2013 Western States 100 Men’s Preview

Western States 100 logo[Editor’s Note: We’ve got an avalanche of Western States coverage. You can check it all out on our dedicated Western States 100 page.]

It’s the second half of June, which means the Western States 100 is right around the corner. On June 29th, 400-or-so runners will head out from Squaw Valley with a bevy of top dudes leading the way. Perhaps two dozen will compete for a top-ten spot with maybe 10 having at least an outside shot at the win. This year’s race is heartily stocked with past WS100 champs and even more returnees from last year’s top ten. There are also a handful of Western States newcomers who promise to spice things up.

Perhaps the most notable absence from this year’s race is foreign-residing competition. In recent years, the likes of Kilian Jornet, Ryan Sandes, Jez Bragg, and Tsuyoshi Kaburaki have added an international flavor to the race. This year will see US-residing Brits Nick Clark and Ian Sharman competing and Gustavo Reyes making the trip north from Argentina; however, this is a far cry from, say 2011, when nine of the top-14 runners were foreign born with five of those living outside of the US at the time.

Editor’s Notes/Update:
We also published a full 2013 Western States 100 Women’s Preview and and Group Think predictions as well as the following interviews and profiles.

Champions of the “Recent” Past

The most likely place to look for future champions is among those who have already proven they can win. Western States is no different, as its history with many multi-win champions shows.

Timothy Olson - 2012 Western States 100 - pre-raceThe more recent a success, the more useful it is in predicting future success. So it should be little surprise that I open this preview with last year’s champ and course-record holder, Timothy Olson. Great conditions or not, his 14:46:44 last year is unquestionably one of the best performances ever run on the Western States Trail. Olson started the year off well enough with a win at the Bandera 50k and second at the Ray Miller 50 Mile before a knee injury slowed him to 13th at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile in April. However, he quickly figured out his injury and bounced back to a very strong fourth at Transvulcania in early May. Olson clearly has the fitness and desire to be the first repeat winner since Hal Koerner, his pacer from last year.

Hal Koerner won Western States in 2007 and 2009 with no race run in 2008 due to forest fires. Since then, Koerner’s continued to run an huge number of races with some standout performances as well as plenty of ho hum (for him) runs. Still, when he focuses on a race, he’s almost always damn good. Witness, his 2012 Hardrock 100 win. I’ve not seen Koerner recently enough to know if he’s all in for States, but we can only assume he is!

Mike Morton 24 Hour American RecordGoing just a biiiiit further into the past, 1997 Western States champ and former-course-record holder Mike Morton is returning after a 16-year hiatus. Normally, such a long break would suggest a runner is returning simply to make a token appearance as a celebrity. Nothing could be further from the case with Morton this year. In fact, Morton might represent the most exciting addition to this year’s men’s field. After many years away from competitive running, he spent a few years killing 24-hour races before crushing Scott Jurek’s 24-hour American record by running 172+ miles in a day last September. He also won the Badwater 135 last July, just seconds off the course record. Last month, Morton skipped the 24-hour world championships to make sure he’d be in top form come WS.

Despite winning Western States by the largest margin of victory (51 minutes) since Scott Jurek’s 54-minute win over Dave Mackey in 2004, Graham Cooper’s 2006 victory will always be looked at differently given Brian Morrison hitting the track in the lead with a comfortable margin before failing to finish under his own power. Following his win, Cooper has finished in the top ten twice more with a third in 2007 and seventh in 2011. Cooper’s only ultra finish in 2013, fourth at the Quicksilver 50 Mile in 7:36 in May, suggests a top-ten finish would be a good one for him this year.

Last Year’s Top Ten

With less than two weeks until race day, it looks like seven of last year’s top-ten men will toe the line in Squaw Valley on June 29th. That would match last year’s top-ten-returnee rate. The three M10s known not to be running as of June 16th are Ryan Sandes (2nd), Zeke Tiernan (6th), and Neal Gorman (10th). Aside from Olson (discussed above), here are the returning runners from last year’s top ten.

2012 Leadville 100 - Nick Clark3rd – Nick Clark (15:44:09) – Nick Clark is the only runner in modern Western States history (1986 on) to twice break 16 hours. He’s also the only runner during that span to have two of the ten-fastest times. (Last year’s time is good enough for 9th all time and his 15:50:23 from 2011 is 10th.) This year, Clark won the Fuego y Agua 100k unchallenged in February but finished a disappointing tenth at Lake Sonoma in April. Still, I don’t see Clarkie disappointing on race day – he’s a top-five guy. Period.

4th – Dave Mackey (15:53:36) – Mackey improved on his eighth place in 2011 with fourth place last year. He also broke 16 hours and broke Tsuyoshi Kaburaki’s masters “unbreakable” course record of 16:07:04. Mackey’s run some strong performances this year, including second (to Sage Canaday) at the Bandera 100k in January, winning the Mount Mitchell Challenge, and fifth at Lake Sonoma. He’s also been cranking out massive amounts of training after years of being stretched thin by schooling. However, I can’t quite figure out why he started the San Diego 100 (but DNF’ed due to taking a wrong turn after mile 60) on June 8th. Dave, care to explain what were you thinking?

Ian Sharman Interview5th – Ian Sharman (15:54:38) – Sharman also made a big jump from 2011 to 2012, going from tenth to fifth while taking 45 minutes off his time. Sharman continued to excel later in 2012 with fourths at the UROC 100k and JFK 50 Mile. This year, the most competitive ultras he’s run have been the Gorge Waterfalls 50k and Miwok (modified) 60k – he placed fourth at both. Those places aren’t encouraging indicators for Sharman improving to fourth or better at this year’s WS; however, he’s methodical and likely to work his way into a solid position in the top ten in the final 40 miles. Along with Nick Clark, Sharman is also only one of two men to have placed in the top ten at least three years in a row. It’s worth noting that Sharman is competing in this year’s Grand Slam, so we’ll see if he holds back with the Vermont 100 and beyond in mind – I doubt it.

7th – Dylan Bowman (16:03:24) – Last year, Bowman faded his way to seventh in just over 16 hours. I could be wrong, but I think he was the top-ten runner most disappointed with his performance on the day. With another year of experience and training, Bowman should be disappointed if he’s not top five this year. He’s won both of his ultras – the Ray Miller 50 Mile and the Miwok 60k – in 2013 and ran the Grand Canyon R2R2R in 6:55 (the 3rd-fastest time ever?) in mid-May.

Jorge Maravilla - 2012 Western States 1008th – Jorge Maravilla (16:05:30) – Maravilla is another runner who should greatly benefit from another year of ultra training and, more importantly, racing. As well as he ran at Western States last year, he was even more impressive… and aggressive in taking third at UROC last September. Amidst jetsetting to races around the world this year, Maravilla took fourth at Lake Sonoma in April. Hopefully, he doesn’t have too many flying and/or racing miles under his belt in 2013.

9th – Joe Uhan (16:13:14) – Despite having frequent contact with Uhan as he’s an iRunFar columnist, I’ll admit that his top-ten performance was still the biggest top-ten surprise in last year’s race. A year later, I see that I shouldn’t have been or be surprised by Uhan cracking top ten at States. He’s following in the footsteps of runners like Craig Thornley and Andy Jones-Wilkins in being 100%-focused on Western States preparation and performance. While others are chasing competition, prizes, and adventure in racing, by design Uhan has run but one ultra in 2013, taking seventh at Lake Sonoma. Although that’s two spots lower than he finished at Sonoma in 2012, it was also almost 19 minutes faster.

Excitement Sources

While it’s fun to think about how Western States veterans will fare in an upcoming edition of the race, talented newcomers add a whole different level of excitement to the event. This year, there are four men making their Western States debuts who could really shake up the race from start to finish. As a bonus, this group is as varied as can be, with three of the runners making their 100-mile debuts and another who has more 100-mile wins than any other runner in history.

Rob Krar - Grand Canyon R2R2R FKTRob Krar is fresh off breaking Dakota Jones’s Grand Canyon R2R2R FKT by 32 minutes(!) not long after taking 7 minutes off the Leona Divide 50 Mile course record Dylan Bowman set last year. Of Krar’s four official ultras, he’s set course records at his last three. In his ultra debut last November, he finished just behind Jason Wolfe at the Bootlegger 50k, and now sits two-and-a-half minutes off the course record there. Krar’s ultra success comes hot on the heels of dominating the La Sportiva Mountain Cup in 2012 and a long pedigree on the track (1:51 800m PR) and roads (1:06 half marathon PR). Honestly, I can see Krar winning Western States despite being a rookie at the distance… and that’s saying something.

2013 Transvulcania Ultramarathon - Cameron ClaytonUndoubtedly, Cameron Clayton will go big or go home, or perhaps more accurately given the difficulty of the race, he’ll be at the top or on a cot. It takes a 24 year old with some chutzpah to say he’d rather go for 14 hours than 15:10 at States. That said, this recent University of Colorado runner has performed admirably at his first three ultras. Last September, he ran his way into Western States by winning the Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile. That, his ultra debut, was also a course record, besting Geoff Roes’s 2010 time by 2 minutes. This spring, Clayton’s followed that up with a second to Sage Canaday at Lake Sonoma before taking seventh at Transvulcania (pre-race interview). It’s worth noting that Western States rarely favors the bold.

Trent Briney - 2012 JFK 50 MileTrent Briney ran his way into Western States when he took second at the 2012 JFK 50 Mile behind Max King. Despite having previously run only one ultra, a 50k three months earlier, he ran the second-fastest time in JFK history. It’s quite likely that Briney’s 2:12:34 is by far the fastest marathon PR of anyone in this year’s WS100 field. (57-year-old Bruce Fordyce, who was to make his WS debut this year would have been close, but he’s not running.) No, that doesn’t guarantee success at 100 miles, but that and his run at JFK sure show he has potential. That said, Briney did not fare well at the Quad Rock 50 Mile last month, taking 15th. He’s currently unsure about running States this year after battling illness. [Update: Trent Briney has withdrawn due to illness.]

Karl Meltzer 100 MileWith 35 100-mile wins, Karl Meltzer probably needs no introduction here. However, he may need an introduction to some of the locals along the Western States course as, while it’s hard to believe, this will be Meltzer’s Western States debut… and he’s been excited about that since he qualified with his win at the Run Rabbit Run 100 last September. Since then, he’s thrown down a 14:33 100 mile at the Buffalo Run… but has been battling a calf issue in recent months, which has limited his training.

A Few Additional Contenders

  • Yassine Diboun – Twelfth at last year’s WS100, Diboun ran himself into this year’s race by taking third at the Pinhoti 100 in November. Not sure what’s behind his racing three of the past four weekends, including placing fifth at the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile on June 8th.
  • Topher Gaylord – His racing in the US has rarely reflected his fitness, particularly at Western States. However, in following his training on Strava, Gaylord impresses me on a regular basis. It’s time for him to finally bust one at States.
  • Jeremy Humphrey – This will be Humphrey’s first highly competitive ultra since he’s broken out in the past two years. He earned his way into WS with a second place at the Pinhoti 100 last November (beating Yassine Diboun) after winning the Cascade Crest 100 last August just 4 minutes off Rod Bien’s course record.
  • Andy Jones-Wilkins – AJW had his seven-year, men’s-top-ten streak broken when an injury kept him out of last year’s race. He’s trained well and knows how to race this course as well as anyone. A low-teens finish would be a triumph after his injury-riddled 2012.
  • Mark Lantz – Earned M9 at the 2009 WS100, but is a teens-at-best runner in the new era of Western States. Took fifth at the American River 50 Mile this April, but 44 minutes off the win.
  • Nick Pedatella – Pedatella likely lacks the raw speed needed for at top-ten finish at States and he’s running the Grand Slam this summer. That said, he’s super strong in 100s and likely to finish in the second ten. If it’s a hot day, Pedatella’s smarts could squeeze him into the top ten.
  • Gustavo Reyes – A speedy Argentine runner who took eighth at El Cruce in February before a rough go at the Transvulcania Ultramarathon in May. He could be the top non-North American resident in this year’s race.
  • Jacob Rydman – Although he only has one 100-mile finish (a 22-hour Tahoe Rim Trail 100 in 2011) to his credit, this local and Western States devotee should not be underestimated. Rydman was the first person to run himself into this year’s States via the 2012-13 Montrail Ultra Cup when he placed second behind Timothy Olson at last August’s Waldo 100k. Rydman ran a respectable 11th at Lake Sonoma in April.
  • Paul Terranova – Without the Grand Kona Slam (Grand Slam of Ultrarunning plus Kona Ironman) on his plate this summer, Terranova can focus on States. He’s run well this year with a third at the Bandera 100k, second at the Nueces 50 mile, and wins at the Hells Hills 50 Mile and Squak Mountain 50k. He could have had his confidence shaken by his most recent race – an eighth at the Quad Rock 50 Mile last month.

Other Speedy Entrants

  • Dan Barger
  • Quent Bearden
  • Joseph Czabaranek
  • Lon Freeman
  • Jesse Haynes
  • Paulo Medina
  • Erik Skaden
  • Brandon Stapanowich

Notable DNSes

  • Bruce Fordyce
  • Neal Gorman – Out due to a bout with cytomegalovirus.
  • Ryan Sandes – Last year’s runner up and owner of the second-fastest run in WS history is out with ankle injury.

 Call for Comments

  • Who do you think will win? Who will join him on the podium? Any big surprises looming?
  • Who would you add to this preview?
  • Got any insight into the fitness level of anyone listed above? If so, do share. Likewise, let us know if any of the above will not be racing.
  • Any thoughts at the decline in foreign participation in this year’s Western States whether on the cause or the effect?

There are 155 comments

  1. joshua finger

    Don't overlook Matt Wilson from PA. Although not a threat for a top finish, at 51 years old, he has a shot at breaking the the 25 year old 50-59 age group record of 18:43:58. His only other appearance at the distance was a top 5 finish at the 2012 edition of the Grindstone 100!

  2. richard

    We know what timmy can bring so I am more fascinated by what krar and morton deliver. Generally rooting for the brits abroad though- on the right day and running sensibly like nick and ian do….who knows. Clayton could hekp them out- if he goes off hard enough and long enough to put enough doubt into the other guys minds, they'll chase too early and late carnage could manifest

  3. bohica

    I really want Mike Morton to do well here. Hard to predict top 10 not knowing who's in form and who's coming off injury, but top 10 given this field is a major accomplishment. I think Olson, Bowman, and Koerner fight it out for the win Lots of dyanmics here. I'll be curious about what the fast 100 mile guys (Morton/Sharman) do v. the fast shorter distance guys (Krar, Briney, and Clayton). I love the "vets" in the race with Speedgoat, Mackey, and AJW amongst others. Who will win the grand slam (e.g. Clark or Sharman)? Who will suprise – maybe Rydman? How does a mountain runner like Pedatella fair? It will be cool to see the different styles and different strengths play itself out.

    1. Jeff

      I think it's because of Clayton's statement that he's going to go out hard and see what happens. In a 100-mile race, a "top or cot" approach leads to the cot more often than the top. Although with the reaction that that statement has gotten, maybe he's reconsidering?

      Also Krar's Grand Canyon R2R2R FKT record by 32 minutes beats some pretty big names (Dakota Jones, Tony Krupicka)by a LOT.

      1. Bryon Powell

        CDG, my greater skepticism (if one calls it that) re Cam at this year's States is for the reason Jeff mentions. Cameron wants to run like a hero (paraphrasing, but accurate, here) in his first 100. About that…. ;-)

        On the other hand, I'll leave you with an as yet unpublished quote from Krar,

        I know I work hard and I train hard, but I also realize that Western States is, literally, twice as far as I’ve ever run before, so I’m just going to go out and run a smart race. I think that’s key for me and time will tell if my body and my mind hold up for the 100 miles. It’ll take a lot of patience.

        1. KenZ

          With that quote, my money's on Krar for a top 5. Not a win because it's his first 100, but in the game for 1st the following year.

          But damn, I love all these guys! BTW, Jeremy Humphrey's "miss" on the CR at CC100 last year was due to some local noodleheads 'resetting' the course ribbons after the last aid station, sending him at least 20 min off course in the final five miles. According to everyone at the finish, he was a true ultra runner about it, shrugged, and gave the "that's trail racing" answer followed by a happy breakfast.

          1. Jason H

            I'm thinking Jeremy will be up there. He was on his way to destroying Bien's record at CCC, and this year it sounds like his training has him in a place he's never been before wrt fitness.

        2. Jeff

          I just heard Krar's interview on Talk Ultra. He said pretty much what Bryon has above – he plans to start conservatively and "run his own race".

          He also really downplayed his R2R2R time citing conditions being pretty much perfect. Sounds like he's got his head in the right place heading into WS.

  4. Charlie M.

    You heard it here first:

    (1) Bowman

    (2) Krar

    (3) Olson

    (4) Morton

    (5) Clark

    (6) Meltzer

    (7) Koerner

    (8) Sharman

    (9) Uhan

    (10) AJW!

      1. manpswift

        That's harsh. You might be eating those word's soon. Top 10 will be hard, for sure. Mid packer?????? Reality check.

          1. Charlie M.

            C'mon Pete, ya gots to give AJW some love.

            Consider this: In 2011, when he placed top-ten and ran 16:39, he ran 1:04 at the Charlottesville Half. This year (2013) he ran 1:05. He's the same runner! :)

            1. Pete

              a big big difference between 10 miles and 100 however. His 50 mile results put him in the middle of the pack. He can still can get the job done but I doubt he ever finishes top 10 again.

            2. Bryon Powell

              "a big big difference between 10 miles and 100 however." Agree, Pete… and most of us stand a heck of a lot better chance at beating AJW at 10 miles than at 100 miles. I've out raced AJW mano-a-mano at 5k, but even his my current fitness and AJW's lackluster 2012, I've got no illusions of beating him over 100.2 miles along the Western States course this year. His training is solid, he experience vast, and, having paced him many times, he's gritty as hell.

              Yes, I realize my opinion on this is far from un-biased, but with AJW being one of my best friends, I'd sure as heck like to beat him… and I just don't see that as a possibility! :-) (Granted, I'm no where near top ten, but I also don't see AJW being "near" me.)

            3. AJW

              Hey guys, just a few thoughts:

              There is no doubt that it would take an extraordinary turn of events for me to land in the top-10 this year. From my perspective I'd need a really hot day, more than the usual amount of carnage, and a good deal of luck to squeeze into M10. Of course, I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't thinking about it and if I arrive at Highway 49 in 11th place I'll run my butt off to try to catch whoever is in front of me. That said, Craig Thornley has implored me to "just finish" so as not to jeopardize my chance at the 10-day buckle in 2014. So, this is all to say, I plan to run my race and see how the chips fall.

              On the topic of my recent race results, while they may appear mid-packerish, I must say I have not "raced" a sub-100 miler since 2008. The truth is, all of my events lead up to 100-mile races and, as hard as it may be to believe, the only 100-miler I really care about is Western States. Coming off an injury plagued year in 2012 I did enter more events this winter/spring and enjoyed them all immensely but I don't think any of them are indicative of my fitness going into WS. All of my training/racing is geared toward peaking for WS and I won't really know if I did that successfully until the race is over.

              All this said, I can assure you I will savor every minute on that trail later this month as missing the race last year was pretty heartbreaking for me.

              See you in Squaw!


            4. Pete

              Thanks Bryon and AJW. I guess mid packer is a bit over stated. Good luck to the both of you on your journey. I hope you guys both have good days out there.

            5. Mike Bailey

              I've had the opportunity of watching AJW run at a handful of Virginia ultras in 2013. I concur he was not racing any of them hard and was still casually placing in the top 10%. It was not unusual for him to catch a lot of runners towards the end of the race because at mile 25, he was just getting warmed up. I would not be surprised if AJW ran somewhere near 18 hours. Not a top 10, but possibly a top 20, which would be darn good coming off an injury year. In a pre-2010 type starting field, he may have had a better chance at M10.

            1. hj

              in fairness i don't think you can put too much into his most recent results as his focus has been on using those as training runs for WS, not to compete for wins.

  5. Marcus Schmidt


    thank you for the great preview!

    My guess for top 5 is:

    Mike Morton – Hal Koerner – Tim Olson – Rob Krar – Nick Clark

    a 15-year past time winner history on the podium –

    how cool would that be?

  6. Takis Tsogkarakis

    Great post Bryon, thanks!

    Pls note, the Greek ultrarunner champion Argyrios Papathanassopoulos (bib 317). He has placed third in Atacama Crossing in 2012, 1st in Namib Desert Challenge 2013, has had a good placement in Marathon Des Sables a few years ago and top-3 positions in trail ultras in Greece. If he's in good shape, he 's gonna be in the top-20 for sure ;)

    Takis Tsogkarakis

  7. Pete

    I actually think clark wins it this year. Sounds like he is peaking just right for westerns. He is certainly due for a major win at the 100 mile distance.

    1. manpswift

      Nick always trains and peaks well. Mr consistency, but his number of 3rd places proves he hasn't been quite good enough to win in the past.

    1. Bryon Powell

      No sense in guessing until at least the end of this week… or, preferably, the end of next week. 70F for a high could mean another ~15-hour States. 100F for a high in Auburn is more like a 17-hour-and-change winning time.

  8. Tim Lambert

    No course record this year, its going to be a hot one. However, I'm guessing top guys as follows:

    1. Nick Clark (he is ready) in 15:30 ish

    2. Tim Olson

    3. Dave Mackey

    4. Dylan Bowman

    5. Jorge Maravilla

    6. Mike Morton

    7. Rob Krarr

    8. Ian Sharman

    9. Hal Koerner

    10. Jacob Rydman

    11. Joe Uhan

    1. Pete

      The way the weather is trending recently the weather looks to be very reasonbable. Highs are predicted only to be 90 degrees a few days before the race. However it is warmer then last year

      1. Tim Lambert

        Hi Pete, I'm in England so only seeing what is on the web. However, looking at the past and ruling out exceptional years, 90 is going to be pretty warm and means 100+ in the canyons: http://www.wser.org/weather/

        Having crewed for an elite last year, it was certainly not the weather I expected and I suppose anything can happen on the day.

        1. Pete

          true. I live close to the area and just feel it has been really mild temp wise and doesnt seem to be changing much. But ya I forget the canyons get so much hotter then say auburn.

          1. Bryon Powell

            Yeah, re the Auburn/Canyons temp difference. In 2006, I ran the race. The official high in Auburn was 101F… and I observed a shaded thermometer in El Doroado Canyon at 116F. :-)

  9. Dan

    Scenario #1

    Cameron's going to pull the field out really fast and they will all crash and burn… then SpeedGoat will come and clean up all of the carnage in the for the win (sans pacer BTW)

    Scenario #2

    Olson, Krar, Koerner, Mackey, Sharman and company ignore Cameron, and run as a pack for the first 2/3rds of the race, and if Timmy's knee is okay he slowly pulls away from the field.

    Other than those two scenarios, it's anybody's game

  10. Johnny

    Super excited to see how Morton will do. It's going to be a hell of a fight for that top spot. Also, would love to see Speedgoat get top 10.

  11. Dave T.

    1. Morton

    2. Clark

    3. Olson

    4. Karr

    5. Sharman

    6. Koerner

    7. Mackey

    8. Uhan

    9. Maravilla

    10. Meltzer

    Super excited about this race and I think Morton can pull it out which would be awesome. In fact, I think there will be a considerable gap between 1 and 2.

  12. Ellie

    The knarlier the weather the less pure speed matters and experience/ attention to detail/ grit comes into the equation more and more. Mike Morton seems to run well in heat (Badwater), Dave, Nick and Speedgoat are kinda tough :) and the WS obsessives of AJW & Joe will place higher than they might in a cooler year. And Hal, if he's fit I'd put him up the front for sure.

    1. Brett

      Mike did 165 miles on a hilly dirt 24 hour event when the heat index was over 90F for over 8 hours during the day. He really knows how to take care of himself.

  13. Dean G

    A really exciting race this year… So many different stories… Morton coming back, Krar just crushing it at shorter distances… Timmy Olsen who destroyed the course last year but also had a breakout race here the year before so you know he loves this course… Speedgoat finally getting to run… Nick who seems to have dialed back his racing in prep for this and could really nail it… Hal who just appears out of thin air and magically runs great ;)…. Cameron, Mackey, Bowman, Sharman… On and on and on…

    Feels like there are about 10 different ways 10 different guys could win…


  14. Ted Nunes

    Morton for the win… I've "heard" his training is going very well and he has been spending a lot of time climbing. Calling for the fastest split from forrest hill to the river…. Let's hope his pacer can keep up! :)

  15. NickP

    This should be a good one to watch play out. Picking the winner is a bit of a crapshoot. I figure 5-7 guys are just going to go for it…one will survive until the finish, another few will hang in for a top-10 spot, and the rest will either DNF or be outside the top-10. Clark and Bowman run smart and pick up all the pieces and finish second and third.

  16. Jesse

    Hard to predict the entire top ten, but unless Morton has a very off day (which doesn't seem to happen often) I can't seem him being beaten. Actually has he ever been beaten at 100 miles?

    Also does anyone know why Fordyce isn't running?

    1. Ellie

      Bruce Fordyce had a knee injury, he's on the mend but hasn't got enough training in for WS this year. I think he hopes to give it a shot another year.

      1. Jesse

        Thanks Ellie! Too bad he won't be there this year, I was really hoping to meet him, he is such a legend. Hope to see him there another year!

  17. Gary

    Cameron will go out hard… will the veterans have the patience to let him?

    I think that's the question… Who's going to have the patience?

    Should be a FASCINATING race. Excited to watch it unfold!

  18. T.S.

    A very unscientific review of WS splits in the "modern era" seems to point to the winner truly "racing" the second half (out of Foresthill, anyhow) in a way that one might doubt a 100-mile rookie could – consider the now-famous anecdote of Roes running low-7-minute pace when he caught AK in 2010. By that logic, Krar's doubt/modesty seems pretty reasonable, and Clayton should be in the same boat, right? But I don't mean to be a cynic–as a commenter points out on the Runtramp interview, it's likely that no one was thinking that Kyle Scaggs would run sub-24 at Hardrock as a rookie in 2008. Anyhow, what I mean to say is that I think the runners with a real chance of running hard for the last 40 miles are Olson, Bowman, and Clark–especially Clark, who is so tough and consistent over time. But we'll see–should be a very exciting day in the Sierra Nevada.

  19. Brett

    A few notes:

    a) I think Bryon is right in that Nick Clark and Ian Sharman are going after the Grand Slam…but if given the chance to win they will shelve a good GS result for another time. I think all the GS will do will have them start off at a more reasonable pace.

    b) Mike Morton has been spending 4 day weekends on the WS course for the last 2 months…running 100+ mile FOUR DAY WEEKENDS.

    c) As usual, on paper AJW is not top 10. So, as usual, nobody will predict him to finish in the top 10. So, as usual, he has a good chance to sneak in. Really, as other people have said, several folks will go too hot the first half because that's what it will take to win…resulting in a few blowups and a few DNFs from those top rated folks. That's likely all the crack in the door that AJW needs.

    1. Brett

      And for the record, I'll stick with my predicted finish from a May comment on iRunFar:

      Olson, Krar, Morton, Clark, Sharman, Bowman, Maravilla, Mackey, Clayton, Briney, AJW, Uhan, Pedatella, Diboun, Meltzer. Yes I put AJW #11 on purpose. :) Pick a few DNFs at random from the top and there you go for another top 10.

      1. Matthew C Bryant

        I'd put Pedatella and Meltzer top 10, but otherwise this is a good list.

        I'm deeply concerned about coverage. With Bryon running in the race, how is he going to update me as to what's going on? I have to assume Megan will be crewing for him… honestly, I might have to buy a plane ticket and go out there. This will be too exciting to miss!

        1. Bryon Powell

          Fret not, Matthew. Just as in 2011 when I last ran States, Meghan's first and only job on race day will be reporting on the race. She'll have a strong team helping her out along the way! :-)

          As for me, despite the fact that I'm likely to run with some of the top women in the early going, I will NOT be offering and from-the-course updates. For one day, my ultrarunning focus will be inward. ;-)

    2. NickP

      I talked about this with Clark several weeks ago. He is definitely not going to hold anything back with an eye towards the grand slam record.

    3. Guy

      I'm glad to see someone finally mention Morton's training for this. He's got Florida heat and all that mountain running under his already highly qualified belt.

      Also, being in VA I've seen AJW around the race scene this spring and for Terrapin, he went low heart rate, but his descent times were indicative of a much faster time if had pushed any. Then at Promise Land he looked great after. Plus he's been on Priest Mountain most weekends, nothing gets you in shape quite like laps on Priest. He will be interesting in the mix for 10th.

    1. KenZ

      Yeah, good point on the Morton-heat comment. Granted, BW last year was a "cool" year, but that's on a relative basis. Morton crushes it in the heat.

  20. Pete

    Simply put I can't wait to spectate the event. I will head up early and watch the field go over the top of squaw. Then i will get my run in and head down at watch the race unfold near foresthill and maybe follow it for a bit. Nice to see such a deep field. There really is a large group that can win.

  21. rob

    Cameron Clayton makes a pretty outlandish interview but I think his race performances have been pretty even keeled in comparison. I'm not saying that he wont have a rough race in his 100 debut. There is an acknowledged learning curve for everyone at this distance. I just think he's shown much more maturity out on the trails than his interviews would suggest.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Of your three predictions, I'd collectively say "quite possible," "likely," and "not a chance in hell." I'll let you figure out to which of your predictions each of my replies applies. ;-)

  22. Wes

    Definitely one of the most exciting WS100 fields assembled here. I'm going with

    1. Olsen

    2. Morton

    3. Bowman

    4. Koerner

    5. Mackey

    6. Clark

    7. Meltzer

    8. AJW

    9. Sharman

    10. Uhan

    I think the top 5 could come down to three guys running from "no-hands" battling it out for the closest 1,2,3 ever. Can't wait…wish this could be televised. -w

  23. Ted

    I say go Joe Uhan.

    His blogs are hilarious, he listens to cheesy music, and he likes Seinfeld.

    And offer him Junior Mints at the aid stations, because "Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It's chocolate, it's peppermint — it's delicious!"

  24. Collin

    I am really excited about Morton personally. He always takes out his races pretty hard and he seems less likely than most to blow up, considering all of his 100+ mile runs. That said, he's never had anyone close enough to really have to close hard, which has kind of been the case for recent mens' WS winners. In any case, he will probably string out the race and keep it quick.

  25. Collin

    And yeah, Karl doesn't need training. He has enough 100s in his system to get away with it. :) It would be fun to see him win, but the course might be a bit "flat" for him. Hah.

  26. Ian Sharman

    As with previous recent years it'll come down to who nails it and who screws it up. From the list of guys above I'd guess there's 10 guys who could realistically win but of those 10 several won't finish in the top 10 and may not even finish at all, especially if it's a hot year. But the guy everyone seems to be under-rating the most is Smiley Maravilla.

  27. BGD

    BP – A fun contest might be "How many PI E-Motion shoes will finish in the top 10?"

    I know of at least 6 or 7 legitimate top-10 contenders on the preview above who will be sporting them (4 of them are returning top-10'rs from '12!)

  28. Daniel Westrate

    I've had yet another vision of the future and I have seen what happens in this race. Olson and Bowman go back and forth over the second fifty with Bowman pulling out the win! Olson comes in like 5 minutes behind for 2nd and Nick Clark gets third like a half hour later.

  29. Alex from New Haven

    No CLUE who's going to win.

    I think it's very likely that Morton/Clayton will take it out crazy hard and be leading going into the canyons. I think Morton will be leading at Foresthill with Clayton slowly but surely melting down. Morton will have 10 minutes at FH and the other contenders will slowly reel him in and the winner (not Morton but he stays top 5) will pass him around ALT. That's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

    When they finish I'll be at Cal 2 and hopefully working towards a sub-24 :)

    Alex McDaniel from New Haven

  30. Chris in VA

    Rooting for Mike Morton

    2/2/13 Rocky Raccoon 100 14:28:09

    2/9/13 Iron Horse 100 13:14:31

    Solid training this year & already has 2 100 mile wins.

  31. Jason

    Way too hard to predict, but if I had to…

    1. Morton

    2. Clark

    3. Krar

    4. Bowman

    5. Meltzer

    6. Olson

    7. Uhan

    8. Sharman

    9. Mackey

    10. AJW

  32. Wyatt Hornsby

    I rarely post on iRunFar anymore cause I'm too busy training for Leadville but I have to chime in here. Anyone who discounts AJW as a has-been (especially when he finished in 16 and change in 2011) clearly doesn't understand 100-mile racing especially on hard courses with often extreme weather conditions. Too often we get all caught up in who's running "fast" and who won race X or race Y in the lead up. Fact is, all that matters is what happens on race day when it really counts, and for AJW the Big Kahuna is the WS100. Everything he does in advance of the big dance is all about getting ready for WS100. I've actually learned a lot from him via Strava and I'm modeling my approach to Leadville on how he's approached WS all these years. Also, in 100s the win or top 10 or what have you often comes down to who's the strongest in the last 20 or 25 miles. It's a game of who wants it the most. There will be few runners out there who want it more than AJW. That said, of course it'll be hard for AJW to break top 10 amid such a great field but he's done it quite a few times before and there's no reason to assume he won't have a great shot at it again this year. Sorry for the rant.


  33. jW

    Hard to imgaine Olson, Bowman, Clark, and Morton finishing outside the top 5.

    Also hard to imagine Krar and Clayton finishing outside the top 10 IF they don't implode.

  34. Jon Allen

    Great preview. Bryon, are you going to do the Top-10 challenge again? I like it mainly because we then get to see the groupthink results… and then laugh at ourselves after the race at how wrong we were.

  35. Ben Z

    The only thing I will predict is a top 5 for Uhan and a top 10 for Rydman. Guys know the course better than most. But of course I'm biased.

    Krar seems to be able to go to some dark places and run well in the heat. Should be fun to witness in person.

  36. Mike McMonagle

    I'm curious as to what Dave Mackey's up to also…He was absolutely crushing the SD100 last weekend, well ahead of course record pace before he stopped. I believe he went through mile 51 in about 7:30. And if heat matters, it was one of the hottest (if not the hottest) SD100 to date according to the RD. If nothing else, it certainly must have served as a great training run for Western.

    Also, even if I were any of the people mentioned in this preview, I'd still be scared to run down the trail with Mike Morton. That's not to say there aren't lots of guys capable of doing it, though. Would love to see Tim Olson and him go 1-2.

  37. Dave M

    Hey Bryon, In response to your question re SD 100.. I decided to run it mainly to explore another 100 miler as I had to be in CA anyway, and I'd heard it was an excellent course, which it was. I reckoned I wouldn't be recovered for WS100 but honestly I know I don't have a shot at winning WS100 these days so decided what they heck. It was an experiment of one in recovery. Unfortunately, a jackass shanghaied the course markings and sent me the wrong way on a race loop which made it far too late to turn back and get on course.

    Winner for 2013 WS 100? Krar

    1. Bryon Powell

      Sweet, Mackey. Thanks for chiming in. Sorry about the jackassery in SoCal. Scotty puts on bulletproof race.. but you can't account for the hardheartedness of others.

      See you on the starting line.

  38. JerseyM

    What a great race it will be. It will be a blast watching it first hand.

    My money is on Paulo Medina not winning the event, but winning the best crew support of the race. =P

    Vamos Paulo!! Vamos Peru!

    1. Paul G.

      Excited for him! I'll see you guys in Foresthill! Although, Paulo said now that he got his name on iRunFar, he's hanging up his running shoes, hopefully he waits until the 30th! :)

  39. Todd

    A little sad we won't get to see a vengeful Ryan Sandes looking to better his second place finish from last year. Healthy, he's definitely top ten.

    1. Andre (Hong Kong)

      Top GS100 contenders probably Ian Sharman, Nick Pedatella, Ryan Lund and Nick Clark (yet to sign up for GS100) for the men and Liza Canowitz, Traci Falbo, Susan Gallup and Iris Priebe for the women.

      Dan Brenden shooting for Grand Slam finish #8.

  40. olga

    Love the line up, do have a question (respectfully, because I absolutely LOVED his GC report): how did Ro Krar got accepted? Was it panel's special consideration?

  41. Ryan

    I don't think we should discount Dylan Bowman. It seems his training has been going well lately. I am having a hard time predicting top 10, because it seems that training and recent racing results point to many contenders for Top 10.

  42. Patrick

    I'll be pulling for Clarkie for sure! A Colorado (I know he is British) dad who balances another job and runs like he does is my man!

    1. Jay

      I agree with that. It is fun to see a parent, with a job outside of running, run as well as anyone in the world. I am pulling for Clarkie too.

  43. JohnDoe

    Very very few comments about the pacers & after 50 miles, it becomes a TEAM event. For these elites being mentioned, its usually a team of elite sherpas which join in, thus making the 100 mile distance not as impressive as those who do it all SOLO, regardless of how fast or slow! Go solo runners!!!

  44. John Andersen

    Had the pleasure of running a 20 mile group run with AJW on memorial day in Shenandoah National Park. About 16 miles in, AJW turned on the jets and starts flying up and down the Appalachian Trail. As I did my best to hang with him, running nearly out of control by groups of thru-hikers, I looked down at my watch and saw our pace at 6:30 min/mile! I was impressed! Gonna be a fun race to "watch" this year!

  45. James @reddirtrunner

    Paul Terranova scorched the unofficial Mt. Nebo Challenge 3 weeks ago with 7 reps from the bottom to top and back (35 miles) in under 6 1/2 hours. He's a sleeper for a strong race.
    And shout out to Tim Harrington. Will be sending some Ozark mojo Tim.

  46. robbie pike

    My picks for finishing in the top ten, just because these guys are awesome people and I want to see them place well and plus three of them are representing Colorado!

    Nick Clark
    Brandon Stapanowhich
    Dylan Bowman
    Nick Pedatella

  47. NickP

    Mountain lions are pretty smart…I am sure they will go for the prey that looks like it is already wounded. I think that will be you, not your pacer, come mile 90 ;-)

  48. Zach Bitter

    If it's blazing hot watch out for Mike Morton. What's the biggest spread between wins? I have to think, with a win, Morton would have it with 16 yrs? For the men at least.

  49. Jason

    Go Speedgoat!!

    I agree that pacers should not be allowed for elite runners. For the rest of us, I don't think it matters; but if you're going for the win, top 10, whatever, you shouldn't get help other than AS and crew, IMHO.

      1. Speedgoatkarl

        sounds good to me, but it'll never happen. I've run many great races with no crew….It's actually more efficient in my opinion.

        And if anyone is afraid of mt. lions, just turn up the music so you can't hear them, same goes for bears. :-)

        1. JohnDoe

          I just wish the results, especially in more high profile events like WS, HR, etc., distinguished between team efforts and solo efforts. Results all show Female vs. Male, some show Veteran vs. Non Veteran, age, etc, but no mention of who did it Solo vs. Team of Pacers.

          I would argue there is a clear difference between for example:

          WS Results:

          (A) (B)

          1. Mike 1. Mike (team)

          2. John Vs. 2. John (team)

          3. Joe 3. Joe (team)

          4. Karl 4. Karl (solo)

          5. Peter 5. Peter (team)

          etc. etc.

          Its different because it more clearly tells the story of what happened out on course and gives credit to those who did it with no pacers, which in my opinion is a gutsier, harder performance.

        2. Johnny

          I was actually being a little facetious. I say use whatever advantages the race rules allow – be it pacer, crew, poles, or water at aid stations. Also, I don't know if your wife would appreciate that statement about having no crew. :)

        3. Dan

          what's the distinction from pacer to crew to aid station support? why not self support (carry all food and water) it? that would be a true test, i guess.

  50. Dean G

    Interesting, not as many (as I would have thought) people picking the defending champion and course record holder who just finished 4th at Transvulcania and looked like he could run for hours when he did…

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