2010 Western States 100 Group Think Predictions

Western States 100 logoLast year, we took all of the data from our Western States Prediction Contest, sifted through it, and shared what we found with you as the 2009 iRunFar WS100 Group-Think Predictions. Well, we loved it and were doing it again from all of your picks in the 2010 iRunFar Western States Prediction Contest. We’re hoping that the collective knowledge of the more than 200 folks who made picks in the contest will help shed some light on the upcoming race.

Speaking of shedding some light on the race. We can confirm that four top entrants will NOT be racing: Anita Ortiz (last year’s women’s champ), Beverly Anderson-Abbs, Tsuyoshi Kaburacki (2nd in ’09), and Jez Bragg (3rd in ’09). In addition, this year’s race will be run on an alternate “snow course.” The snow course takes a lower than usual route on mostly double-track and dirt roads from mile 9 to mile 24. The remainder of the course is unchanged; however, it’s worth noting that boats will be used at the river crossing. (Official announcement of course change and details.) The alternate route will be much faster than crossing 15 miles of snow up high… which is good news for any of the lads or ladies making a play at Pearl Izumi’s $2,000 prize for a course record.

Back to the predictions. Below we attempt to apply a hive-mentality approach to see how the men’s and women’s fields play out when the collective thoughts of more than 200 contest participants are accumulated. In addition to showing how many picks the top runners received for each place, we ranked the runners by MVP-style voting (i.e., 8 points for first, 7 points for second, and so on). We did not count picks made for a winner only, with multiple votes for the same runner, nor for three sets of picks deemed random. Both the men’s and women’s tables show all WS runners who accumulated 20 or more points. Read on to see how the masses predicted the outcome for the big dance this weekend as well as some iRunFar analysis of those predictions and commentary on the race.

Montrail logoThanks again to all who participated in the contest! We hope you run away from it with a pair of Montrail Sabino Trails (iRF Sabino Trail review) and some Mountain Hardware apparel. Oh, and best of luck to all the runners the weekend. Follow us on Twitter to receive updates on the men’s leaders and the top few women early and late in the day. Pacing duties will have me occupied from Foresthill (mile 62) to Green Gate (mile 80).

The Men’s Field

2010 Western States 100 mens contenders

Interesting Men’s Field Notes

  • The mob has spoken and it appear that there’s a three man race between Anton Krupicka (1,257 pts out of a possible 1,600), Geoff Roes (1,249 pts), and Hal Koerner (1,236 pts).
  • Krupicka easily had the most votes for winning the race with 84 picks compared to Roes’s 56. The four “big dawgs” – Krupicka, Roes, Koerner, and Kilian Jornet received all but three of the 200 first place picks.
  • Koerner was third in terms of first place votes (29 votes to Jornet’s 28), but was the most frequent pick for second (60) and third (64).
  • While Roes was the second most frequent choice for first and the second leading point getter, he wasn’t the most frequent pick for any particular position. He claim closest to leading the second place picks with 58 picks to Koerner’s 60.
  • Koerner was the only person to be the most frequent pick for two positions, second and third. On the other hand, neither Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, who was the most  frequent pick for fifth, nor Jez Bragg, the most frequent pick for sixth, will be running the race.
  • The closest point battle in the top 8 was between Nick Clark (22 pts.) in seventh and Leigh Schmitt (216 pts) in eighth.
  • There’s an even better battle for tenth between Andy Jones-Wilkins (135 pts), Andrew Henshaw (133 pts), and Victor Ballesteros (132). With Kaburaki out, Jones-Wilkins and Ballesteros represent the top remaining masters picks in the open category.
  • Even after some light editing, 111 different men were picked to place among the top 8! The highest number of different men suggested for a specific position was 54 for seventh place. Eighth place had 49 different choices.

iRunFar Men’s Commentary

  • Kaburaki (428 pts) and Jez Bragg (170 pts) are not running.
  • Kilian Jornet (993 pts) is the top foreign pick in fourth.
  • Aside from the two DNSs (Kaburaki and Bragg), the top ten picks appear quite reasonable. We think Jornet may have been slightly under ranked due to less familiarity among a largely American voting poll and it’s with that in mind that we suggest he has the highest upward potential among this group.

The Women’s Field

2010 Western States 100 womens contenders

Interesting Women’s Field Notes

  • Quite unlike the men’s field, the voting for the top women resulted in significant separation between the top three women. Nikki Kimball led the way with 1,296 of 1,568 points, as well as being the most frequent choice for both first and second place. Devon Crosby-Helms, who was the most frequent choice to win through a few days of voting, wasn’t the top vote getter for any position, but did solidly secure the second most points with 1,129. Meghan Arbogast, the most frequent choice for both third and fourth, was third in the voting with 907 points.
  • Only five different women were picked most often for a particular placing. Aside from Kimball’s (first and second) and Arbogast’s (third and fourth) selections, Annette Bednosky was picked most frequently for seventh (21 picks) and eighth (28 picks). Tracy Garneau was picked most frequently for fifth (30 picks) and Jenny Capel was the top pick for eighth (22 picks).
  • There’s a great pairing for fourth with Garneau (590 pts) just ahead of Joelle Vaught (577 pts).
  • With the exceptions of two votes for sixth and none for seventh, Rocky Raccoon 100 winner Elizabeth Howard had exactly one pick for each of the positions!
  • There was much less clustering in the women’s field than the men’s field. What we mean by that is two of the top three men weren’t picked a single time to finish seventh or eighth and aside from a few aberrations, only four men were picked to win, a few more were considered possibly for second, and so on. On the women’s side, fourteen different women were chosen to win and eleven of those were chosen to win by multiple voters. Aside from Nikki Kimball, who wasn’t picked by anyone to finish eighth, nearly all those women received votes to finish in each of the top eight positions. We’re not sure what causes this, but it could be more parity, less knowledge of the women’s field by voters, more of an all or nothing approach from the top guys, or something else entirely. What do you think?!
  • The tightest point span in the top ten was a mere 6 points between Jenny Capel (9th – 178 points) and Caren Spore (10th 172).
  • 75 different women were picked to finish in the top 8…. and there are only 94 women entrants in the race!

iRunFar Women’s Commentary

  • An noted earlier, Beverly Anderson-Abbs (444 pts) and Anita Ortiz (227 pts) are not running. Defending champ Ortiz’s point total was likely as low as it was because her DNS status was public before the prediction contest began.
  • Any of the top five picks could end up winning it. Sure, someone else could win, but we agree with the masses that these are where the smart money is… if anyone bets on Western States. Garneau and Vaught have high upside.
  • Two great dark horse picks for the win would be Elizabeth Howard and Canadian Tamsin Anstey.

Masters Picks

  • Friend of iRunFar Andy Jones-Wilkins (I’m pacing him on Saturday) led the men’s masters voting with 66 picks. Although not running, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki was second with 51 pick, while Victor Ballesteros was third with 26 picks. The only other man with at least 10 picks was Glen Redpath (10). Mark Lantz rounded out the top 5 with 6 picks. In total 32 different masters men were chosen to win the category.
  • Meghan Arbogast (56 picks) barely edged out Beverly Anderson-Abbs (55 picks) as the most likely womens masters winner. Tracy Garneau (19 picks) was likewise just ahead of Anita Ortiz (18 picks) in the voting for third. Annette Bednosky (13 picks) rounded out the top 5.
  • It’s interesting to note that the order for exclusively picking the masters winner produced different results than the weighted ranking we put together for the overall category. For the men, the open category voting ranked the men: Kaburaki, Jones-Wilkins, Ballesteros, Redpath, Godale. On the women’s side, the open voting yielded the order: Arbogast, Garneau, Anderson-Abbs, Bednosky, Ortiz.


  • So what do you all think about the group prediction?
  • How would you change your picks based on what you know now?
  • Want to make any of your predictions public? If so, leave a comment!

There are 12 comments

  1. Travis

    I said it on twitter so I might as well put it here too. Overall I say Roes and Crosby Helms. Lots of crazy strong runners out there but I just think the solid perfromances from these two lately are tough to beat.

  2. Kieran

    Simply, this is the most competitive ultra field ever. People around here haven't much comprehension of how good Jornet is – he beat Jurek by five hours last year at Mont Blanc. Five hours!!! Krupicka at his best won Leadville by three hours. Roes's Wasatch record is just silly. Koerner — he's just the defending champ. Can't wait.

    1. Brad G.

      While I agree that Killian is amazing, last year's UTMB saw Jurek nursing a bad case of PF so the time difference must take that into account. It was amazing that he finished at all. I feel that he will contend for the win with Anton & Roes and possibly just run away with it. Can't wait to watch.

  3. Will T.

    Love the statitics. As a number junkie it gives me a high almost as good as a long run. I'm with Travis as far as picks go. It's hard to beat Geoff & Devon's consistancy.

    I see Killian in 2nd pushing Roes the whole way but a little tired/slow on the legs in the final 20 miles due to the Pyrenees. I don't think he gets enough props here in America. This will set the record straight. Hal will hang and be consistant all day, but just won't have the turnover speed to win this year. Krupica will blow up somewhere between 60-80 miles most likely blaming the knee.

    This is Devon's race to lose. Nikki admits she's not in peak shape. Devon's been training hard all year and I think it is the perfect course for her skills. I hope to see Joelle up front as well. She's had an amazing year.

    We'll see how these predictions play out on Saturday.

    1. Paige T.

      I'll make this a third nod to Travis' comment. Roes! Roes! Roes! And, Will T., I totally agree with you about Tony. I still have my gut saying it's curtains at mile 81 for him.

      Bryon, this has been so fun, thanks for posting all of this!

  4. nickb

    killian has it for sure with a CR… antons gonna blow up trying to hang on… roes gonna have a strong finish in the mid 15s for 2nd… hal will take 3rd… zach miller will be around 4th-5th… and watch out for mike arnstein, he's been killin the training this year and is gonna be towards the top

  5. Kieran

    There's no sure thing in ultramarathons, not with this competition. And Tony's a ultrabeast – don't assume he'll drop just because of his one DNF last year. He had giardia, it was record heat for leadville, and he was nearly 40 minutes ahead when he dropped, at mile 78. You try breaking what may be the most impressive ultra record when you have to stop every 10 minutes to go #2.


    Underestimate this pedigree at your peril:


    But as good as he is, I still picked Kilian for my bracket.

    1. Will T.

      You are definitely right Kieran. Tony is an ultrabeast and if any one is going to beat the course record my money is on him. The link you give to his ultrasignup results shows what he is really made of. That link also shows his downfall – He hasn't completed a 100 mile race in 3 years due to injuries and bad races. That's why out of the top 4 picks he is my guy that needs to prove something. Roes has a handful of 100 mile races under his belt in the last year, with another handful of tough 100 course records. Killian has completed some amazing accomplishments in the past year including winning the largest/most popular 100 mile race in the WORLD (I consider him a younger, smarter, healthier better trained Anton) and of course Hal doesn't need to prove anything. He already has. That's my justification for my earlier comment.

      1. Art

        Great comments from everyone,

        A number of items people are not mentioning – Mother Natures variables and the "Thornley" Principle. With no insult to Hal "Da Man" – it is pretty safe to say Killian, Tony, and Jeff have faster footspeed; But one question begs – How do they run in furnace like heat? It will only be in the high 80's but that's plenty hot to knock the stuffing out of these great runners – we already know Tony doesn't like heat and sun exposed courses. Do Jeff and Killian run well in heat? We know Hal can. Will the snow in the early part of the course affect any of the top guys or gals? Thornley points out that great runners often have difficulty on this course due to the intense competition and hype. I'll take Killian (UTMB) and Nikki (WSx2) based on the facts that they have been in the crucible of one beast or another. As a blogger once said "Mother Nature bats last"

  6. David

    Somehow, maybe her boyfriend's blog, I thought Tamsin wasn't running or I would have her in the top five or top three. I'd like to re- do my bracket–I think I over thought the Killian "tired legs" thing. I think he might just stun us again.

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