2017 Western States 100 Results

Drymax - 2017 Western States 100Hot weather and the snow, mud, and water remnants of a 100-year winter event in California’s Sierra Nevada worked together to create difficult racing conditions for the 2017 Western States 100.

It was in those conditions that South Africa’s Ryan Sandes and the USA’s Cat Bradley won. This was Sandes’s fifth shot at the race, and it improves upon his previous second place, fifth place, DNS, and DNF. And Bradley’s win represents a breakout performance among a super-competitive field in her first go at the event.

Top finishers in both the men’s and women’s fields are the runners who seemed to tolerate the conditions and race with a self-preservational style. Alex Nichols and Mark Hammond represented the rest of the men’s podium, while Magdalena Boulet and Sabrina Stanley made up the balance of the women’s.

GU EnergyAltra logoA special thanks to Drymax for making our coverage of the Western States 100 possible!

Thanks also to Altra and GU Energy for their support of our Western States coverage.

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2017 Western States 100 Men’s Race

Just 3.5 miles into the 2017 Western States 100, over the race’s high point at 8,713 feet, Jim Walmsley (pre-race interview) led the entire men’s field by seven minutes, making a straightaway statement that he, indeed, would try to carry out his pre-race plans of racing these 100 miles aggressively. The next time that the iRunFar team saw Walmsley, atop Red Star Ridge 15 miles into the race, he’d grown his lead to 18.5 minutes. By all descriptions these 15 miles of trail contained the remnants of the region’s 100-year winter of snow, mud, running water, downed trees, and obliterated trail surfaces. It was conditions which slowed the rest of the field considerably—from the front to the back of the pack—but conditions which Walmsley most certainly pushed through.

2017 Western States 100 - Jim Walmsley - Escarpment

Jim Walmsley topping out on the Escarpment at mile 3.5 well ahead of everyone else. Photo: iRunFar/Jake Beiler

From here to mile 56, at Michigan Bluff, Walmsley significantly increased his gap on the rest of the field. Here it is in numbers: at mile 24 he was 30 minutes up on the field, 37 minutes at mile 30, 40 minutes at mile 38, 38 minutes at mile 43, 47.5 minutes at 48 miles, and 56 minutes at mile 55. Each time that we saw him during this stretch, he looked pretty darn solid to us. That said, looking back on how Walmsley’s day would ultimately play out, perhaps there was at least one clue that things weren’t quite perfect. At mile 38 in the Dusty Corners aid station, Walmsley spent a full 4.5 minutes. A couple of those minutes went similarly to the other lead men—where he spent time dousing himself with water and ice and hydrating—but he also spent a couple minutes stretching, talking about “resetting,” and kind of just standing there.

At mile 62 in Foresthill, Walmsley’s gap over the rest of the field began to decrease. Even worse, his crew would later report that he vomited there. Mile 71, about halfway between Foresthill and the river crossing along the infamous Cal Street, Walmsley reported stomach issues again. The heat of the day was at this point on, with temperature reports of 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Michigan Bluff and the mid-90s in Foresthill, what amounts to just a bit above normal for this region. Between there and the river, Walmsley’s race fully fell apart and he ended up laying on the ground and in the shade. He’d eventually make it to the river crossing at mile 78 and drop, citing that he hadn’t been able to eat in hours. It was thusly gastrointestinal distress—a common ultrarunning ailment especially in long races with hot temperatures when the stomach fails to digest at normal rates due to blood shunting from the stomach to the extremities to help cool the body—that appears to have ended Walmsley’s day.

2017 Western States 100 - Jim Walmsley DNF

Jim Walmsley (left) ending his day at the river. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

And then there was the rest of the men’s field and men’s race, which seemingly operated on a parallel but equally dynamic storyline. Rewinding to mile 15, we weren’t surprised to see the chase pack being led by Sweden’s Elov Olsson—who threatened in his pre-race interview to do so—and France’s Erik Clavery, who always starts races fast. At mile 24, the men shuffled places and South Africa’s Ryan Sandes (finish-line and post-race interviews) had moved into second position, with Olsson and countryman Jonas Buud (pre-race interview) running together in third and fourth positions. I was actually surprised to see Buud as far up as he was here relative to the bulk of the men’s field, as he’s typically a conservative starter who moves up later. This makes me wonder if Buud’s racing strategy was influenced by wanting to run with another Swede or something else?

By mile 30, Sandes was starting to make his mark on the race and setting himself apart from the rest of the field. Though he was 37 minutes back of leader Walmsley, he was now eight minutes ahead of every other runner. This situation—Sandes in second position and set ahead of the rest of the men’s field—would continue for some 40-plus miles to where he would overtake Walmsley and move into first place. Once Sandes took over the lead, he had 22-plus miles to the finish. In that time, Sandes would increase his gap over the rest of the field from a little over 10 minutes to 29 minutes, demonstrating his capability and strength in the day’s difficult conditions, first snow and mud and more in the race’s first 15-plus miles and then the normal-but-always-baking heat later.

2017 Western States 100 - Ryan Sandes Finish

Ryan Sandes winning the 2017 Western States 100. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

The race for the men’s top 10 continued to be dynamic and enthralling. Early pace pushers Buud and Olsson still occupied third and fourth positions at mile 30, though Buud had gapped Olsson by five minutes. In the fifth position at mile 30 was now Clavery. Move eight miles down the course to Dusty Corners and the game changed again, with Clavery and Olsson dropping back as opposed to Chris DeNucci and Alex Nichols (pre-race and post-race interviews) moving up. While we couldn’t know it just yet, this was a foreshadowing of what was yet to come.

Fast forward to Michigan Bluff at mile 56, and Buud was at the cusp of falling out of the men’s top five as he began to struggle. At the same time, Nichols moved up to third position looking calm and collected in the canyons during the heat of the day. Also having moved up was Spain’s Tòfol Castanyer, who had been running in fourth at Michigan Bluff before missing a turn, spending significant time off course, and dropping back many places on his way to Foresthill.

2017 Western States 100 - Alex Nichols - Rucky Chucky

Alex Nichols enjoys the shade of his hat at the American River crossing. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

By mile 71, the men’s podium was sorting itself out, as Nichols and, now, Mark Hammond (post-race interview) had floated to the top and held steady in their positions of third and fourth. That said, Hammond pressured the heck out of Nichols in the race’s final quarter. Between the river crossing at mile 78 and the Auburn Lakes Trails aid station at mile 85, Hammond cut the gap he had to Nichols from 10 minutes to three. This drama heightened, though, because when Nichols and Hammond crossed the iconic No Hands Bridge at mile 97, they were separated by just 30 seconds. Nichols must have absolutely hammered starting then, as upon hitting Robie Point, the top of the final climb and just 1.3 miles from the finish, a full four minutes separated the pair, how they’d ultimately finish.

2017 Western States 100 - Mark Hammond - finish

Mark Hammond after placing third at Western States. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Now what about the rest of the men’s top 10? Well, now is presently a great time to be a fan of trail ultrarunning, where competitive, long races like this one continue to move and shake all the way through the finish. Remember that guy Jeff Browning (pre-race interview), who finished third last year? Yeah, he’s someone you just don’t want behind you at any point of the second half of a long ultra—he’s got a career that’s built on passing late-race carnage. Browning, who would ultimately finish fourth, didn’t even see the back end of the men’s top 10 until mile 78. Wrap your head around that one. By mile 94, Browning moved into fourth position and hammered that one all the way home.

Though Browning has loads of 100 milers under his belt—a great knowledge foundation—25-year-old Avery Collins played the field in precisely the same manner. In basically an 8.5-mile stretch of trail starting at Foresthill, mile 62, he ran from 13th into sixth position. It appeared that he continued to push from there home and we saw him move up to as high as fourth place before he ultimately finished sixth. A lot of racing wisdom in a 25 year old!

And what would a modern-era Western States top 10 look like if it didn’t include Ian Sharman and his very similar second-half-move-up strategies? M6 last year, Sharman brought home the M7 position in 2017.

One more dude raced like this, too, Jesse Haynes, 10th last year and now eighth this year. Future men’s top-10 hopefuls, take note that Browning, Sharman, and Haynes were close together in 15th through 18th and an hour off the lead and five minutes out of the top 10 at mile 30.

2017 Western States 100 - Jeff Browning finish

Jeff Browning crossing the Western States finish line with his kids. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

DeNucci took home M9 last year through a steady-eddy, all-day performance, and same goes for this year. It seemed he was decisively present in the middle part of the men’s top 10 in the race’s first quarter, and though he hopped around positions pretty much all day, he improved to claim the M5 position for this year.

2017 Western States 100 - Chris DeNucci - Rucky Chucky

Chris DeNucci heading to the American River crossing. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Scotland’s Paul Giblin, who took fifth last year, went on a rampage during the first half of Cal Street after Foresthill—not unlike Collins—and moved up from 10th to fifth position. It was a spot he would not be able to hold, however, as he would lapse back to his ultimate ninth-place spot.

2017 Western States 100 - Paul Giblin

Paul Giblin just after his second-straight top-10 finish. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Last year’s M8 Kyle Pietari (post-race interview) rounded out the men’s top 10 as he limped over the finish line, needed to be carried away from it, and claimed his belt buckle at the award ceremony the next day on crutches. We learned that he sprained his ankle by rolling it badly at mile 7. That makes it all the more of a feat that he landed in the M10 position.

2017 Western States 100 - Kyle Pietari finish

Kyle Pietari finishing out another top-ten finish. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Early pace pushers Castanyer, Buud, Olsson, and Clavery all finished, but outside the men’s top 10 in 11th, 12th, 13th, and 16th overall, respectively. Particularly heartbreaking has to be Castanyer’s finish in 11th after a 12th last year, just outside the men’s top 10.

2017 Western States 100 - Tofol Castanyer finish

Tòfol Castanyer ran with heart. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2017 Western States 100 Men’s Results

  1. Ryan Sandes (Salomon) — 16:19:37 (finish-line and post-race interviews)
  2. Alex Nichols (SCOTT) — 16:48:23 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  3. Mark Hammond — 16:52:57 (post-race interview)
  4. Jeff Browning (Altra/Patagonia) — 17:32:06 (pre-race interview)
  5. Chris DeNucci (Hoka One One) — 17:36:11
  6. Avery Collins (Inov-8) — 17:37:11
  7. Ian Sharman (Altra) — 17:42:06
  8. Jesse Haynes (Altra/Patagonia) — 1744:23
  9. Paul Giblin (Compressport) — 17:59:06
  10. Kyle Pietari (Altra) — 18:11:44 (post-race interview)

Full results.

Check out videos of the top-three men finishing.

2017 Western States 100 - Mens Top Ten

The 2017 Western States 100 men’s top 10. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2017 Western States 100 Women’s Race

It is safe to say that the 2017 Western States 100 women’s race was highly anticipated. Three previous champions, some more world-class talent, and a boat-load of up-and-comers among the entrants list made all of us talk about the potential of a race for the ages. Add in heavy doses of high-country madness via reportedly soul-and-shoe sucking snow, mud, and water as well as the usual heat ingredient and, when all was said and done and the ladies connected the dots between #seeyouinquaw and #seeyouinauburn, actuality equaled hype. I realize I’m a woman and probably biased in my interest of women’s races, but holy hell the women’s race!

Amidst the insanity of Jim Walmsley’s early gap on the men’s field, I failed to notice the significant early stamp that Switzerland’s Andrea Huser was making on the women’s race, after initial leader Camille Herron (pre-race interview) quickly succumbed to the high-country’s snow and mud. When we first saw Huser at mile 15 along Red Star Ridge, she was a full seven minutes in front of all the other women, what amounts to an effort at nearly 30 seconds per mile faster than the rest of the field. Whoa. Some 15 miles later, at the mile 30 Robinson Flat aid station, Huser remained seven minutes ahead, holding steady. Everything changed, though, at mile 38, when YiOu Wang (pre-race interview) cruised in, leading the women’s field, having sliced through all of Huser’s lead and gapped her by more than 1.5 minutes. At this point, Huser began to continuously slip back in the women’s field.

2017 Western States 100 - Andrea Huser finish

Andrea Huser would hold on to finish 10th. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Let us thus move on to phase two of the women’s race for the win, where Wang led and was closely chased by several other women. Each time we saw the women at miles 43, 48, 56, and 62, Wang was ahead, but it was close—a few minutes here and there separated her from her chasers. At Foresthill, mile 62, Cat Bradley (finish-line and post-race interviews) was second just seconds behind. Nonetheless, Wang looked rock solid as she headed down Cal Street after Foresthill. All of this would change in just a few short miles as she would—like men’s leader Jim Walmsley—come to a full stop on the ground. Wang experienced some serious health issues that she would describe later on social media as numbness and hyperventilation. A lot of time passed (during, as we understand it, she was observed by the race’s medical team) before she’d get up, walk to the Peachstone aid station at mile 71, and withdraw from the race.

Phase three of the race for the women’s lead began on the trail before Peachstone, as Bradley—who had been closely lurking at mile 62—took over leadership of the race. Simply said, she ran from there untouched by any other woman for the race’s final 30 miles. That’s not to say that she didn’t feel pressure from behind, as she said after the race that she definitely ran faster because she knew strong women were running swiftly behind her. Though some women may have been trying to hunt her down, she only increased her lead over them. When Bradley passed a soon-to-DNF Wang between miles 66 and 70, the former was 13 minutes ahead of the next woman still chasing her. After that, she led by nine minutes as mile 78, 12 minutes at mile 80, 13 minutes at mile 85, 12 minutes at mile 94, 15 minutes at mile 97, and 18 minutes at the finish. Bradley closed out phase three in the race for the win as the women’s champion in, undoubtedly, a huge breakout performance.

2017 Western States 100 - Cat Bradley - River Crossing

Cat Bradley cooling down before the river crossing. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Magdalena Boulet (pre-race and post-race interviews), 2015 Western States champion, and Sabrina Stanley (post-race interview), another young runner having a breakout performance, would cross the line in second and third place, completing the women’s podium. Though they finished with just 22 minutes separating them, their journeys there were unique. Boulet ran most of the race in the women’s top five and among the women in the race’s final two thirds who were constantly pressuring the race leader. Boulet would say after the race that the high-country conditions took a lot out of her legs and that, as a result, she was forced to run carefully for many miles in order to manage her physical well being. That said, I think all bets were officially off during the final 25 miles or so when she was working hard, running swiftly, and hunting for the lead. During this, we saw her four times, at miles 80, 85, 94, and 97, and the woman definitely had her chase on.

Stanley, on the other hand, raced for the first 30 miles outside of the women’s top 10, cracking it for the first time at the Robinson Flat aid station, mile 30. She’d stay there at mile 38, run in 11th at mile 43, and in 11th again at mile 48. After that, at mile 56 in Michigan Bluff, she’d moved up to eighth place, but she was only getting started. A few miles later in Foresthill, mile 62, she was seventh. At mile 71, she had cracked the women’s top five. Holy smokes she was on fire. The overtaking of fourth and fifth places came in due course, and Stanley would round out the women’s podium.

2017 Western States 100 - Sabrina Stanley - Foresthill

Sabrina Stanley making good time through Foresthill. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Fourth-place Kaytlyn Gerbin took a page out of the go-easy-then-chase-hard playbook with her run. Quite honestly, the iRunFar team didn’t even see Gerbin for well over half of the race, as we’d departed aid stations bound for the next ones before she passed through them well outside the women’s top 10, so I don’t know much about how the first two thirds of her race went. However, I do know that the woman must have hammered the bottom half of Cal Street, between miles 71 and 78, as she arrived to mile 78 at the Rucky Chucky river crossing as seventh female. What? Where’d she come from? It went on like this from there to the finish where Gerbin would continue to move up until her ultimate finishing position.

2017 Western States 100 - Kaytlin Gerbin - finish

Kaytlyn Gerbin finishing in fourth. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

New Zealand’s Fiona Hayvice finished fifth! We’d watched her race a couple times at the Tarawera Ultramarathon, so we were aware of her ability to race well on her home turf. Thus, I was interested in seeing how she’d shake out among the high-level field assembled at Western States. Well, things shook out pretty darn well! Like so many of the women who ultimately finished in the women’s top 10, a conservative start, gradual move-up into the top 10, and steady finish formed her winning recipe.

2017 Western States 100 - Fiona Hayvice - Finish

A joyful Fiona Hayvice upon finishing fifth. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Nicole Kalogeropoulos took sixth place, matching precisely her 2015 finishing place and avenging her DNF last year.

2017 Western States 100 - Nicole Kalogeropoulos - finish

Nicole Kalogeropoulos earning her second sixth-place States finish. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Jackie Merritt (post-race interview), who has been kicking the pants off women’s fields up and down the U.S.’s East Coast (and, let’s face it, often men’s fields, too) for years brought her ability to the big stage and took home the F7 position.

2017 Western States 100 - Jackie Merritt - finish

Jackie Merritt with her crew after placing seventh. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Both F8 and F9 proved that age isn’t an excuse, as 52-year-old Ildikó Wermescher of Hungary and 56-year-old local resident Meghan Laws rocked it hard in the race’s second half to move up into the top 10.

2017 Western States 100 - Ildiko Wermescher - finish

Ildikó Wermescher at the Western States finish. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Tenth place was, finally, Huser, the race’s early leader who began a slow slip back in the rankings starting at mile 38. She’s world class, though, having won and placed high in some of the world’s toughest ultramarathons. It seems that she used that same talent and drive to hold onto a top-10 position.

It’s hard to imagine that we could get this far in our description of the women’s race and not have mentioned two of the three Western States champions who started–and finished–the event, 2014 champ Stephanie Violett (pre-race interview) and 2016 winner Kaci Lickteig (pre-race interview). Suffice it to say, both women suffered to finish, respectively, in 12th and 16th places. Both women factored into the front of the women’s race all day long, with Lickteig even running in or just outside of podium position as far as 47 miles into the race. Various physical issues beset them both, however, and though they slowed significantly, they each chose to stick it out to the Placer High finish line.

2017 Western States 100 - Stephanie Howe - Foresthill

Stephanie Violett coming through Foresthill. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2017 Western States 100 Women’s Results

  1. Cat Bradley (Salomon) — 19:31:30 (finish-line and post-race interviews)
  2. Magdalena Boulet (Hoka One One) — 19:49:15 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  3. Sabrina Stanley — 20:11:41 (post-race interview)
  4. Kaytlyn Gerbin (7 Hills Running Shop) — 20:46:55
  5. Fiona Hayvice (Salomon) — 20:51:27
  6. Nicole Kalogeropoulus (Altra) –21:00:52
  7. Jackie Merritt (Milestone Pod) — 21:07:23 (post-race interview)
  8. Ildikó Wermescher (Mammut) — 21:50:32
  9. Meghan Laws (Altra) — 21:57:09
  10. Andrea Huser (Mammut) — 22:31:45

Full results.

Check out video of the top-three women finishing.

2017 Western States 100 - Top Ten Women

The 2017 Western States 100 women’s top ten. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Coverage Thanks

We had an incredible crew who helped deliver iRunFar’s live coverage. Thanks to Marissa Harris for anchoring our live-coverage team in the office throughout the race. Thanks to Nick Shoemaker, Graham Cox, Elam King, Jake Beiler, Andy Jones-Wilkins, Kim Wrinkle, Greg Power, Brian Condon, Steve Luker, Sophia Duluk, Casey Szesze, Ryan Koch, and Kirk Edgerton for their in-the-field, all-day-and-night volunteer hiking, running, driving, and… of course, reporting.

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Managing Editor and the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running.' The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 79 comments

  1. Stan Lie

    “Stop Jim” shirt should have some really really really small type right after Stop that reads: STOP “going out too fast and just run a smart WS for once…” JIM. See ya next year, where we’ll debate “sub 14” again when the debate should be “can he even finish”.

    1. Josh White

      Uh, are you familiar with what happened last year? Had he not taken a wrong turn, he would have won & set a course record.

      1. Stan Lies

        Yea, I do know what happened. He went out way too fast and was mentally shot when he took a wrong turn, then didn’t have the mental fortitude to just run it in and instead pouted and walked it in.

      2. bob

        Agreed. Jim did run a ‘smart’ WS in 2016 and any reasonable person would assume that had he not went off course would have won in record time. Stan’s comments sound like he’s got a personal problem with Jim.

      3. Dominic

        I agree that Jim probably could have won last year, but he would not have set a CR. His margin on the CR had been decreasing from 1 hour to 15 minutes by mile 93, and in the condition he was in, it is almost impossible not to lose more than 2 minutes per mile. Still, I believe he could have won, had he started a little slower. He overestimated himself or underestimated the course and was so delirious that he took a wrong turn.

    2. Marlon

      Sage, last year, was in walmsley’s shoes. This is because they both have “do or die” methods, at whatever cost. And both have aggressive road roots. It’s too bad sage withdrew this year, this would have undoubtedly panned in his favor, as sage does have more experience and consistency.

      I know we can “what if… ” until the cows come home, but undoubtedly, walmsley’s methods would have panned out for him, last year, had he not taken a detour. We all have our strong days…

      1. Dominic

        “undoubtedly, walmsley’s methods would have panned out for him, last year, had he not taken a detour”

        – The detour did not just happen by accident. It happened because Jim ran too fast earlier and was too exhausted to find the course at mile 93.

        1. Nelson

          Had he been with a pacer, he wouldn’t have gone off course and probably would have won the race. I don’t remember what was the issue with the pacer, got sick or something.

          There’s no knowing how much he would have slowed down, but he seemed well enough to finish first, course record or not.

          This year was a different matter.

          1. Nick Voss

            Agree with Nelson on this one, and I believe he dropped his pacer before Rucky Chucky and was just carrying on without one. That was the costly decision, anyone could’ve missed that turn that wasn’t familiar with the last 20 miles of the course. To speculate he was “delirious” as a result of how well he had run to that point is a stretch. I think he simply could not throw down the pace he did last year, but refused to drop those splits. And his stomach paid for it in the heat. Hope to see him quietly crush the course record next year.

            1. Boston Chris

              He didn’t “drop his pacer”. His pacer dropped because of gastric distress from a bad burrito.

  2. Kyle Pietari

    Update: my ankle was badly sprained, likely in multiple locations, but the X-rays showed no fractures.

    -Kyle Pietari

    1. TheFakeGordy

      Excellent news! See you back on the trails asap and Congratulations on toughing it out to a #10 and be back next year at Western.

    1. bob

      There is a term in our pop culture called ‘fat shaming,’ and it sounds like you are ‘lean shaming’ these ‘lads’ as you refer to them as. While I cannot profess to have any firsthand knowledge as to their dietary habits, I would venture to guess that they eat well and have plenty of ‘decent’ meals. Granted, there are a lot of athletes in the endurance sports world that have eating disorders or at least ‘disordered’ eating – and not just women – it is also unfair to make comments on how lean some people are when it may very well be due to healthy eating and chronic, hard training.

          1. bob

            Yep? That’s not British! I get British humor just fine, just making an observation as too many people get worried about how lean some athletes get when it’s just their ‘normal’ with proper nutrition and training.

  3. Ben

    What a race. A 33% overall attrition rate is staggering.
    I’d love to see the attention turn to the humble, hard-working, non attention-seeking runners for awhile now. Guys like Sandes & Nichols and women like Magda come to mind. True class acts.

    1. Marie

      Agreed Ben. Respect the effort of the sub 14, but would love to see more focus on Sandes win and smart pacing, as well as others you mentioned. The day wasn’t ideal for CR, the top runners ran a race to take this factor into consideration.

      1. bob

        Agreed. It is well established that heat will impair performance in endurance activities, and certainly temps in the 90’s and above at WS did not lend itself to making for any course records going down, and that was bore out in the results as we saw.

      1. Ben

        The last 7 years from 2016 – 2010 the attrition rate at WS has been: 20.7%, 31.5%, 21.3%, 27.7%, 17.3%, 17.3%, and 22.5%. I’m not comparing WS to other races as I think the lottery and often long wait times to get in affect how folks train and race it. I was comparing WS this year to WS of previous years to highlight how tough the conditions were out there last Saturday.

        Similarly, Hardrock had a 24%, 18%, 28%, 25%…etc. attrition rate.

        1. speedgoat Karl

          Hardrock is pretty low because it has alot of veterans, and many runners with real mountain 100 experience. Look at leadville or even rocky raccoon. Nope I’m not gonna do any research, no time for that, :-) but I believe those two races are above average in attrition. It’s all mumbo jumbo. It was hot, big deal, WS is always hot, people should respect that a bit more

  4. Quigley

    Meghan and irunfar, Many thanks for the coverage, but it would be great if you would give a bit more love to the older gentleman and ladies who were out there crushing it. In particular, Dan Berger at 51 with his 21:43, Keith Blom at 60 with his 28:51 and Scott Mills at 66 years young with his 29:44. Not to mention Ildiko Wermescher at 51 with her 21:50, Meghan Arbogast and her 21:56, and Karen Bonnett-Natraj at 61 with her nearly perfect and stellar finish time of 29:59:51. I think these performances of the less young crowd are a lot more exciting and a better story line to follow and report on than all the people outside of the top 3 overall. In my opinion, being the oldest male or female finisher is a much bigger deal than say an overall fourth place finish. (Although Jeff Browning definitely deserves a lot of love for crushing almost all the youngsters out there!)

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hi Quigley,
      I’m afraid that with (extremely) limited resources comes limited focus. As we’re able to cover the pointy end of the field over the course of the race, that’s where we focus our results article and post-race interviews. However, if you were following our social media coverage we did share information on some of the more “experienced” finishers, including Barger, Mills, and Bonnett-Natraj, while Arbogast and Ildikó fit into the normal scope of our coverage. Further, on occasion we’ve interviewed older finishers with exceptional results, such as Meghan Laws (previously, Arbogast) last year and Gunhild Swanson before her. Also check out our monthly WeRunFar column for more stories on similar runners.

      Personally, Scotty Mills is my ultrarunning mentor and a hero. I was glad Meghan was able to tweet video of his finish this year, was psyched that we’ve previously profiled him, and can’t wait to see him in the San Juan Mountains, whether or not he chooses to race Hardrock in a few weeks.

      1. Quigley

        Thanks, Bryon! I greatly appreciate your coverage. Definitely understandable to focus on the pointy end of the race, and some of your previous interviews with older finishers have been fantastic! I hope you are able to include some more in the future.

  5. EG

    Thanks for the coverage all day, iRunFar!
    Kaytlyn Gerbin was hanging around 15th (+/- a few spots) for most of the day until Forest Hill, running steady and happy.
    Seems like the Bronco Billy strategy of run-1st-half-smart, hammer-on-the-second-half was employed really successfully by Sabrina, Kaytlyn, and Jackie. Though they’re relatively new to ultras and 100’s, Sabrina and Kaytlyn raced like vets, dug deep at the end, and got a well-earned result. Looks like Jackie employed her years of ultrarunning experience to the same end.
    Well done to these three ladies and Cat for making some serious noise this year, going from also-considered to podium and solid top-10 finishes.
    Congrats to all the finishers and crew!

    1. Meghan Hicks


      We’ll be getting to it just as expediently as we can. :) We’ve been and will continue to be working non-stop in our post-race Western States coverage, and this is on our to-do list. We’re excited as you are to tabulate the results (though I know that my personal predictions were way off this year!). Thanks!

      1. bob

        I would wager that a lot of people’s predictions were way off! It’s just too easy to base predictions off of racer’s past body of work and previous results at this event, their current fitness, etc. Just looking at the data posted before the race showed what an overwhelming favorite Jim was on the men’s side, but look what happened! But, like the old sports adage goes “That’s why they play the game.”

  6. Rachel

    Thanks for the awesome coverage this weekend! Curious what happened to Clare Gallagher. She isn’t mentioned in the article but seemed to be a big part of the women’s scramble in the front for the last 30-40 (ish?) miles. I assume she dropped late in the race. Anyone know why?

  7. Brian

    Any idea when the results of drug testing will be available? How were folks selected for testing? What happens if a top 10 male or female get busted – will the 11th place runner get bumped up?

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hey Brian,
      1. I don’t have any details on when results of the drug testing will be available, if ever. However, results of the full process can take much longer than you’d expect, even if initial results come back quickly.

      2. This year, the top ten men and top ten women were selected for testing. The basis for determining athlete selection is subject to change, without announcement from year to year.

      3. Again, no first hand knowledge here, but I’d imagine that once any appeals were exhausted any positive result that holds up would result in disqualification of that runner and everyone behind that runner moving up a spot, including any gender-based top-ten entries.

      Maybe someone from the WSER board can add more details.

  8. Mike Morton

    Bryan, Meghan and all the others working hard,
    I want to say thank you for your work and passion. The coverage you all provided was awesome and made my day much brighter. While I’d kill to just be out in CA spectating or even better toting a bib over the 100.2 mile, your coverage is the next best thing for me!
    WS and many races hold my heart hostage, I can smell those canyons when I close my eyes!

  9. Debbie Loomis

    Thanks for great coverage. We appreciate what you do at I Run Far! Only problem is it impacts my sleep. I hope to go back again In near future to volunteer. Having had opportunity to cheer and crew Western State three times it is a great race and hats off to all the runners who take on this incredible challenge.

  10. longsauce

    Thank you IRunFar for again providing excellent coverage yet again, so many interesting stories and performances here.

  11. pietro antonio grassi

    Wouldn’t it be possible to interview Jim Walmsley regarding his race in the near future? That it would certainly very interesting. Thank you for the coverage.

  12. Nelson

    So sad what happened to Tofol Castanyer. Was running in the top 5 by halfway, went off course, joined back in 20th, and fought his way up to finish 11th. It seems he could have kept that top 5, maybe even challenge for the podium.

    Tofol, 45, runs 70% of his training on flat ground.

  13. Ryan BB

    Thanks for the great coverage! I got up early Sunday morning to check the iRunfar twitter feed for an update, and I was not disappointed. Keep up the good work!

  14. Amelia Boone

    Thank you, IRF, for the amazing coverage. Knowing what a logistical and technological challenge covering that course is, we really appreciate all your hard work!

  15. Evan K.

    Just want to say thanks to IRF for the amazing coverage as always, and Meghan’s summary was awesome! I’ve gotten really curious about the snow and heat since it’s a prevailing discussion about 2017, so wanted to throw out some facts I found (on the WS site).

    For 2017,The snow water content as of June 10th in the Squaw Valley Gold Coast station at 8,200 ft was 22″ for 2017 (good indicator of snowpack on the WS trail). This ranks 8th on the all time list (’83 and ’95 were the record years with 78″ and 74″ respectively). As for how it ranks for years that a snow route wasn’t used, 2017 ranks 4th (1993 ranks 1st with 43″ without a snow route).

    As for heat, the 2017 high of 95 in Auburn ranks as the 13th hottest in the race’s history (1995 is the record where the high was 104*F).

      1. Bryon Powell

        My “feels like” impression was that this year’s race felt hotter than last year, but a fair bit from as hot as Western States can get. It was unpleasantly warm moving around in the sun in Michigan Bluff around the time the leaders arrived.

        1. Nelson

          There had to be something with the temperatures, humidity, wind, because so many people had a tough race and there were so many dnfs. Great job with the coverage! Kept me up past 6 am here in Spain.

        2. Paul

          I volunteer at the El Dorado Creek aid station (mile 52). Our temperature reached 97 on Saturday, which is pretty typical. However, everyone was remarking about the humidity. It was unusually sticky. The canyons cooked more runners this year than in some of the “hot” years.

    1. Ben

      Craig said it was much warmer at 10am in Robinson compared to usual. That’s a better indication of how hot the day was compared to the high in Auburn. Prolonged exposure in the heat compared to the peak temperature.

      1. AJW

        Re Heat: Having been around the race for a while I would certainly say this year was above average and the humidity was quite high particularly in the areas that have been burned recently as lots of green undergrowth has sprouted. Additionally, it felt to me that the evening cooling was minimal (I was at the River Crossing from 6pm to 2am) which also may have impacted runners. Certainly, Cal Street claimed an above average number of victims and could be re-named puke street!

  16. BigDog

    best tweet of the weekend –
    First runner in after the 24 hour mark, @runner_kc Finished like a boss after spending an hour at the River. #honoringF1

  17. j_vondy

    @Meghan and @bryon Excellent coverage as usual. You guys are the best.

    To those who are critical of their coverage: I don’t believe your criticism is necessary or valid. Consider the effort and work put into this with extremely limited resources, and consider what it is that you contribute to this? Are you paying them for their work? Are you paying for some sort of news subscription that entitles you to the services they provide to you? I suspect not. I suspect you are simply consuming their content without contributing anything at all. The least you could do is participate by adding meaningful questions and thoughts pertaining to the race. Criticism of their coverage does not qualify as participation.

    You are not entitled to anything and iRunFar is not obligated to provide anything to you, yet they continue to provide excellent coverage of our favorite races year-after-year. They have done so much good for the Ultrarunning community. Be grateful for this incredible service that was provided to you at zero cost. If you don’t like how the race was covered, next time you can fly to Squaw Valley and watch it yourself.

  18. Stephen

    Good to see that John Fegyveresi earned a buckle. He was a late addition to the field after Gordy gave up his spot. I saw a picture of him with Gordy and immediately recognized him as was one of the rare finishers featured in the Barkley documentary.

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