I just got off the phone with Andy Jones-Wilkins (his blog). I’m really excited to be pacing him at the Grand Teton 100 this weekend for so many reasons. First, I truly love to pace. I view it as giving back to the ultrarunning community in a very personal way, and I think I can really help runners. Second, it means I’ll be spending a couple days out West and getting to explore the Tetons. Also, I’ll be out there at night under a beautiful Rocky Mountain sky. Third, I get to hang out with AJW. I’ve run with him briefly at Western States before and enjoyed his company, but am looking forward to getting to know him better. I also think I’ll learn something from him. I often learn something while pacing, whether directly from the runner or from my own observations; however, I’d guess that there’s to learn than normal with Andy.
The Grand Teton Races are on the far side of these mountains.
[That’s Grand Teton to the far right of the picture.]
I won’t handicap this race for a couple reasons. That said, Andy will obviously contend. For those of you not keeping score at home, he was fourth at Western States at the end of June and won the Vermont 100 four weeks later. Matt Hart (his blog) of the Montrail–Nathan will also contend. I can’t say that this will be Hart’s coming out party as he let the cat out of the bag with sweet runs at the HURT 100k in January (his report) and the Mt Hood 50 miler at the end of July (his report). However, this will be his first 100, so it will be fun to see how he does in his debut at this distance. Matt obviously has ample speed to run well and has competed in (a.k.a. kicked ass at) mountain bike and adventure races of similar duration as a 100 mile run. In addition, Matt has a stud pacer for the final 25 miles, Ty Draney, who also runs for the M-N team. While there may be a dark horse out there, this has the appears of a two man race up front. Best of luck to Matt and Andy, may you both run well.