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.
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
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.
- 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!