Official News of the 2011 Western States 100 and Its Snow Route

[The following is an official press release issued by the Western States Endurance Run]

Western States 100 logoWESTERN STATES 100-MILE ENDURANCE RUN BRINGS TOGETHER WORLD’S BEST ON JUNE 25
June snowpack, aid station accessibility, safety considerations necessitate re-route of course

AUBURN, Calif. – It will be hard to top last year’s Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, when Geoff Roes of Alaska waged a pitched duel with Anton Krupicka and Kilian Jornet and then surged to a new men’s course record.

Yet, organizers are confident that the 38th running of the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race will more than hold its own in the competitive arena. In addition to stellar elite fields for both the men’s and women’s races, the more than 400 athletes who will gather in Squaw Valley, Calif., on race morning on June 25 will face the challenge of about 15 miles of snow running thanks to an endless spring and winter of wet weather that has left the Sierra snowpack at record levels for the month of June.

“This year’s race will be a challenge, that’s for certain,” said Greg Soderlund, race director. “Last year we had our most competitive field ever, and if anything, this year’s depth at the front of the pack could be even greater. Some years heat is the important variable, and others it’s the snow. 2011 is a snow year. All our runners will have to pace themselves well early.”

Race organizers have announced a final decision on this year’s course, which, due to the significant snow accumulation in the high country, will be re-routed before the 9-mile checkpoint at the Lyons Ridge aid station. Runners will turn left before Lyons Ridge and descend towards French Meadows Reservoir, then follow the Poppy Trail to the 20-mile mark. From there, runners will travel along the north shoreline of French Meadows Reservoir before arriving at the Duncan Canyon aid station at mile 23.5. Due to high flows in nearby Duncan Creek, runners will instead cross Mosquito Ridge Road (MRR) and run 1.5 miles on a dirt road (Red Star Road). They will then run on MRR (asphalt road) for 1.25 miles before turning onto Ed’s Bypass, a fire road, for 4.75 miles. At an intersection between Ed’s Bypass and MRR, a new aid station at mile 31 will replace Robinson Flat. Runners will then cross MRR and run down Road N43 for .25 miles before turning right on a two-mile dirt road that will allow the field to re-enter the traditional course at Miller’s Defeat at 35.3 miles. A map showing the course changes is available. Because of safety considerations, crew access will be allowed starting at Michigan Bluff at mile 55.7. Crews will be allowed at all normal crew access areas from that point on.

“Our overriding concerns are with the safety of our aid station personnel and our runners,” Soderlund said. “We need to make sure our aid station, safety and medical personnel can safely access any of our aid stations. And, it’s imperative that we ensure safe passage on the snow for our runners. We’re confident the new ‘snow route’ will help us accomplish all of these things.”

In addition to the snow, runners will have to negotiate more than 40,000 feet of climbing and descending through the Sierra and the California Gold Country in order to get to the finish line at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. Due to the race’s partnership with Montrail and the Montrail Ultra Cup (a series of top-level ultra events held throughout the country where the top finishers earn a coveted spot in Western States), the field is as deep as it has ever been.

In the men’s race, Roes, 35, of Douglas, Alaska, returns. His run of 15:07 eclipsed Scott Jurek’s men’s course record set in 2004 of 15:36. Jornet, a 23-year-old trail running phenom from Spain, led several stretches of the race last year before slowing over the final 20 miles to finish third in 16:04. Krupicka, who finished second overall, also under the course record at 15:13, will not return this year due to injury. Other top contenders include: Nick Clark, 37, from Fort Collins, Colo., fourth in 2011 at 16:05; 2007 and 2009 champion Hal Koerner, 35, of Ashland, Ore.; Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, 42, of Japan, second-place finisher in 2009; Jez Bragg, 30, of England, third-place finisher in 2009.

In the women’s race, Tracy Garneau, 42, of Vernon, B.C., returns to defend her title. Garneau ran an even-paced and strong race in her WS debut in 2010 to win in 19:01. Second-place Meghan Arbogast, 50, of Corvallis, Ore., who ran 19:15, will challenge Garneau. Three-time women’s champion, Nikki Kimball, 40, of Bozeman, Mont., finished third in 2010 in 19:23. Also entered is 2009 women’s champion Anita Ortiz, 47, of Eagle, Colo. Ortiz was unable to defend her title in 2010 due to knee surgery. Ellie Greenwood, 32, of Canada, who won the American River (AR) 50-mile in April and AR runner-up Kami Semick, 44, of Bend, Ore., are also expected to vie for the women’s title.

There are 12 comments

  1. footfeathers

    Sounds like a sound decision. Wonder if the course changes will favor certain runners. Also, keep an eye on young Sandi Nypaver in the women's field – chalked up wins at Mohican 100 and Grindstone 100 (along with some shorter stuff) last year. Tough and fast young lady.

  2. Jeff

    40,000 feet of climb and descent? Is that combined climb and descent? Because I thought it was like 19,000 climb and 22,000 decent (on a normal year).

    Would you say that the re-routed course is easier? Or won't you know until it's been run?

    1. Bryon Powell

      Yeah, Jeff, the 40,000' is the lame statistic of combined climbing and descent. I'm going to start adding my income and expenses into combined financial change. At least I won't sound so poor!

  3. Patrick McKenna

    "by Bryon Powell" above could be a little confusing/misleading. It might be better to clarify who authored it so your readers know it was a letter issued by the WS staff and not authored by you. I realize that this wasn't an intentional omission.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Sorry about that confusion. I'm normally much more careful about such things, but posted this late last night while scrambling to get ready to both cover and run Western States. Thanks for making the correct assumption that this wasn't an intentional omission. :-)

      1. Patrick McKenna

        No problem Bryon, I know you wouldn't do that. The only reason I knew it was a WS press release was because I had seen it on their FB page earlier in the day. I plan on taking some photos at the Foresthill aid station during the event. If any of them are halfway decent I'll forward them to you to use as you please. Get some rest and turn off that computer already!!!

  4. Kay (Lacher) Husfeld

    I am looking for 2011 WS100 photos of runner #253-Eric Lacher. He is Tom Kaisersatt's son, and this was his first WS100. He scattered Tom's ashes at the beginning of the run, and carried a handful across the finish line. Eric finished the WS100 at 213th place, with a time of 27:47. I am Eric's Mother, and would cherish any photos of Eric, during, and at the completion of his run.

    Can you help me find a source where I might find photos, that I can download or purchase.

    Thank you very much for your help. I enjoyed your blogs during the race throughout the night. Made for interesting event facts, that many people never hear.

    Kay Husfeldt 320,328.5730 11248 Hwy 15, Brownton, MN 55312-8308

  5. Kay (Lacher) Husfeld

    I am looking for 2011 WS100 photos of runner #253-Eric Lacher. He is Tom Kaisersatt's son, and this was his first WS100. He scattered Tom's ashes at the beginning of the run, and carried a handful across the finish line. Eric finished the WS100 at 213th place, with a time of 27:47. I am Eric's Mother, and would cherish any photos of Eric, during, and at the completion of his run.

    Can you help me find a source where I might find photos, that I can download or purchase.

    Thank you very much for your help. I enjoyed your blogs during the race throughout the night. Made for interesting event facts, that many people never hear.

    Kay Husfeldt

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