 9-1. Mike came out of nowhere and broke Roes’ record at the Bear 100 last year. Even though Geoff was off course for a bit, it showed he’s super tough, and you gotta be tough to deal with the heat. The only thing lacking is heat training in Montana, if it’s been anything like Utah lately, he’s got NO heat training.
12. Ian Sharman 10-1. Ian ran 12:44 for 100 miles at Rocky Raccoon. If that doesn’t tell us something, we’re all blind, but this race does have some hills, and it may not be his ultimate strength, but it would be damn impressive to run top 10. If he looks like he did at RR, he’ll be further up this list.
13. Ryan Burch 11-1. I’ve been told he’s in great shape right now, and he’s pretty speedy. Will he take an early risk and stay near the front early….I don’t think so, and he hasn’t run too many 100s yet. Who knows he’s quick.
14. Scott Jaime 12-1. He gave up Hardrock, his favorite race, to join the track meet, hopefully he’ll kill it under Lucho’s guidance. Another guy who has the speed to be up front, but will he even go there and put himself in the mix?
15. Andy Jones-Wilkins 15-1. For the first year in his illustrious WS career, he finishes out of the top 10, at the same time though, he knows what he’s doing out there, and how to run this course as well as anyone. He’s always strong at the end and should scoop up a little carnage if he’s still rolling after he crosses the river.
16. Todd Braje 16-1. Super speedy and has a gracious stride, but 100 miles is not necessarily the distance he does his best. If he has his day through the canyons and still feels good on Cal Street he’ll mop up a little carnage too.
17. Tim Olson 17-1. He’s run a few 100s, and does well, but somewhat of a rookie at this distance. Another guy that could easily crack top 10 if he hangs tough.
18. Dan Olmstead 19-1. Speedy but not a 100 mile specialist.
19. Glen Redpath 22-1. Not fast enough to be out front, but like AJW, a textbook 100 mile runner and could easily prove me wrong.
20. Michael Arnstein 25-1. Second at JFK, that means he’s a fast road runner, but this is dirt.
Others to watch: Chris Reed, Lewis Taylor, Allen Bellshaw, and Pukin’ Joe Kulak to barf 25 times, he does hold the record for that. Certainly my sentimental favorite to run top 10.
I’m sure I missed a few, and there are always a few mystery men out there. Some of these guys are even gonna get chicked, cuz’ the women’s race is hot too.
The ladies race:
1. Ellie Greenwood 2-1. She just keeps on killing it, so she gets the nod from me. Not holding the #1 bib is probably good, and keeps pressure off of her a bit. If she holds together in the heat, she takes it hands down.
2. Kami Semick 3-1. She really hasn’t done alot this year, but it’s about time she runs a good 100. Although she hasn’t run many 100s, I’m feeling some love for her now. She’s due to nail a race, and this would be a good one to nail.
3. Tracy Garneau 4-1. Great race last year, but not a particularly fast time, so it’s gonna be tough to repeat with the two girls above her listed here. We’ll see, I haven’t seen much from here after WS last year……maybe cuz’ I don’t do research.
4. Joelle Vaught 9-5. It’s her turn to win something big and this is her chance. She seems to keep on winning the shorter races, and if she brings her speed this year, she’ll be right in the mix.
5. Anita Ortiz 5-1. She uses this race as a tune-up for the Speedgoat 50k next month, where she can win some prize money. She’s won this one before though, and if she’s fit and un-injured, she’ll be right at the front with Ellie all the way to Auburn…. but gets outkicked.
6. Aliza Lapierre 7-1. East coast standout (I think). Wins most races there and if the altitude doesn’t affect her she’s one to watch, and I would bet none of the girls in this race know her too well. She’s pretty quick.
7. Nikki Kimball 8-1. She’s been the one to beat in the past, but times are changing, like they are for me too. If she’s fit, I hope she proves me wrong.
8. Annette Bednosky. 9-1. Another east coaster that if she has a good race, can easily run top 3. Not sure on her fitness level though…..as I’ve done no research.
9. Meghan Arboghast 10-1. She continues to kill it at age 50, but comes up a little short at the end. Still makes top 10 look easy.
10. Helen Cospolich 13-1. Sometimes a mystery, ran well at Miwok but fell off the pace and lost a fair amount of time by the end. If she holds together, she’s another veteran who can run top 3 easily.
Other ladies to watch: Amy Sproston should easily prove me wrong, she’s my sleeper to run near the front, Rory Bosio, Catherine Todd from Dubai (heat is her strength), Becky Wheeler and Luanne Park
There you have it….and if you’re having a hard time finding a pair of Hokas, look no further! Backcountry.com now has them and are ready to ship! Find your Hokas here! Punch in “Hoka One One” in the search box and pick a pair up now, cuz’ they are gonna go fast….
On another note, I think we’ll be packing skis in runners drop bags at the Speedgoat 50k on July 30. Snowbird has a base of 138″ this morning at 9600′, and it snowed 7″ yesterday. What the….. Check out a recent interview I did over at footfeathers….100 miles is not that far!