2013 Western States 100 Group Think Predictions

Western States 100 logoFor the fifth straight year, we’ve tabulated and taken a look at all the votes cast in our Western States 100 prediction contest. In the past, these “group think” predictions have generally been (much) better at forecasting the race’s outcome than individual pickers. So, if you’re looking for a solid relative ranking of this year’s Western States 100 competitors, look no further.

How the Group Think Predictions Work
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 over 800 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). Both the men’s and women’s tables show all WS runners who accumulated 30 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.

The Just Rewards
Injinji logo - horiztonalThanks again to all who participated in the contest! We hope you run away from it with Injinji toesocks, a pair of Montrail trail shoes, and some Mountain Hardwear apparel. Oh, and best of luck to all the runners the weekend. Remember to follow us on Twitter to receive updates on the leaders throughout the day.

2013 Western States 100 Men’s Field

2013 Western States 100 Men's Groupthink

Interesting Men’s Field Notes

  • Timothy Olson, the defending champ and course record holder, is the odds-on favorite for this year’s race. Not only did he receive the most points, he also received the most individual votes for both first and second place. Of the 823 ballots cast that included votes for all eight men’s places, an amazing 792 included a vote for Olson – for rate of over 96%! He also didn’t receive a single vote to finish eighth.
  • With last year’s runner up Ryan Sandes not running this year (sorry to the 33 of you who cast a vote for him), the second-highest returnee from the men’s side, Nick Clark, easily received the second-highest point total while also receiving the highest number of votes cast for both third and fourth places.
  • Two newcomers (at least if we look at the past decade and a half!), Mike Morton and Rob Krar took third and fourth respectively in the overall tally. Both received a significant number of first place votes with 1997 champ Morton actually having the second highest total a ways behind Olson. Neither was the top vote getter for any individual place.
  • There are clearly three favorites for the win this year, Olson, Clark, and Morton with Krar a distant fourth. The consensus is that Dylan Bowman and Hal Koerner are long shots with a chance, while another six guys – Dave Mackey, Ian Sharman, Karl Meltzer, Cameron ClaytonJorge Maravilla, and Joe Uhan – have only a snowball’s chance in hell to win this weekend… fortunately, at least part of that scenario will be in order. [Realistically, that should also cover anyone who has even the faintest notion of winning this weekend.]
  • In separate voting for the men’s master’s win, Mike Morton had a large gap over Dave Mackey, 385 to 226, with Karl Meltzer back in third with 142 votes. Andy Jones-Wilkins was a distant fourth with 25 picks. No other male received a significant number of votes. That’s inline with how those four shook out in the general voting.
  • In a significant variation from recent years, the top foreign-residing male vote getter who is actually running the race is Argentina’s Gustavo Reyes in 23rd with 37 points.
  • The number of men receiving 10 or more points (the previous cutoff to make the chart) only increased from 28 last year to 31 this year… which is amazing given that an additional 13,222 points (80% increase) were in play for the men this year! That said, 107 men received at least one vote this year up from 71 last year and the previous high of 78 in 2011.
  • With 55 points, Rick Gates seems to have benefited from a case of mistaken identity. Folks, this ain’t Rickey Gates. Just two spots off the table with 19 points, Scott Wolfe may have similarly benefited from those who like the odds of, say, Mike Wolfe.

2013 Western States 100 Women’s Field

2013 Western States 100 Women's Groupthink

  • Rory Bosio, the top returnee (second last year), is far and away the most dominant prediction for a win in the five-year history of this prediction contest. From the total points standpoint, Bosio received 64% more points than the next point getter, while the next-biggest gap in contest history was when Ellie Greenwood received 42.5% more points than Lizzy Hawker last year… and we all know how that turned out for Ellie! [Uh, if you don’t know how that turned out for Ellie, she won in a course record time of 16:47.]
  • The only previous women’s champ in the field, Nikki Kimball, received the second-highest number of points by a slight margin over 100-mile rookie Emily Harrison. Kimball was the top vote getter for both a third- and fourth-place finish. Like the third-ranked runner on the men’s side, Mike Morton, Harrison received the second highest number of votes to win.
  • In separate voting for the master’s win, Meghan Arbogast led Nikki Kimball, 436 to 301, despite Kimball being ranked higher in the open category. No other women racing received a significant number of votes.
  • As on the men’s side, we’ve got to look a ways down the table to find the top foreign-residing women’s runner who’ll be running this year’s Western States – Nicola Glidersleeve of Canada in 21st.
  • An incredible 71 of the 84 (84.5%) women’s entrants in this year’s race received at least one vote!
  • Last year, 27 women received at least 10 points. That number jumped to 43 this year. That’s in line with the 78% (12,872 point) increase in the total number of points cast for the women from last year to this year.

Call for Comments

  • So what do you all think about the group prediction?
  • What interesting observations have you made about the data?
  • 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!
  • Any statisticians want to dive into this?

There are 27 comments

  1. Jeff

    It's going to be a hot one…forecast high of 100 in Auburn (but a few miles south where I live, 106..how can that be accuweather???)…of course the race is somewhat unpredictable but with the heat even more so. I have run that lower section of WS course many times…when it's hot the heat seems to radiate up from the clay baking beneath your feet. Staying cool and hydrated is going to be key…and taking advantage of shade when you have it.

    Good luck to all the runners…and stay safe out there!

  2. Jim

    Love this! I think Jennifer Benna should be up a little further. There could be a couple women dealing with some injuries. For the men I think it will come down to who handles the heat the best. What? No love on the list for Bryon Powell? Come on…how do you think he gets to all the places he needs to be in past races giving us great updates! Good luck Bryon!

  3. Patrick L

    Gotta love all those statistics! With high temperatures expected, I made my predictions with a nod to those WS100 veterans. My top 8 had the same 8 as the Group Think, but in a different order; I think veterans/HOFers like Mackey, Koerner, and even that "rookie" known as the Speedgoat could best handle the warm conditions on race day.

    Good luck to all! Most importantly, race safe!

  4. Nick J

    I didn't get to vote but I'm going for a Nick Clark win, followed by Hal and maybe Tim or Karl. Not at all sure about the womens race but rooting for Rory.

  5. Aaron K.

    The biggest surprise for me is that 66% of respondents think Cam Clayton will finish out of the Top 8.

    Best of luck to all the runners. . .

  6. Brett

    Yea the hotter it is, the better Morton looks. Amy Sproston has been on fire lately too…surprised she is down as 'low' as she is.

    I call BS on AJW at #18. I guarantee you there will be 4-6 people above him who don't even finish.

  7. Brian Vanderheiden

    When did Trent Briney pull out?? Can I change my picks? If so, can you please email them to me Bryon? Thank you!!

  8. Montoya

    I realize that it is a very small number; however, I would be very interested in any of the 8 who placed T. Olson as finishing 7th or any of the 20 placing him lower than 6th to share their thoughts. He has had consistently strong results since the course record finish last year. Is their a belief that 6 of the other WS100 entrants would have finished as close to Sage as Timothy did this year? Just curious. Thanks! Montoya

  9. Patrick L

    Great call, Brett. AJW will certainly be much higher, especially considering the fact that 2 runners ahead of him aren't even in the race. Sixteenth place is still a bit too low for the IPO Ironhorse.

  10. Greg


    I have Olson at 4th, which isn't the same as 6th or 7th, but my reasoning might be the same as others: I think that as the defending champ he'll be more likely than other runners to feel he has to cover someone else's move (this could put him in a hole later in the race). Maybe those who picked him as 6th or 7th are thinking that he'll have a very similar result to what Bowman had last year, which isn't to say they don't think he is "only" the 6th or 7th best runner there but is saying he'll be in contention for the win until a late stage in the race and then fall back a few spots. Just an idea. For the record, I have Morton, Clark, and Bowman in front of him.

  11. butch

    Rory Bosio is a winner before even entering a race…….10 days ago she came down to Salinas and gave a motivational speach to over 100 people………what an amazing young woman……..she had the entire group in the palm of her hand..one never knows how any participant will perform on any given day running 100 miles…..but there is no doubt Rory is a winner 24 hours of every day…..good luck Rory from me and your Salinas fan club

    1. Cody C

      I worked the aid station at Desert Solstice last year when she ran a 15:01 100 miler. That was an amazing performance that none of the previews mentioned.

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