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2018 Western States 100 Men’s Preview

The 2017 Western States 100 men's top ten. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

We’re excited about the 2018 Western States 100 men’s race. Are you? On the race’s 100.2-mile, point-to-point route tracing from the east side of California’s Sierra Nevada to its western foothills in the city of Auburn, a lot is undoubtedly going to happen.

In the men’s race, we have a couple men who’ve been *this close* to the win previously, gentlemen who’ve knocked on the door of the podium at least once and sometimes more than once, a few guys who’ve got outstanding Western States potential but who’ve not yet seen their best race, and some runners who on paper should have stellar days. One thing is certain amongst all this uncertainty, this race—be it the distance, the climate, the course’s downhill nature, the early altitude, or a combination of these factors and more—historically favors something in the realm of equally exerted physical talent and mental smarts.

Ahead of the race, we’ll publish interviews with some of the men’s favorites and, of course, we’ll cover the race live beginning at 5 a.m. PDT on Saturday, June 23. Stay tuned just a little longer!

A special thanks to Drymax for once again making our coverage of the Western States 100 possible!

Thanks also to BUFF® and Jaybird for their support of our Western States coverage.

Be sure to check out our in-depth women’s preview to learn about the women’s race, too. For a bit more fun, you can entry our Western States prediction contest until Wednesday, June 20th.

Most Likely Contenders for the Win

François D’haene

France’s François D’haene (pre-race interview) is pretty much the king of 100k-plus-distance trail ultamarathons right now. Le Roi François I. But there’s one crown he doesn’t yet have, and that’s the Western States cougar. François has finished Western States once, taking 14th in 2015 while suffering the heat in the race’s second half. He returned in 2016 and did his due diligence by training in the heat on the Western States Trail. However, he injured himself on a run not long before the race and wasn’t able to start. Now, he’s back again. Like another top male in this field, I think François’s previous non-ideal turnouts at this race are blessings, not curses. He now knows and has said what his weaknesses are, the heat and the overall running speed required for success, and he’s been training them. Do I think he can legit win WS 100? I don’t know. But if he does win, he’ll have shown a new ability in a different-for-him terrain.

Jared Hazen

Jared Hazen has withdrawn from this year’s Western States 100 due to injury. [Updated June 19] Jared Hazen could win Western States. And if he does, a lot of people will say, “Whoa, an underdog victory!” They will be wrong. Dear world, please remember that in 2015 and at the age of 20, Jared Hazen took third at WS 100 in 15:37. And before that, he ran Western States at the age of 19 and finished 14th, so there’s this, too. And, anyway, Jared’s just a quiet guy who keeps his head down and does the work. After multiple major injuries in 2017, Jared took second at both the 2018 Way Too Cool 50k and the 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. The last time Jared ran WS 100, he went out chill before moving into the middle of the top 10 at about halfway and into third position before the Rucky Chucky river crossing at mile 78. He also had energy to fight off a close, really-late-race chaser. A few more years of training and experience as well as the wisdom accrued via his 2015 podium finish: watch out 2018 Western States.

Tim Freriks

Tim Freriks (pre-race interview) could also win Western States. Tim’s had a couple of runs where he shook loose of highly competitive fields and won unchallenged, at the 2017 Transvulcania Ultramarathon and the 2017 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. Those performances, I think, represent glimpses of the kind of potential Tim has in trail ultras. Tim had an injury which sidelined him for a good spell in March and April, but it appears from social media that he’s been able to put in a good, six-or-so-week training block. While it’s unlikely we’ll see Tim be able to run to his full potential and there is also the fact that he’s not run 100 miles before either, history tells us that there’s something to being a little bit fresh at the starting line of a tough 100 miler.

Jim Walmsley

At the risk of angering his fans, I’m going to call this one as directly as I ever have. Jim Walmsley (pre-race interview) has the physical talent to win Western States, but I haven’t seen him exhibit the mental approach that’s also required. At least three times we’ve seen him run too fast too early in a 100 miler and not end up running to his potential. Lest you call me a Jim naysayer, I may be a journalist, but I’m also a fan of this sport and, for the love of all things good, I want to see Jim Walmsley win Western States. Jim: put your head down, run with the lead pack, let any nonsensically fast runners go out and come back to you later, drink your drinks, eat your calories, and pour cold water on yourself as often as you can. If you’ve got loads left, or should I say when you’ve got loads left because you’ve run the first 80 miles so controlled, let it rip from Green Gate on, win this damn race, and maybe set a course record in the process.

Mario Mendoza

Mario Mendoza could also win Western States. This race is familiar territory for Mario, as he started the 2016 event, ran somewhere around the edge of the top 10 for some 40-plus miles, but dropped before the halfway point. I don’t know, but something tells me that run was more of a blessing than the curse that most people associate with DNFing. He came, saw what the race was all about, felt the heat, and ran the hills. Now, two years later, he’s got loads more experience at these long, tough ultras, and he’s perhaps far more capable of reaching his potential at something like WS 100. So far in 2018, Mario won the Bandera 100k, took third at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, and was sixth at the Trail World Championships. Sheesh, that’s a good year already and we’re not yet six months in.

Men’s Top-10 Material

Mark Hammond

Let’s open this section with the men who are already proven top-10 material by way of their 2017 Western States efforts. Not only did Mark Hammond (pre-race interview) run into the top 10 last year, he podiumed! In 2017, we were all surprised by his breakout run, but Mark sits in the shadows no more. Dude’ll be running with a target on his back now, perhaps especially because he exacted his podium finish with a well-meted, steady run from start to finish. He was fresh as a daisy at the finish line. Mark has raced a whole lot since last year, and his top performances have been second at the 2017 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile, 12th at the 2017 TNF 50 Mile, and eighth at the 2018 Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji.

Is it almost mechanical for you at this point, Jeff Browning (pre-race interview)? These reliable, stout 100-mile performances? In 2016 and 2017, Jeff took third and fourth at Western States. Backing up that 2016 finish, Jeff turned it around and took fourth at the 2016 Hardrock 100 a couple weeks later. And since his 2017 WS 100 effort, he also won the 2017 Bear 100 Mile and the 2017 Antelope Island 100 Mile. Almost as mechanical as his reliability is his pacing consistency of starting conservatively but maintaining a steady effort all day. Does anyone want to take bets on his placement at Robinson Flat, Foresthill, and the finish? Here are mine: 19th, 13th, fifth.

Ian Sharman

Ian Sharman will start Western States hunting for his ninth-straight top-10 finish. And Ian will finish WS 100 with exactly that. I mean, it’s actually humorous for me at this point, why more people who really want to finish top 10 at WS 100 don’t shadow Ian the whole race. Just kidding, running someone else’s race is not the way to run your own best race, but, really, there is a heck ton to learn about 100-mile racing from a guy like Ian. The last three years, Ian has been seventh, sixth, and seventh again. I’m guessing that’s right about where we’ll find him this year, too. After last year’s race, he also put down his fourth win of at the 2017 Leadville Trail 100 Mile, another project of reliability he seems to be working on.

Since 2013, Jesse Haynes has finished Western States inside the top 10 four times (2016 interview). He was eighth last year. Since that performance, Jesse took sixth at the 2017 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile and won the 2017 Chimera 100 Mile. Nope, nope, nope, don’t bet against this guy and a top-10 finish, either. He did get lucky in the Hardrock 100 lottery, though, also, so perhaps he’ll take it just a bit easy given he’ll run another 100 miles four weeks later? Then again, maybe not.

What’s this, a Scottish runner who likes repeat trips to the heat of summer in California? Apparently! Paul Giblin is back for his third go at Western States. In 2016, Paul took fifth place and last year saw him cross the line in ninth. Since last year, he’s won the 2018 100 Miles of Istria in Croatia and taken fifth at the 2018 Canyons 100k.

Kyle Pietari was last year’s 10th-place finisher, and he rounds out the six men who are returning from last year’s top 10. He also finished eighth in 2016. Diehard Western States fans might recall his leg bandaged up at last year’s award ceremony. Seven miles into the race, he sprained his ankle hard, ran 93 miles on it, and still finished in the top 10. Since then, he’s had some strong runs at regional races in Utah and Colorado. I’m sure I’m not the only one curious about what Kyle can do this year with some WS 100 experience plus a healthy ankle.

Didrik Hermansen

Fun and possibly forgotten trivia fact: Norway’s Didrik Hermansen took second at the 2016 Western States! What’s up with these gentlemen from cooler-weather countries coming back to suffer in the Cali heat?! Didrik’s second place at WS 100 came amidst what was a long run at the near front of the trail-ultra international-running scene in 2015 and 2016. He continues to run strong, but not quite as well—and certainly not as frequently—as he was back then. His top runs in the last year have been a 13th at the 2017 UTMB and a third place at the 2018 EcoTrail de Paris.

When you look at Kris Brown’s (pre-race interview) UltraSignup page, the ultra results start coming hot and heavy in 2015, strong running out of the gate and, then, of late with rapid improvement, namely his win of the 2017 San Diego 100 Mile, which appears to have been his first 100 miler, and his fourth place at the 2017 TNF 50 Mile. [Author’s Note: I stand corrected! Kris also ran the 2016 West Highland Way Race, which is 95 miles long and in Scotland.] I wouldn’t be surprised if Kris is one of the race’s breakout stories. He has loads of talent and trail-ultra experience at a relatively young age, and perhaps most importantly, he has already struggled and succeeded in the heat for 100 miles.

Second chances at a race like Western States are really fortuitous these days, and France’s Erik Clavery is back courtesy of another Ultra-Trail World Tour entry. Erik ran the 2017 WS 100 and finished 15th, and he did it by running fast early—in third to fifth places for much of the race’s first third—exploding somewhere around mid-race, and, then, managing to put himself back together and run it in. I can still remember how cooked he looked arriving into Foresthill last year. Erik’s got a decade of trail-ultra experience, with his greatest success in the realm of the slightly-not-so-mountainous races, so I can’t help but think the WS 100 course could be around his sweet spot. A smart race from his guy and I think he runs high 16 hours or low 17 hours, putting himself well into the top 10.

Zach Bitter

The last time Zach Bitter ran Western States was the infamous cold year of 2012 where he ran 16:53 and finished 14th. In his now eight-ish-year ultrarunning career, Zach is better known for his performances on flatter and faster terrain, including on the track. His top performances of late have included a second place at both the 2017 American River 50 Mile and the 2017 Javelina Jundred. Zach now lives and has been training in the Arizona summer heat, which should make Western States’s climate feel doable. It’s hard to figure what Zach’s max potential at WS 100 might be on a normal weather year.

This German speedster seems to be directly targeting Western States. Florian Neuschwander came to the U.S. to run the 2018 Sean O’Brien 100k in search of Golden Ticket, which he handily won. Florian has a ton of shorter-ultra-distance leg speed. Do I have it right that his 50k PR is 2:52? In 2015, he was ninth at the IAU 100k World Championships with a 6:52 effort. I think this is also Florian’s first 100-mile attempt? Florian is always one of the happiest guys out there, and attitude carries you a long way in this sport, so hopefully his attitude will carry him into this new distance.

Cody Reed

Cody Reed started ultrarunning in 2016, that year beating a bunch of fast, experienced guys at the Tamalpa Headlands 50k and doing the same again at the start of 2017 with the Way Too Cool 50k. In early 2018, he took second at the Bandera 100k to earn a Golden Ticket, and, then, second again at the Tarawera Ultramarathon. Cody has loads of talent, and he’s looking for his first 100-mile finish.

Now here’s an interesting entrant, Eric Senseman. Though he’s been a strong runner over his now lengthy trail running career, he seems to be in ascendant territory with his running at present. Last fall, he won the 2017 JFK 50 Mile and a couple months ago he earned a Golden Ticket with a fourth place at the 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. This will be Eric’s first 100-mile effort, but the guy seems to race as much with his mind as his body so this could turn out pretty good.

Sweden’s Johan Steene likes to run the longest, toughest stuff in ultrarunning, both on the roads and trails, and so his resume is diverse. For instance in the last couple years, he was second at the 2015 Vol-State 500k, he was a 2017 Barkley Marathons Fun Run finisher (which means he completed three laps within the time limit), and he was third at the 2017 IAU 24-Hour World Championships with 266.5k/165.6 miles run. Unfortunately, I don’t think Johan will be coming into WS 100 super fresh, as a month before race day he finished eighth at the 2018 IAU 24-Hour European Championships.

More Fast Men to Watch

  • Johnny Clemons — 3rd 2017 Pinhoti 100 Mile; 1st 2017 Cruel Jewel 100 Mile
  • John Fitzgerald — 5th 2017 Black Canyon 100k; 4th 2016 Quad Rock 50 Mile
  • Lon Freeman — 1st 2018 Canyons 100k
  • Masazumi Fujioka — 3rd 2018 and 2017 HURT 100 Mile
  • Brett Hornig — 5th 2017 Sean O’Brien 100k
  • Adam Kimble — 10th 2018 Way Too Cool 50k; 2nd 2017 Rio Del Lago 100 Mile
  • Karl Meltzer — 10th 2012 Western States; Winner of 41 career 100-mile races
  • Juan Moran — 2nd 2018 Black Canyon 100k; 4th 2017 Leadville Trail 100 Mile
  • Devon Olson — 4th 2018 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile; 1st 2017 Leadville Silver Rush 50 Mile
  • Michael Owen — 2nd and 3rd at 2017 and 2016 JFK 50 Mile
  • Kenneth Ringled — 14th 2017 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
  • Bob Shebest — 2nd 2018 Georgia Death Race; 1st 2017 Canyons 100k; I think he has the highest upside potential of this group
  • Paul Terranova — 11th 2017 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile; 10th 2015 Western States 100 Paul Terranova won’t start the race due to injury. [Updated June 21]
  • Charlie Ware — 2nd 2018 Sean O’Brien 100k; 3rd 2017 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile; I think Charlie also has high upside potential
  • Coree Woltering — 2nd 2017 American River 50 Mile; 3rd 2017 Dunes 100 Mile

Notable Earlier Entrants not Running

  • Chris DeNucci
  • Jared Hazen
  • Andrew Miller
  • Patrick Reagan
  • Paul Terranova
  • Joe Uhan

Call for Comments

  • Who’s going to win Western States this year? And how do you see the race for the rest of the podium ultimately playing out?
  • Anyone fitter than we might think? Anyone we’ve not listed with a chance to crack the top 10?
  • Is anyone not running who is in this preview? Leave us comments to let us know. We’ll be updating this preview until the start of the race.
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.

View Comments (194)

  • Should add Adam Kimble to the list of top 10 hopefuls. Adam has lots of course time, is extremely fit and runs very smart. Gonna be a fun race

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    • Thanks for letting us know about Adam Kimble, we've added him to the preview.

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      • No problem. Thanks for both this and the incredible womans preview. Loved them both.

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  • 1. François
    2. Second place
    3.Third Place

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  • Andrew Miller is not running ?

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    • Unfortunately, Andrew pulled out of the race last week due to an injury. Heal up quick, Andrew!

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  • Great write up as well. I mean this field is LOADED!! It is going to be hard to nail the prediction contest this year. Obviously Francois is the most takenwted mountain runner in the field but not sure this course is mountainous enough for him. Think it goes Jim, Jared, kris, Francois butbonly time will tell. No snow on the course and as of now cooler temps is setting this up for a very fast race.

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    • Peter I agree about Francois. Course isn't tough enough for him and he's unproven in the heat. I'd also like to see Kris Brown up there. 3rd might be pushing it but I hope he pulls it off. Jim and Jared seem locks for top positions as well. I wish Tim Freriks had been healthier recently...I'd have him 2nd.

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      • I was under the impression that Diagonale de fous featured some very hot/humid conditions on a regular basis (though I dont have data to support that). Francois is a multiple time winner there. If thats the case, then he has a fair amount of experience with heat management.

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  • 1.Jim Walmsley....third time lucky...
    2. Tim Freriks
    3. Jared Hazen

    Coconino Cowboy clean sweep...

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    • Meghan, thanks for the great preview, but I am surprised that you completed neglected to mention the Cocino Cowboys. Has there ever been a training group of this caliber in the ultra scene? Individually, they are all talented runners, but as a group I think they are completely unstoppable I agree with Patrick that the Coconino Cowboy's will accomplish a clean sweep, although I would put it at 1. Walmsley. 2. Hazen. 3. Feriks.

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      • A cowboy sweep is probably a stretch, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. I too am surprised to not see them mentioned as a collective. The way the 5 of them are gearing up for this race (both in terms of training and the media blitz) is closer to a rock band than a sports team. That all 5 raced their way into the field is one of the most exciting story lines of the race. Their approach to the sport, love it or hate it, is one of the most exciting developments in American ultra-running period.

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      • For sure there have been and are currently other training/friendship groups of high echelon trail/ultrarunners training together with regularity, some pretty well organized, some more loose, but all/most(?) without a brand/social media feed. ;) Seattle, Washington. Ashland, Oregon. Flagstaff, Arizona even before this current swell of runners. Silverton, Colorado. Boulder, Colorado. Washington, DC/northern Virginia. Bend, Oregon. Marin County, California. Los Angeles, California/close environs. Colorado/Manitou Springs, Colorado. I know I'm missing other geographies of the past and present, and this is only in the US. (Readers, feel free to chime in!)

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        • Thanks, Meghan! Maybe I am just a sucker for the Cocino Cowboy's logo and slogan: "The Canyon Makes Cowboys." But, regularly training with other elite runners definitely make a huge impact that should not be underestimated! Sarah Barker's interview for Deadspin with the Kiwi Jake Robertson this February - after he broke an elite field to win the Houston half following years training with an elite group in Kenya- was the most interesting running piece that I have ever read: https://deadspin.com/a-decade-in-kenya-turned-two-teens-from-new-zealand-int-1822679686 With a simple life, lots of good trails, and a group of dedicated peers pushing you, amazing things are possible.

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        • Good historical perspective. I would add Auburn-Sacramento for most of the 80s and 90s.

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      • Thanks, they already get a lot of publicity. We've heard of them.

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      • I'm not a diehard CC fan (the social media blitzing is a liiiiittle annoying) but I am intrigued by them. I think that what they're doing is more unique than other high level trail running groups. All 5 of them (that's quite a big number of elites - they're all mentioned in this preview) have earned their way in via sponsor entry or golden tickets and IF their race strategy involves running as a pack and working together, it could really change the dynamics of the race, almost similar to team road bike racing. It just hard to say if their egos will allow them to do this; and if a pack strategy will work on such a long race with such high stakes. My memory could be biased but I don't feel like we've seen this approach at WS before. I am definitely looking forward to seeing it all play out.

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        • I was at Lake Sonoma & heard his dad talking about the possibility of running with the other guys to help them get the Golden Tickets. Basically he said that Jim's take on things is 'Once the gun goes off, it is a race'. So I doubt there is going to be a pack approach. I think anyone wanting to go with him is going to have to go fast.

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    • Jared is out due to injury.

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  • Saw online that Dean Karnazes is running. Great to see him toeing the line and still in good running health and enjoying the endeavor. While never an elite talent with pure speed, Dean brought ultrarunning into the mainstream and introduced many to the craziness. He's a great ambassador, wish him the best!

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    • So glad to hear this!! I was just thinking of him on my run this morning! Wondering of if he still races anymore. I can definitely say he has inspired literally tens of thousands of people to run, get healthy and/or run trails and ultras!! I remember reading his book when I "wasn't a runner" and was blown away. I let it sit in the back of my mind for a few more years before I decided top try running at all! Then ran my first ultra in 2014. I still read his first book from time to time. Still a great read!!

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      • He ran a decent 100K not so far from here a few weeks ago, Bishop, finished about 14:30, I think?

        I'd been tempted to go and now regret I didn't --

        JV

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        • I did see that too, would be awesome to see him crack 24 hours. Might be a stretch but without any insane weather variable, he could get it. My first intro to ultrarunning was by hearing him speak on his 50/50/50. As I learned more, I learned of the greats like Jurek, Meltzer, Twietmyer, Tony K and others, but we shall never forget about Dean and his impact!

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  • 1. Freriks
    2. Hazen
    3. Reed

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  • Yes, the PBs of Florian "Run with the Flow" Neuschwander are promising - and I find his Marathon PR of 2:20 even more impressive - as he ran that on a course with a lot of turns, bridges and some inclines. I am curious how he will perform in his first 100 Mile race.

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  • This is a great article, a sort of who-is-who in ultrarunning in June 2018 :-) My bet is on Francois, if he deals with the heat. He just seems to be the most consistent over the 100 mile distance. And then a Cowboy, Jim or Jared. Good luck for everyone!

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  • Agree with Francois in the top spot, the strongest 100 miler on paper and likely to run super smart. As such a strong favorite does he encourage the hail mary approach (and likely DNF rate) by those gunning for M1 or inspire people to bring their best? Can't wait to find out. As for Jim, I suspect his training block and taper hold clues about what lessons have or have not been internalized. Looks to be a mixed bag thus far, but certainly some positive signs.

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  • Meghan,

    “Coree Woltering — 2nd 2017 American River 50 Mile; 3rd 2017 Dunes 100 Mile”

    Don’t forget that Coree also came a close 2nd in the Quicksilver 50K (which has more total elevation gain than AR50) literally running with Rob Krar (the winner) almost the entire way.

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    • Totally, RB Q! We followed that race and know Coree's great run in it. That said, I do think runners' efforts at races 50 miles and longer are better indicators of potential performances at a 100-mile race like WS 100 and so we endeavor to note their most appropriate previous, recent races. And certainly none of these are exhaustive lists of what runners have achieved, either. If we did that, the previews would be so long that few would read them. :) Thanks for the comment!

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  • G@d, I love this site so much, but then Meghan has the audacity and arrogance to suggest to Jim Walmsley some racing advice. Please keep it to yourself, Meghan, and let us know when you do anything relevant in the sport that has the whole trail world talking about you. I will say it here. Jim will crush it and you will apologize, along with all the other haters that do not understand high level ultra trail racing. Francois has had to learn and Kilian has had to learn.

    Jim, do what you do, and let the cards fall where they may.

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    • @ajslk,

      Ignorance is bliss! Research the intrawebs about Meghan and come back here to apologize for insulting her ultra running credentials.

      Nattu.

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      • I can see Tim and Jim running together for at least the first 3rd.
        Well it be at Tim's pace or Jim's?
        I don't know which one will want to be faster.
        I Imajine Tim would be more reserve, so if Jim goes with Tim, I could see a good race for the win with the 2 of them well in the mix.
        If they decide to go out at Jim's pace???
        Just remember, most home runs are hit with 2 strikes.

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      • @ajslk

        Do you realize how laughable your comment is, and on so many levels?

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    • I probably should not comment here, but among many other noteworthy accomplishments. Meghan has won MdeS and completed Nolans 14 in very fast time. Also, she is a journalist in this setting, so it is her job (at which she is very good at) to display and critique the line up, whether she has ever put a pair of running shoes on or not. In this setting she is a highly accomplished ultrarunning journalist and that is what is relevant, not her running credentials. Meghan's comments in this piece did not come across to me as audacious or arrogant. Thanks already for the super reporting on WSER this year iRunFar - I'm excited to follow more articles and interviews over the next few weeks!

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    • ajslk, if you're going to have the audacity and arrogance to come on to Meghan's article, insult her and tell her to keep her well researched and informed opinions to herself; at least use your real name and own the words if you believe them to be true.

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    • Welcome, anonymous Jim-troll. Will you have the audacity to apologize (anonymously)? Since you seem good at making predictions, care to share your own credentials so we can make sure we should listen to you? No wonder Meghan (rightly) refrained from giving more publicity to the group that will go unnamed.

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    • ajslk, I knew my constructively delivered commentary would upset a few people, but didn't expect comments in opposition to come with a personal insult. It's okay if you and I (and others) have differing opinions and certainly okay if we debate them here, but surely we can interact civilly with each other (which is also required by our comment policy). Thanks for following it going forward and I'm happy to continue a conversation about the merits of my analysis. :)

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      • Meghan, promise us you won't apologize to Jim if he does end up "crushing it".

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    • It’s ironic that you lambast Meghan for giving Walmsley race advice, and then you do that very same thing. She included her personal predictions in a fantastic write-up with the disclaimer that they may anger some fans. That it did, clearly. But I think it’s ridiculous to take that anger out on a journalist and talented runner in her own right, who has done equally as much (albeit through different means) to promote our sport than Walmsley has.

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    • Great article Meghan! I think you nailed it once again. Thanks for everything you and IRFM do to cover this great race and for ultrarunning in general. I look forward to the IRFM WSER "guess the top tens" contest.

      Your suggestions to Jim on how he could increase his chances of winning are spot on. But Jim wants a course record more than he wants a non-record setting win. His choice. Great ultra runners like you and Jim are unique, non-conforming individuals who literally enjoy going where others do not. I see your point. I see Jim's. I respect your integrity to call it like you see it (who in their right mind would risk a chance to win Western States), and I respect Jim's to do it his way, or no way.

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    • In sports, generally people like to analyze and 'critique' things. Its hardly being a 'hater'. You need to get out more my dude; go for a run and cool off.

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    • Meghan:

      I couldn't have said it any better. The level of talent Jim Walmsley has is simply unimaginable. Its gotta be hard for someone that fast and strong to stay bored for the first 10 hours. But oh lord, if he can ever get that part down, his potential is limitless. I mean he could break the course record by over half an hour! I truly hope too that he can make it work this year.

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    • This is a preview for an ultra-stacked Western States; and, in my view gives colour on what may play out. We have no idea what is going to happen - which is amazing about life and in many ways the variables of this sport.

      Separately, with respect to Meghan, she is the only woman on the planet to complete Nolan's trailhead to trailhead and 3rd woman to officially complete Nolan's. There are few people who have completed the line, male or female. It's one of the most inspiring things I have seen in this sport.

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    • What a douchey, defensive comment. Yuck.

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    • “Jim will crush it and you will apologize, along with all the other haters that do not understand high level ultra trail racing.”

      BRB after I’m done LMFAO.

      What rock did you just crawl out from under? MH and BP are both accomplished trail, mountain and ultra runners who do this for the community out of their pure love and passion for the sport and it’s people.

      What have you done for it lately?

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    • ajslk, who are you to make these comments? Hiding behind an anonymous identity. When you make statements as outlandish as yours, have the guts to own them. It's called maturity.

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    • Bruh, just because people talk about Donald Trump or whomever, doesn't mean that they are the shit. Attention means nothing. Years back when Jim was just learning how to utilize his voice, he stated one of his motivational influences was Conner McGreggor, a world class shit talker. Just because people make shirts that say "STOP JIM!" and because Jim has realized that he can hype himself like any good showman.

      Like.. Dude.. Jim is nothing but hype at this distance, and to berate Meghan like that is some BS IMHO. I think that Meghan can be biased, and I've been fumed at some of her predictions myself. But not bowing down to the James Wimsley 100 mile band wagon hype train is one thing I won't criticize the critique for in this case. I think she's right. Jim might be one of the best 50k-100k runners the world has ever seen. But the hype behind his hundo performances spits in the face of what ultra is about.

      Ultra isn't some damn 2:12 marathon. It's a game of blood and guts. You just can't predict anything with 100 miles, especially in the mountains.

      Sorry bruh for going hamm. But dude, c'mon.

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      • My point, because my phone cut that writing all the hell up is this...

        Hype means nothing. Hyperbole is well.. hype. I'm a fucking huge Jim fan, btw. My sister is an active duty Captain for the Air Force and worked with Jim. I'm not a hater. But I don't condone shitting on Meghan either. Like. I get it. And I know I'd be better off if I just kept my mouth shut. But man. Jim is the hype machine in Squaw.

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  • You're commenting on Meghan's site, the one where the whole trail world talks about its sport on. Lemme drink your tears, fam.

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  • Not sure about Francois to win this, he is the best in technical 100 millers with a lot of elevation, never seen him in a very fast course, I think this is Walmsley year!

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  • Shadowing Ian Sharman would require a runner to be able to run downhills as strong as Ian Sharman and that is something very few humans can do.

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  • Florian ran a trail marathon at 28 degrees celcius in 2:29, followed that up with a solid wings for life performance and ran Germanys biggest Ultra (ca 10k participants) of 74km in 5:13hrs (it has around 2.000m climb/descending). Those runs all came in a full training week of around 200km a week. I think he will run a smart race and see him top 10 for sure. Good luck to all the runners! :-)

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  • I love IRF, BP & MH but I thought the "advice" to Speedy Jim lacked one very important component. Yes, go out with a few others in a group, yes drink and keep cool - all great advice. Just as important though, Jim - grab the rope!!! :)

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  • Cody Reed technically debuted at run rabbit run last year but dropped after going out too hard ala Walmsley.

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    • Ah, thanks for the heads up on that! I had not realized or noticed in Cody's race results that he had given Run Rabbit Run a shot. We've updated the article.

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  • 1st place: whoever runs the best race/has the best day/hasn't made a bad mistake/is the toughest
    2nd place: whoever is behind 1st
    3rd place: whoever is behind the other two
    This is fun to keep up with and watch, and there are so many good runners (has there ever been a field this good?) that it's impossible to tell. Looking forward to keeping up!

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  • I would definitely recommend not to underestimate Florian Neuschwander from Germany. He qualified by winning the Sean O'Brien and he is by far the greatest ultra trail runner I - as a German - know :)

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    • true... never underestimate the FLOw. hi from across your southern border - an austrian ultrarunner who also thinks flo neuschwander could win.

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