Hot Weather, Fast Times!: 2018 Western States 100 Results

Drymax - 2017 Western States 100On a hot-weather day on the Western States 100 course—where the midday heat registered 97 degrees Fahrenheit at the race’s 62-mile point and then 106 degrees at the mile-78 river crossing—winners Jim Walmsley (pre-race and post-race interviews) and Courtney Dauwalter (pre-race and post-race interviews) alighted fires of their own.

Jim set a new men’s course record and Courtney finished in the second-fastest time ever by a woman. In the balance of this article, we’ll break down Jim’s and Courtney’s outstanding performances as well as what else happened at the front of the men’s and women’s fields.

The iRunFar team was at the start, finish, and 16 spots along the 100-mile course! Read on for splits, quotes, early analysis, and more collated from the team’s observations. We’ve also collected additional resources in our 2018 Western States post-race roundup.

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.

You, the iRunFar reader, can help support us, too… just check out our summer fund drive to find a few options for supporting our work!

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2018 Western States 100 - temperature

Hot! Hot! Hot! It was 106F/42C or higher in the shade at the river crossing at 4 p.m. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2018 Western States 100 Men’s Race

It was a special day in the 2018 Western States 100 men’s race, with not only a stout men’s race overall, but also a new course record set by Jim Walmsley (pre-race and post-race interviews). Let’s look at both storylines individually.

Jim Walmsley’s Western States 100 Course Record

This was well and truly one for the record books. Jim Walmsley set a new Western States 100 course record of 14:30:04. It behooves us to equally well and truly break down how he did it. Let’s do this.

In his pre-race interview, Jim said he was looking at a 15-hour race, meaning his plan was to run at a swift but not unheard-of-before-at-Western-States pace. At the finish line, he additionally added that his spilt sheet called for a 14:53 finish.

Jim took the first 15 miles positively chill—and according to plan, it seems—arriving to Red Star Ridge (mile 15) four minutes over course-record pace. Almost 15 miles later at the Robinson Flat aid station (mile 30), he had picked up a little steam as he was two minutes under record pace. From there, though, the plan must have gone out the window as he positively let it rip.

2018 Western States 100 - Jim Walmsley - Robinson Flat

Jim Walmsley floating into Robinson Flat in the lead. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

At Dusty Corners (mile 38), he ran through at a full 16 minutes under, gaining 14 minutes on record pace in 7.7 miles. Ahem. Did you get that? At Devil’s Thumb (mile 48), he was, again, 14 minutes under. Michigan Bluff (mile 56) 16 under. Foresthill (mile 62) 19 under. It went on like this until the Rucky Chucky river crossing (mile 78) when he passed through 26 minutes under record pace, what we believe was his maximal gap under record pace.

The iRunFar team consistently reported that Jim spent minutes at a time in the aid stations. That is, anywhere from three-to-five-minute stays were regular for him. He’d sit, take off his shoes, get iced and watered down, and feed. Regular stays of this frequency in aid are more of a European thing than an American one, so it struck us as notable. Perhaps Jim is starting yet another American ultra trend? And perhaps hidden in this strategy was the rest time which enabled him to sustain such fast running paces when he was on the trail? Interesting, certainly, and worthy of future consideration.

From the river crossing (mile 78), he began to give time back, but not so much that it ever seemed his record finish was in danger. Of course, because of his 2016 effort here, we all held our breaths when he went in the river and again when he was on his way to that crucial left turn. Jim said at the finish that he hung onto the rope whilst crossing the river and that there were two spectators awaiting him at that left turn. Just when we thought Jim’s passage was free and clear of obstacles, word came in that he was delayed by a mother black bear and her two cubs somewhere before the Pointed Rocks aid station (mile 94). Jim surprised the trio, the cubs treed themselves, and mama stayed nearby in protection. After a couple minutes, he was able to pass.

Now, finally, it was just Jim and the last few miles of the Western States Trail. When he arrived to the finish in 14:30:04, he won by a massive margin and was 16 minutes and 40 seconds under the previous course record of 14:46:44. At the finish, Jim said that getting the record hurt and that “Tim [Olson, the previous record holder,] is a bad, bad man.”

Mark it in the record books: Jim put together mind and body in near-perfect synergy to run his heart out and inspire a community of ultrarunners. I don’t know whose emotions were stronger at the finish (and perhaps around the ultrarunning world following online), Jim’s or everyone else’s. It’s a massive pleasure to see such a look of satisfaction on his face.

Jim did it! Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

The Rest of the Men’s Race

After the race for the win and course record, there was still a boatload of men’s racing going on. Next, we point out the start-to-finish steady effort of France’s François D’haene (pre-race and post-race interviews) for a distinct honorable mention. François went out at nearly the front of the men’s pack, running basically the whole race in one podium position or another, and settled into his ultimate second-place position before reaching the Robinson Flat aid station (mile 30). Over and over, our team reported that essentially François never looked amazing, but never looked poorly either. He just ticked off the miles until he arrived at the finish. He would say at the finish line that the runnable, hot, and dusty miles around the Dusty Corners aid station (mile 38) were his hardest. His 15:54:53, while quite far from winner Jim Walmsley, remains an excellent finish time that sits amongst the best second-place times in the history of this race.

2018 Western States 100 - Francois Dhaene - Michigan Bluff

François D’haene is a machine. He once again got it done at the 100-mile distance this weekend. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Last year, Mark Hammond (pre-race and post-race interviews) finished third. This year, Mark Hammond finished third. Enough said. Just kidding, there’s a lot more to say! What is really the deal with Mark? Because he doesn’t look hot or sweaty or tired in the heat of the day while racing 100 miles, I’d like to have what he’s having. Mark put himself in the back of the men’s top 10 by Red Star Ridge (mile 6), ran some 35 more miles while gently ticking off places until he was in third when we saw him at Michigan Bluff (mile 56). Our field reporters from there out frequently and independently reported on how-strong-and-somehow-not-affected-by-the-heat Mark seemed. He’s nailed it with these two third places on the international 100-mile stage, though his 16:08:59 this year was about 45 minutes faster than last year’s finish in what will likely be called by the WS 100 weather pundits similarly difficult conditions. [Update, June 25: The punditry is now in and this year was the ninth-hottest year in race history.]

2018 Western States 100 - Mark Hammond - Finish

It’s now two-straight third-place finishes at Western States for Mark Hammond. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

It’s probably not fair to always compare guys like Ian Sharman and Jeff Browning (pre-race interview) with each other. Yes, they employ similar race tactics but, yes, they are their own human beings with their own unique takes on how to enact their similar strategies. Even still, the pair finished four-five, respectively.

My, oh my, was Ian in shape this year! You could see it early, as he was running further up in the men’s field earlier, and he looked peppy in body and confident in mind. When Ian crossed the finish line in fourth, he earned his ninth-straight top-10 men’s finish, and matched his previous best performance of fourth place in 16:20 in 2013… with a fourth place in 16:23. Mr. Consistent doesn’t even begin to precisely reflect Ian’s, ahem, precision. 2018 M7 becomes 2019 M4; see you next year!

2018 Western States 100 - Ian Sharman - Robinson Flat

Don’t get into a walk off (or run off) with Ian Sharman. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Jeff Browning finishes Western States for the fourth time, this year taking fifth and following up on a fourth place last year and third the year before. That might sound like a descending trend on paper, but I don’t think it can be considered as such because, in actuality, a 16:45 run in this year’s weather seems like a step up on last year’s 17:32 in also-nasty conditions.

2018 Western States 100 - Jeff Browning - Michigan Bluff

At this juncture, Jeff Browning said he was going hunting… and that he did. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

In the second half of the men’s top 10, it was Kyle “The race starts in Foresthill, right?” Pietari, who used his leg speed to surge in the very last mile to his ultimate sixth-place position. Cody Reed took seventh, and I’m not sure if he puked on the course—anyone want to let us know?—but my heart felt for Cody because his face at Foresthill (mile 62) looked like how mid-race puking can feel. Puke face or just a general 100-miles-is-a-long-way face, Cody held tough to finish seventh, a super-successful first-100-mile finish for him. Charlie Ware took eighth, looking comfortable and focused all day. Paul Giblin (post-race interview) took ninth for the second year in a row, giving himself a trio of top-10 finishes. And Kris Brown (pre-race interview) rounded out the ultimate top-10 position.

A bit further back, but incredibly impressively, 73-years-old Nick Bassett IS now the oldest Western States 100 finisher ever. He ran 29:09:42 this weekend. Ray Piva, was previously the oldest-ever Western States finisher back in 1998 at the age of 71, six days shy of his 72nd birthday.

2018 Western States 100 - Charlie Ware - Robinson Flat

Charlie Ware? This is Charlie Ware… who just took eighth at Western States. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2018 Western States 100 Men’s Results

  1. Jim Walmsley (Hoka One One) — 14:30:04 (Course record. Old record: Timothy Olson, 14:46:44, 2012) (pre-racefinish-line, and post-race, and interviews)
  2. François D’haene (Salomon) — 15:54:53 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  3. Mark Hammond (Altra) — 16:08:59 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  4. Ian Sharman (Altra) — 16:23:32
  5. Jeff Browning (Altra/Patagonia) — 16:45:29 (pre-race interview)
  6. Kyle Pietari (Altra) — 16:54:23
  7. Cody Reed (Under Armour) — 16:54:49
  8. Charlie Ware (Aravaipa Racing Team) — 16:59:17
  9. Paul Giblin (Compressport) — 17:09:39 (post-race interview)
  10. Kris Brown (Hoka One One/rabbit) — 17:20:09 (pre-race interview)

Full men’s results.

Check out videos of the top-three men finishing.

2018 Western States 100 Women’s Race

Australia’s Lucy Bartholomew (pre-race and post-race interviews) took the women’s race out hot! At the Escarpment (mile 3.5), the race’s high point, Lucy went over the top basically in the company of the top men. And at Duncan Canyon aid station (mile 24), she’d built an eight-minute lead over the other women. Over the course of the race’s first half, she established, held, and, then, lapsed a lead over the rest of the women’s field. She also hovered not so far from course-record pace before dropping below it and, then, finally slowing down compared to it.

2018 Western States 100 - Lucy Bartholomew - Robinson Flat

Lucy running into Robinson Flat in the lead. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

As Lucy was easing off the gas, its seems that Courtney Dauwalter (pre-race and post-race interviews) was only getting warmed up. For fascinating comparison, as early as Duncan Canyon, Courtney was almost 18 minutes behind Lucy and not even in second place yet. The pass between this pair happened somewhere between the Devil’s Thumb and Michigan Bluff aid stations (miles 48 and 56). When our team saw Courtney at Foresthill (mile 62), it was clear that this race was now hers to lose.

2018 Western States 100 - Courtney Dauwalter - Michigan Bluff

Courtney Dauwalter climbing to Michigan Bluff shortly after taking the lead. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

More fun facts, at Foresthill, Courtney was 34 minutes off record pace. At the finish, she was about 40 minutes off record pace. Second-half closer anyone? When Courtney crossed the Auburn, California finish line in 17:27:00, hers became the second-fastest finish in race history, only bested by Ellie Greenwood’s 16:47:19 course record. The moniker ‘any distance, any surface’ fits Courtney perfectly, and she proved she can motor hard on the hot, dusty, flatter Western States Trail with not a trouble in the world.

Kaytlyn Gerbin (pre-race and post-race interviews), who finished fourth last year by a conservative, move-up-late strategy, went out harder this year. Where she was in the teens place-wise last year, Kaytlyn was already in the middle of things and in seventh at the Robinson Flat aid station (mile 30). Seventh at mile 30 was Kaytlyn’s version of a conservative start this year, perhaps, as a woman on an elevated running plane from one year ago. She inched up bit by bit such that she was in fourth by Foresthill (mile 62) and then second by Pointed Rocks (mile 94), the position she held through the finish. It’s official—if for some reason it already wasn’t—Kaytlyn Gerbin has gone big time.

2018 Western States 100 - Kaytlyn Gerbin - finish

Kaytlyn Gerbin improved on a great 2017 race in 2018. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

All of that earlier discussion about Lucy slowing up and losing the lead approaching the race’s halfway point in distance, the woman held her own, crossing the line in a solid third place. This marks an outstanding 100-mile debut by an incredible young athlete already on the rise. Does it seem that the sky is the limit for Lucy, or is that just me?

18 Western States 100 - Lucy Bartholomew - finish

Lucy going lunar at the finish. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Amanda Basham does it again, backing up her fourth-place finish from two years ago with another one of them this year. Like the other women who started meaning business off the line, Amanda was in the women’s top 10 for what we think must have been the whole race. Even in the day’s harshest and hottest conditions, Amanda passed us looking calm, speaking lucidly, and just in it.

2018 Western States 100 - Amanda Basham - Robinson Flat

Amanda Basham added another WS 100 fourth place to her collection. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Cecilia Flori, the Italian living in New Zealand who has been tearing up the Kiwi trail-ultra scene of late, ripped it up over here, too. For the first 20 or so miles, Cecilia ran outside the women’s top 10, before climbing into it by Duncan Canyon (mile 24). The rest of the race seemed to involve her running steady, moving up not only through the overall field but also in the women’s field such that she crossed the line in fifth. With Cecilia’s finish, that makes two 100-mile debuts in the women’s top five.

2018 Western States 100 - Cecilia Flori - Robinson Flat

Cecilia Flori ran a consistent race to take fifth. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

In the second half of the women’s top 10, we first find Stephanie Violett (pre-race interview) in sixth place, marking her fourth finish of this race and a big step back up after her difficult finish last year. In seventh place was Camelia Mayfield (pre-race interview), debuting strong in her first 100 miler after only deciding to do it after receiving a surprise Golden Ticket at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile just two months ago. Aliza Lapierre added to her collection of WS 100 finishes with an eighth place. Corrine Malcolm (post-race interview) moved up into the top 10 late and stuck it for her first finish of this race. Kate Elliott rounded out the women’s top 10, looking not-at-all tired at the finish of her first 100-mile race.

We’d be remiss not to mention that at age 60 Diana Fitzpatrick ran 23:52:56 to break Gunhild Swanson‘s previous women’s 60-69 age-group record of 25:40:29 that she set at the age of 60 in 2005. To learn more about Diana, we profiled her (and her husband Tim) last year and wrote about her attempt at setting the 60-69 age group record here.

What also has to be noted is the lack of DNFs amongst the front of both the men’s and women’s top contenders. While the race isn’t quite over at the time of this article’s publishing, it’s looking like the drop rate through the field will be on the low side of the average normal, but I’d have to guess that there were several fewer top-contender drops than in the recent half decade. [Update, June 25: 299 of 369 people finished the race, which is an 81% finish rate.]

2018 Western States 100 - Stephanie Violett - Robinson Flat

Stephanie Violett is back in a Western States women’s top 10. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2018 Western States 100 Women’s Results

  1. Courtney Dauwalter (Salomon) — 17:27:00 (pre-race, finish-line, and post-race interviews)
  2. Kaytlyn Gerbin (La Sportiva) — 18:40:19 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  3. Lucy Bartholomew (Salomon) — 18:59:45 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  4. Amanda Basham (Altra) — 19:17:59
  5. Cecilia Flori (Altra) — 19:42:55
  6. Stephanie Violett (The North Face) — 19:46:04 (pre-race interview)
  7. Camelia Mayfield — 19:46:57 (pre-race interview)
  8. Aliza Lapierre (Salomon) — 19:58:17
  9. Corrine Malcolm (Salomon) — 20:01:06 (post-race interview)
  10. Kate Elliott (rabbit) — 20:04:38

Full women’s results.

Check out video of the top-three women finishing.

2018 Western States 100 - Courtney Dauwalter - finish

Courtney Dauwalter after running the second-fastest women’s time in race history. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Coverage Thanks

We had an incredible crew who helped deliver iRunFar’s live WS 100 coverage. Thanks to Marissa Harris and Ellie Greenwood for anchoring our live-coverage team in the office throughout the race. Thanks to Josh Bergseng, Jorma Gates, Andy Jones-Wilkins, Kim Wrinkle, Casey and Levi Szesze, Steve and Darien Day, Sophia Duluk, Margaret Link, Joel Carson, Martin Nash, Alison Deacon, Wes Judd, and Leah Cox 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, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 72 comments

  1. Fede

    Can someone explainme the math behind miles 30 to 38 for Jim Wamsley , gaining14 minutes on record pace in 7.7 miles? And how much fast was he in this segment? Greetings from Argentina and sorry for my poor english

    1. Larry Neumann

      A delta like that can happen if Tim Olsen stopped for a rest, or had his bad patch. Jim was running just over 7 minute miles in that stretch, a gradual downhill section. Let’s say Tim was running 8:20s and stopped for 5 mins to change shoes. That would explain it.

    2. Meghan Hicks

      Hi Fede,

      This should help explain all this.

      First, below are the section mileages, time elapsed at each station, and section splits for both Tim and Jim.

      Tim:
      Robinson Flat- 4:30 elapsed
      Miller’s Defeat- 5:09 elapsed/39-minute split
      Dusty Corners- 5:39 elapsed/30-minute split

      Jim:
      Robinson Flat (30.3)- 4:28 elapsed
      Miller’s Defeat (34.4)- 4:58 elapsed/30-minute split
      Dusty Corners (38)- 5:23 elapsed/25-minute split

      Next, and what wasn’t mentioned in the article (for brevity) is that there are several small course changes which have happened in the interim time between Tim’s and Jim’s respective records. This article from last year explains them, https://www.irunfar.com/2017/05/six-interesting-features-of-the-2017-western-states-100.html, but one of them is a 0.6-mile shortening of the course between Robinson Flat and Miller’s Defeat, which certainly explains perhaps half of those nine minutes of difference between Tim and Jim for that section.

      1. Steve M

        Also, the slight course changes mean that it was a bit longer to Robinson for Jim than for Tim (2012 puts Robinson Flat at mile 29.7). This means that even though he was only 2 min up on Tim’s split, he had actually started making up quite a bit more per mile before Robinson Flat than that implies. Jim was really moving from Red Star Ridge to Dusty Corners this year, it was really just the part to up to Red Star that he was “taking it easy” it seems. He put 8-9 min on Francois on the 15 miles from Red Star to Robinson.

  2. Alex

    Awesome job as always on the coverage! Just signed up with Patreon to support you guys monthly. Hope lots of others are doing the same…

  3. Daniel

    Appreciate the report. I’m sure most content will arise over coming days and weeks by your media was the one true source of active updates throughout the race and soon after. Global interest in the event continues to rise. (Australia)

  4. Sarah Lavender Smith

    Excellent coverage and analysis, iRF! Thank you!
    Most surprising thing to me in this article: Francois’s hat?!? Looks like what I put on my kids’ heads when they were toddlers! I love how we often see different types of hats at WS, from cowboy hats to Magda’s straw fedora. Someone needs to wear an umbrella hat or propeller cap next year.

  5. Caleb Pocock

    Looks like there is a typo on the Mens results. Charlie Ware’s time is listed as 19:59, where I believe it should be 16:59.

  6. AT

    What an awesome day for fans, and ultra runners all over. I never thought I’d even run a 50k, but I have it on my running calendar for 2019 because of the community and energy that encompasses this crazy sport. IRF’s coverage is incredible and a big time thanks for the live twitter updates, as I spend more time on twitter in one day than I do all year during Western States weekend. Congrats to all the runners, you’re inspiring! Happy Recovery..

  7. Pierre Collins

    Did Nicholas Bassett set a new record for oldest finisher ever (age 73)? Congrats to him if so. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere so wondering if I got it wrong…

          1. Roger J

            Kudos to Nick Bassett! 29:09 at age 73 is remarkable. I created a Favorites list and tracked those 60 and older. Diana Fitzpatrick’s 23:52 at age 60 was already noted here, but Nick’s superb result was not. His splits indicate that he ran a steady pace with no apparent problems. His performance shows what is possible in one’s 8th decade. Rob Houghton’s excellent 21:27 at age 61 is also worthy of mention. Only two others age 60+ have faster times since the course was lengthened in 1985: Roger Dellor (20:28 in 2003) on a modified course, and Werner Schweizer (20:44 in 1999 and 20:33 in 2001). Nick, Diana and Rob deserve consideration for Age Group Performances of the Year.

      1. Bryon Powell

        I can’t recall at the moment how many times Walmsley’s put in for Hardrock, but he loves the race and the San Juans. He’s been coming to the race for at least a few years and I’m sure he’ll be here again for this year’s Hardrock. He’s also put me on notice that he’ll be taking down my one random Strava KOM around here. :-)

  8. Scott S.

    So, how did Jeff Browning do relative to the masters record and Karl Meltzer do relative to the grand masters record?

      1. Scott S.

        Thanks. Maybe it was just too hot for these young guys (compared to me) this time around. Hoping for cooler weather next year and more broken records!

  9. Philip Murphy

    Fantastic coverage once again, thanks so much Bryon, Meghan and all at irunfar. Much appreciated here in Oz. :)

    1. Bryon Powell

      Camelia does have a few sponsors: GU, Squirrels Nut Butter, Drymax, and possibly more. For the moment (unless that moment is already up), she doesn’t have a primary sponsor. I’d be surprised if that doesn’t change in the short term.

  10. Quigley

    Many thanks to Bryon, Meghan, and everyone who was part of the fantastic IRF coverage. All of you did a stellar job! What a wonderful and exciting race, and I appreciate all of you sharing so many wonderful snippets, images, and stories with all of us who were not able to be there!

      1. BM

        Agreed, it’s nice the race honors him with a spot, provided he runs a qualifier, but he’s been dropping for years now. Maybe the BOD can include him in another fashion that still properly recognizes him without taking a spot from another person that has a higher likelihood of finishing.

    1. Stephen

      He did that last year, perhaps his year he felt he had a decent chance of getting to the track. I have no problem with a guy like Gordie running as it is part of the story of Western States. I do think others who have no shot at Top Ten or an age group record should pass on running it again. Also, If you DNF you should still try to get back in this race. It’s an amazing experience and I wish more could do it. I finished this year and one buckle is enough.

      1. Agreeing in Texas

        Congratulations on your finish on a hot hot heat kind of day. I don’t think his detractors are doing so because he’s not finishing as much as he doesn’t appear to be in the physical condition to even come close, nor would his preparations suggest he is. Kudos to Gordy for paving the way all those years ago, but it’s not HIS race and he shouldn’t be given special privileges at the expense of someone else who has trained hard for the chance.

        The race isn’t about Top Tens or Age Group awards, but it is about giving your all and I have no problem with repeaters because it adds to the culture.

        1. B

          Gordy is part of the community that puts on this event. It is those people and the race’s history that make WSER100 so special. Hard to see how one more person per year comes close to honoring the race’s legacy. Seems s bit short sighted.

    2. AGoodSolution

      There’s an easy solution, and that is to make WS100 more similar to Boston, with qualifying times required at specific races – not just finishing the races. This makes people take the race seriously, and increases the competitive nature of it. Hikers can either spectate or find other races, just like at Boston. If you want a competitive halo race, you’ve got to set some standards.

        1. Agreeing in Texas

          That being said, it would be nice if Gordy was required to meet the standards to the same degree as everyone else (He finished in 22 hours at Bandera 2017 and 21 hours in 2018 and the requirement is under 17).

        2. AGoodSolution

          I meant tighter standards and universal standards. Though I don’t see how it hurts to let “that one guy” have a go at the course even if destined to fail – so long as volunteers don’t have to hang out all day for him.

      1. Jamie

        Making the race more like Boston is a terrible solution for something that isn’t really a problem. First, the obsession with qualifying for Boston is one of the most psychologically unhealthy phenomenon I see in running. There are a lot of middling marathon runners out there who seem to think that a person’s worth as a runner (and maybe even as a person) depends on whether they can get a BQ. Getting into the WS lottery, and then getting picked, is much more egalitarian. It’s open to anyone who can finish a qualifying race, and thankfully, no one goes around measuring their worth on whether they got a “WSQ.” Second, there are no shortage of runners who can run the equivalent of a BQ in a 100 mile race, but who aren’t going to have any chance at competing for a win. A WS100 filled with those people might produce more sub-24 hour runners, but like 3:10 marathoners, we are a dime a dozen. There’s no reason to think that’s going to significantly increase the number of people with the potential to run in the top 10. So, what’s better about that? All you’ve done is excluded the gritty hard working, inspiring, but slower runners. No thanks.

        And what is the problem that needs to be solved anyway? That the lottery odds are too low? Patience and perseverence is your solution. There are plenty of other great races to run in the meantime. That some people DNF? It’s a 100 mile race in mountains and heat. They should. The DNF rate varies with the conditions, but this year there were no signs of a significant problem of unprepared runners at the line. That there are too many slow people in the race? I think the solution would be to pick a different sport. If you don’t respect and admire the 29-30 hour runners out there as much or more than the people in front of them, and if you think States would be better off without them, you’re really missing out on what makes this sport special.

    3. Scott S.

      I’m not trying to single you out… but you made the first comment and maybe I’m just old man, but I’m disappointed with all this talk about giving the old man the boot unless he can keep up the young guys. Since when was this run only about finishing? Keep it up, I’m sure that you’ll guilt him into hanging up his shoes long before the flame actually extinguishes itself naturally and you’ll be done with him. I know that if I ever make it in and he doesn’t that I’d gladly give up my spot.

      1. It'sTime

        It’s not about giving someone “the boot” or him not keeping up with the younger guys. It’s about someone who routinely cannot make pretty generous cut-offs for a very limited lottery race to maybe give up his spot for someone new to experience the race.

        Additionally, as noted above, he is not held to the same qualification standards (finishing times) as other runners. I know plenty of “old men” (and women!) who have business being on the course (qualification standards) and are able to finish the race. He can serve and honor his legacy in other ways and better “share” the race with others who have an actual chance at finishing.

      1. It’sTime

        Oh bless your heart. Why don’t you actually address this issue instead of lashing out like a child and calling others “tools” because they bring up a legitimate point. And worrying “about your own shit” doesn’t include calling names because they hurt your feelings. Come back with a rational argument instead of childlike reflexive responses such as this.

        1. Emerson Thoreau

          The “issue” — as I see it — is a tool trolling Gordy. That would be you. I do not know Gordy, but I will defend a dude that jumped off a horse, busted-out a hundred miler, and helped create a genre over a tool any day — including today.

    4. Bryon Powell

      Hi all,
      First off, I hope we can all keep this conversation civil, even though I can understand that this one, involving a founder of our sport who now not unreasonably struggles to complete a race he’s responsible for starting, can draw folks to either extreme.

      Second, all things considered, I personally think the current situation offered up by the race is pretty fair to everyone. As a race “pioneer,” Gordy gets to bypass the lottery. That’s awesome and understandable. However, Gordy IS required to obtain a qualifying performance, just as everyone else in the race. Given his pioneer standing, he is permitted a bit of extra time to do so, as he has until the last Golden Ticket race each season… but he still has to qualify, which is the performance standard to which any other competitor is required. He’s shown he’s as capable as someone who’s made it through the lottery with a skin-of-their-teeth performance at the fastest of qualifying courses. In my mind, so long as he qualifies, he’s just as legitimate as any other competitor on the course…. and that’s not withstanding any nod to his legacy to the sport.

    5. Albert

      Blasphemy! He invented the race! It’s like asking God to stop ruling over Christianity because Jesus hasn’t come back to Earth yet. Terrible proposition!

      1. Agreeing in Texas

        I truly believe you meant no harm by this comment, but I find this analogy highly offensive. I would appreciate you choosing your humor a bit more carefully next time.

        1. Albert

          As an agnostic who believes that organized religion is one of the main problems that humanity suffers and the reason for which wars have been fought and millions have died for no acceptable reason, citing the decimation of indigenous peoples at the hand of Christianity, The Spanish Inquisition, among countless other atrocities committed in the name of religion, I will choose my humor as I see fit and don’t really care that I offend anyone.

  11. Trailmomma

    Will you guys list any blog posts/race recaps written by the athletes like you have in previous years? Love reading those! Thanks again for the awesome coverage of this great event.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hey Trail Momma,
      We plan on another post-race roundup article in the coming days. We wait a bit after the race, so that a few folks have had a chance to put finger to keyboard. :-)

  12. ShortDistanceRunner

    I for one thought that this was pretty cool that the guy who started it all more than 30 years ago was still there enjoying the first miles with the rest of them. Maybe my opinion would change if I had been rejected at the lottery, but maybe not.

    1. John

      Five year loser here, hope not to be a six in December but I hold issue with him running it, as a matter of fact I would love to share a mile or two of the trail with him.

  13. Colin K

    I have to say, I was wonderfully fascinated with a scene that was tastefully omitted from this summary. It involved two top finishers who fought for placing right up to the finish in what must have been some soul-searching battles. After finishing, they proceeded to sit next to each other and vomit in buckets for a few minutes (in good cheer of course). It really reminded me of a party a few years ago where me and my buddy Zac did the same thing. But even more, it represented something about this sport that really…well…fascinates me! Much respect to all finishers, and a million thanks to irunfar.

  14. Scott S.

    Bryon, from my years of reading iRunFar you’re always a voice of reason that I enjoy reading ever since I discovered iRunFar after bumping in to you at Leadville 100 back in 2012. Anyhow, I completely agree with your post. And I would add that based on the open letter that Gordy wrote and I think that maybe you all might have published a year or two or three ago that he doesn’t want any special treatment beyond a pass through the lottery. I think that he just wants to compete against father time and see where it takes him. So maybe I’m reading something into what others are saying that they do not intend, but some seem to be saying that he’s old and that he should make space for the young and I find that immensely detestable. And for the vast majority of us that don’t hold that position, I say bless you. God willing, you’ll be old some day too! Peace.

  15. rob argall

    Loved all the coverage. An amazing race and loving the write up. A quick question…

    When referencing above/below record pace for Jim Walmsley, are you taking that off Tim Olson’s actual course record splits? Or have you divided Tim’s time equally over the 100 miles? If that makes sense…

    Thanks!

    1. Bryon Powell

      We’d be referencing Timothy Olson’s actual splits from 2012… although it should be noted that there have been some small course changes in 2012. Still, they give a pretty good overall picture.

      1. rob argall

        Awesome – thanks Bryon! Jim crushed it…

        You guys are feeding the stoke for a whole community of trail runners in Cornwall, UK.

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