2019 Western States 100 Women’s Preview

Drymax - Official Sock WS100One hundred (point two) miles, 18,000 feet of climb, 22,000 feet of descent, high-country snow and mud, oppressive canyons heat, 45 years of history, the original 100-mile trail foot race, interesting storylines from the front of the race to the back of the pack, and always some unexpected variables mixed in: this is the 2019 Western States 100.

In the women’s race, eight of last year’s top-10 women return, all with improved resumes to boot. In that group is 2018 champ Courtney Dauwalter, who returns after debuting last year at Western States with the second-fastest time in race history. Then, we have a collection of women with excellent past experience at this race, including 2016 champ Kaci Lickteig. Mix in some fast women from abroad, including Italy’s Francesca Canepa who won last year’s UTMB, and some women who step up in distance to try 100 miles. All of this is a recipe for one very interesting day as these women travel the historic Western States Trail from Olympic Valley, across California’s Sierra Nevada, and to its finish in the city of Auburn.

Ahead of the race, we’ll publish interviews with a number of the women’s favorites. And, of course, we’ll cover the race live beginning at 5 a.m. PDT on Saturday, June 29. Stay tuned!

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

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

Be sure to check out our in-depth men’s preview to learn about the men’s race, too.

Returning Top 10

Eight of last year’s top-10 women are back for more:

Courtney Dauwalter

Courtney Dauwalter – 1st, 17:27 (2019 pre-race interview)

In her first turnout at Western States, Courtney won in the second-fastest time ever recorded on the course and 73 minutes faster than anyone else in the women’s field. It’s impossible for me to not think about Ellie Greenwood in 2011 and 2012 when it comes to Courtney last year and this year. In 2011, Ellie won in 17:55, which was then the second-fastest time ever on the course. The next year she came back, ran over an hour faster than the previous year, and set the current course record of 16:47. Honestly, even if it’s a hot day, I could see Courtney running an hour faster than last year. So far in 2019, Courtney’s run and won three races, the Tarawera Ultramarathon 100k, the Behind the Rock 50 Mile, and the Madeira Island Ultra-Trail.

Kaytlyn Gerbin – 2nd, 18:40 (2019 pre-race interview)

Between her first and second WS 100 finishes in 2017 and 2018, Kaytlyn improved by two positions and, more significantly, by two hours! Since her second place last year, Kaytlyn’s best performances have been in setting a course record at the 2018 Bear 100 Mile and taking second at the 2019 Transgrancanaria. She did have an off-par run in taking sixth at the 2019 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail in there, too.

Lucy Bartholomew

Lucy Bartholomew – 3rd, 18:59 (2019 pre-race interview)

Last year, in her debut 100 miler and, of course, her debut WS 100, the Australian ran aggressively off the front, leading the race for quite some time until slowing later. She held things together to finish third and squeak under the 19-hour barrier. Lucy’s 2018 was a huge year, racing and traveling-wise, and she was very honest on her social media about how much it wore her out and the down time she needed to recover. This year, she’s still been out and about traveling, but racing fewer long races. She’s been on site in Auburn for a few weeks now, training on the course and acclimating to the heat. I am so curious about what Lucy can do in her second go at the WS 100.

Amanda Basham – 4th, 19:17

Amanda has twice finished fourth at Western States, last year and in 2016. Her fourth place last year was almost a full hour better than her 2016 run. Since last year’s WS 100, her top outings have been a third place at the 2019 Tarawera Ultramarathon 50k and a win of the 2019 SciaccheTrail 47k. While there are a lot of women I wouldn’t want right behind me late in a race because they are so good at closing hard, Amanda’s near the top of my list. I still have a memory of watching her hammer across the 2016 WS 100 finish line like a steam train.

Cecilia Flori – 5th, 19:42

Cecilia, the Italian living in New Zealand, had a successful first WS 100 last year when she took fifth. Also last year, she was 10th at the CCC. Cecilia is a quiet machine who generally performs best on runnable courses, so it’s hard to estimate just how high her potential is here–but I think it’s real high.

Camelia Mayfield

Camelia Mayfield – 7th, 19:46

Camelia also notched her first WS 100 finish with last year’s seventh place. It was her first 100 miler, too! What’s up with how well so many of last year’s top-10 women debuted at this difficult-to-get-right 100 miler? So far this year, she’s finished fifth at the Way Too Cool 50k and 10th at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile.

Aliza Lapierre – 8th, 19:58

Aliza now has five WS 100 finishes to her name–with all of them in the top 10. You’ve got to wonder if she’s working on 10 top-10 finishes? Aliza’s fastest run was an 18:18 for third place back in 2012 and her slowest time was a 20:04 in 2013, when she took sixth. While she has had one DNF in 2016, it’s honestly hard to imagine Aliza not going top 10 again.

Corrine Malcolm – 9th, 20:01

When she took ninth, Corrine became the fifth woman of six total in last year’s top 10 to have done so in their debut WS 100. How incredible is that statistic!? Here’s another stat: you have to go back to the ‘cold’ year of 2012 to find any other year in WS 100 history where the top-10 women all crossed the line in under 20 hours (and one minute). Okay, but we’re here to talk about Corrine. In the last year, her other top runs have been finishing fourth at the 2018 TDS and 12th at the 2019 Lake Sonoma 50.

More Top Women

Kaci Lickteig

Kaci Lickteig (pre-race interview) has run the WS 100 every year since 2014, thereby compiling five previous finishes. Her finishes have been all over the board, with her best performances a win in 2016 in 17:57 and her toughest a 24-hour finish just a year later. Last year, she took 12th in 20:48. Her ups and downs at this race mark her years of great fitness and her journeys through injury and recovery. In the last year, Kaci’s been healthy, training consistently, and now seems as strong as she’s ever been. Her best runs in the last year have been a 10th place at the 2018 UTMB and a win of the 2019 Black Canyon 100k, at which she earned a Golden Ticket entry into the WS 100. I think we should expect a top finish from Kaci this year and I’d not be surprised if her finish time starts with 17 hours.

Canada’s Alissa St Laurent fits into the silent-assassin category. She just quietly goes about kicking butt. Alissa has two previous finishes at the WS 100, including one inside the top 10 in 2015. In the years since then, her top performances have been sixth place at the 2017 UTMB and fifth place at the 2018 TDS. Back in 2015 at the WS 100, she ran 20:27, and if she can put together another of those races, she’ll be knocking on the door of top 10 once again.

Nicole Bitter has had an up-and-down relationship with the WS 100 over the years–and she keeps coming back for more. I believe she’s started the race five times and finished it three, with her fastest run in 2015 when she ran 20:19 to take sixth. Last year, she finished in just under 22 hours. Since the 2018 WS 100, Nicole’s best run has perhaps been her win of the 2019 Zane Grey 50 Mile.

Clare Gallagher - UTMB 2018

Clare Gallagher

Clare Gallagher (pre-race interview) is back at the WS 100! She raced for the first time in 2017, and was running in the mix for the podium until she dropped extremely late race with an injury. Over the years, she’s proven that she can run at the upper echelon of the sport, with examples including a 2017 win of the CCC, a second place at the 2017 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships, and eighth place at the 2018 Trail World Championships. Earlier this year, she won the 2019 Way Too Cool 50k. She should challenge for the podium once again.

Addie Bracy comes to trail ultrarunning via a circuitous path through other kinds of running. First she ran USA Division I collegiate track and cross country, then she launched into competitive track and road running which involved competing in both the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials on the track and road, then mountain running which has included a win of the 2016 U.S. Mountain Running Championships and representing the U.S. at the WMRA World Championships, and, now, here she is a couple years into trail ultrarunning. Addie stepped up to the 100-mile distance last year, taking second at the Leadville Trail 100 Mile after running strong early before fading a bit later with stomach issues. This year, she set her sights on getting into the WS 100, trying first but missing the mark with a fifth place at the Bandera 100k before circling back to nab a Golden Ticket with a third place at the Lake Sonoma 50.

UTMB 2018 - Francesca Canepa

Francesca Canepa

Italy’s Francesca Canepa is running the WS 100! Francesca has proven to be a mountain beast over the years, with wins and podium finishes at seemingly most of the big European mountain ultras. This includes two UTMB podium finishes, with a win last year. Francesca has raced ultras in the USA at least twice before, back in 2013 when she took 10th at the Speedgoat 50k and fourth at the UROC 100k, the latter of which was the heyday year of UROC’s competitiveness. Though Francesca runs big mountains a lot more than flat terrain, back in 2015 she ran 8:15 for 22nd place at the IAU 100k World Championships. She was an hour off the win, but it shows she has wheels on the flats, too. One more thing, it’s a net downhill race and Francesca is one of the best downhill runners out there.

Camille Herron will try to race the WS 100 for the third time. She’s been at the race twice, but DNFed early in 2017 with physical issues after the challenging snow-and-mud conditions in the high country and DNSed in 2018 due to injury. In the last year, her best run was at the 2018 Desert Solstice, where she set a 24-hour world record as well as 100-mile and 200-kilometer American records. The 2019 calendar year has been up and down for her, as she opened with a win of the Tarawera Ultramarathons 100 Mile, but then she DNFed both Lake Sonoma and the Comrades Marathon–the latter just three weeks before WS 100–with a hamstring injury. That said, she’s trying to heal her hamstring to get to the WS 100 start line.

The United Kingdom’s Beth Pascall is another fascinating women’s entrant. She has some stellar results on her resume, including in the last year an 11th place at the 2018 Trail World Championships and fourth place at the 2018 UTMB. Like Francesca Canepa, I tend to think Beth excels on mountainous terrain, but given her history with the sport, it’s exciting to see what she can do at the WS 100.

YiOu Wang - 2017 Western States 100

YiOu Wang

In two previous tries, in 2016 and 2017, YiOu Wang has yet to find her potential at the WS 100. YiOu has shown tremendous ability at shorter-distance ultramarathons, which goes to show how tricky this race is. In 2016, YiOu debuted with a 13th place in 22:16, fading in the second half of the race after running strong early. And in 2017, she DNFed. But when you want something, you want something, and she ran her way back onto the entrants list with a second place at the 2019 Black Canyon 100k and earning a Golden Ticket there. Two months later she backed that up with a second place at the Lake Sonoma 50.

Ladia Albertson-Junkans (pre-race interview) is another woman on the WS 100 entrants list who arrived to trail ultrarunning via the collegiate-Division-I-competitions-to-roads-to-mountain-running-to-ultras-with-some-other-stuff-mixed-in path. She came onto my personal radar in 2016 when she earned her first spot to compete for Team USA at an off-road global champs, running to 15th place at that year’s WMRA World Championships. The next year, she ran her first ultra at the Chuckanut 50k, won, and qualified to represent the U.S. again at the 2017 Trail World Championships, where she took 13th and was the first American home. This year, she’s set her sights on running Western States, earning a Golden Ticket via second place at the Bandera 100k.

While I think of Brittany Peterson as specializing at shorter-distance trail running, she’s run 100 miles before, having what looked like a rough race at the 2013 Leadville Trail 100 Mile–she finished, though. Brittany is definitely on a steep upward trajectory in the sport, and her top performances in the last year or so have been a fourth place at the 2018 Transvulcania Ultramarathon and a win of the 2019 Bandera 100k, the latter of which earned her a Golden Ticket.

It looks like Canada’s Kathryn Drew really wanted to race the WS 100 this year. In January, she took third at the 2019 Bandera 100k, missing a Golden Ticket entry there. In April, she was back at it at the Canyons 100k, at which she won and earned the Golden Ticket. Also this year, she was the Chuckanut 50k winner.

Canada’s Kim Magnus also gained a Golden Ticket at the Canyons 100k, taking second to countrywoman Kathryn Drew. Kim finished second to Kathryn at the 2019 Chuckanut 50k, too. Her top 2018 runs include winning the White River 50 Mile and taking second at the Pine to Palm 100 Mile.

Still More Fast Women to Watch

  • Moriah Buckley – 4th 2018 Miwok 100k; 12th 2017 Lake Sonoma 50
  • Rachel Bucklin – 1st 2018 Bigfoot 200 Mile; 1st 2018 Bryce Canyon 100 Mile
  • Luzia Buehler (Switzerland) – 1st 2019 Georgia Death Race (and a Golden Ticket); 1st 2017 Wasatch Front 100 Mile
  • Liz Canty – 2nd 2019 Georgia Death Race (and a Golden Ticket); 3rd 2018 Bear 100 Mile
  • Grace Fisher – 1st 2018 Yeti 100 Mile; 2nd 2018 Cruel Jewel 100 Mile
  • Mandie Holmes – 25th 2018 WS 100; 6th 2018 Quicksilver 50k
  • Rachel Kelley – 1st 2019 Mountain Masochist 50 Mile; 21st 2018 Western States 100
  • Marie McNaughton (New Zealand, lives in Hong Kong) – 9th 2019 Ultra-Trail Australia; 4th 2018 Kong Kong 100k
  • Annabelle Stearns (United Kingdom) – 2nd 2018 South Downs Way 50 Mile; 2nd 2017 South Downs Way 100 Mile
  • Amber Weibel – 1st 2019 Silver State 50 Mile; two previous WS 100 back in 2012 and 2013

Call for Comments

  • Who do you see winning this year’s race and why? Do you think Courtney Dauwalter will repeat, and do you think the course record is in play?
  • Who can you see filling the rest of the women’s podium?
  • Who do you think has the biggest potential for an upside surprise?
  • Let us know if someone we’ve listed isn’t racing or if there’s someone else we should have our eyes on during the race. We’ll be updating this preview until the starting gun goes off.
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 96 comments

  1. Will

    I believe Anna Mae Flynn is also racing this year. Gotta think she will be a top 10 threat with an outside chance of landing on the podium

    1. Meghan Hicks

      Will,

      Anna Mae was on the entrants list for a while courtesy of her Lake Sonoma win, but as of mid-week last week, she was no longer. Not sure what happened, but she’s posted very little running on Strava, either. Injury? New focus?

  2. Burke

    If Camille Herron can deal with this hamstring issue effectively, I think she will be tough to beat. I have grown to be far more interested in the women’s races than the men’s over the last couple of years. I am excited to see this field of talented ladies take on the trail.

    1. Truth

      Or one can expect another excuse as with most of Camille’s results. She has obviously shown a lot of speed in races, but she scratches more often than not with an excuse. Anyway, trails aren’t her thing really, let alone ones that have climbing (as Western does early) or weather.

      1. Burke

        Well, that is why they run the race. I try not to get too involved with all the other nuances. We’ll see what happens soon enough.

        1. Tyler Mathews

          Seems odd to say “I try not to get too involved with all the other nuances” when you’re reading and commenting on a race preview post. Of course we’ll see what happens on race day, but this whole post is designed to dissect the nuances.

    2. Hi Everyone

      Camille recently scrubbed her ultrasignup because she doesn’t want to show all the times she DNF’d or didn’t get the results she thinks she deserves. Given other factors like the stealing of camp ideas/IP from Mr. Krar, and you have kind of an unpleasant force in the ultra world. The ultrasignup deletion was one of the most childish moves I’ve ever seen a runner make. Failures make us all better.

  3. Doug McKeever

    Ladia Albertson-Junkans might surprise in her 100 mile debut. She is motivated, dedicated, and ready…..top 10?

  4. JacobsA

    It’ll be cool (no pun intended) to see how Nicole fares after moving to Arizona from flat ol Dallas, especially in the canyons!

    1. Stephanie Jamrog

      I also think that Nicole is a dark horse, especially with the move. I thought last year could’ve been the one but maybe its this year?

  5. Julian

    Your comments are yuck and uncalled for ‘Hi Everyone’ Please refrain from saying negative things. This is the crap I see on the Letsrun message board.

    1. Truth

      This isn’t just some echo chamber, nor should it be. There are some legitimate reasons for criticism here, and that’s part of the storylines that make this sport fun/ nuanced as well.

  6. Hi Everyone

    Courtney Dauwalter really seems to be the one to beat. Such impressive and consistent racing. She is at the top of her field. A lot of people at the top of the ultra world tend to get OT syndrome after too many ultras, but so far she’s cooking along nicely. Her competitors just have to be ready to seize any moments of slack, but it’s a tall order. Will be cool to see how all the ladies coming back for round 2 perform.

    1. Jay D

      Courtney seems to be dialing back the number of races she’s doing. She had a half-dozen ultras in 2018 before Western States (including a 100 miler and two 100ks), but this year it’s just been Tarawera, Behind the Rocks 50M, and the Mueller Marathon. Her blowup at Desert Solstice probably had something to do with this. I don’t think you can be a fan of the sport and not root for Courtney, so hoping that she doesn’t run herself into the ground and can keep competing for a long time.

    2. Bob Hearn

      I agree Courtney is the one to beat, but others are writing off Camille way too easily. I’ve been guilty of that myself – only common sense, to most of us, when someone says she is going to beat the 100M WR by an HOUR in her first finish. “She doesn’t understand that 100 miles is very different from 100K.” Then again, “Yeah that was really, really impressive. Still, 24-hour is a different world, as she will soon learn.” So far it’s we who have done the learning. I saw firsthand how she went from destroyed, race over (lesson learned?), to, somehow, yet another new WR.

      Common sense no longer applies to her. Maybe her hamstring or something else will shut her down; maybe it will be a new CR. We will have to watch and see.

  7. AJW

    Re Camiile’s ultrasignup: Actually, I have it in good authority that her profile was scrapped by the company not by Camille herself. But, that could just be hearsay. Nonetheless, it is strange.

    Interestingly, a few years back Dan Barger’s profile was scrapped and then was recently reinstated. Perhaps Mark could elaborate more if he cares to do so.

      1. Gerell

        Yes, Ultrasignup would do that on their own…they did it to me because I once wrote to them asking about their new website years ago, I asked why they changed it, that I liked the current one at the time, and needed some help with the new one…HE did not like that comment and took ALL my results off the site. Asked for a donation to the site to get my results back up. True Story!

    1. SW

      This also happened to my husband after an email exchange with the owner of ultrasignup regarding a charged credit card but no resulting race lottery sign up about 6 years ago. His score keeps getting accrued but if you click on his name it’s just a blank page. I guess, don’t get on the wrong side of the ultrasignup guy, and don’t try to get a customer service issue resolved or it may happen to you too.

    2. Nan

      I also believe it’s more an issue with the ultrasignup website. I’ve had results missing from my profile and then show up again a few months later.

  8. Forest B

    Wow, this is one stacked field of runners. Its going to be a class race for sure. In my eyes Beth Pascall will most certainly feature in this race; one tough cookie with age on her side and a lot more to come yet.

    1. b

      Agreed. Beth won a rolling (5200′ climb) 50 miler in the English countryside a few weeks back, missing the CR by only a few minutes. She may excel in the mountains but has the gears for less technical terrain. A good pick for upper podium imo.

      1. JH

        Beth finished 3rd at 2018 UTMB (small correction to above article) and seems to be a patient runner whilst the miles unfold. Always in the mix, will be cool to see how she does in the heat and speed of WS100

        1. Meghan Hicks

          JH,

          Beth was 4th at the 2018 UTMB. Jocelyne Pauly was 3rd.

          I am very interested to know how this race goes for her, especially since learning after I wrote this preview that she’s been in the U.S. for a while and out on the course learning it and heat acclimating. Very cool.

          1. JH

            Quite right, apologies, I should pay better attention to your result reports! Thanks for the coverage, it’s going to be a good weekend for us followers to enjoy.

  9. Ronan

    If only 3 weeks after DNFing in Comrades, her number one goal this season, Camille Heron still finishes a 100 miler, that would definitely be a story for AJW to tell in a few years in his column!! I hope I’m wrong but I can’t see that happening. I would be surprised to even see her start. Which leads me to the question: do sponsors push their athletes to withdraw as late as possible from a major race?
    So sad to see Anna Mae is not on the list anymore (no public announcement though?), she looked really sharp and withdrew from the trail world championship to focus on WS :(

  10. Kristine Chew

    I think it is any one’s race! I am super excited to watch this years race because I know both Kim and Kat Drew. Kat was one of my first ever running partners way back back when and before she became a running star!

    1. Meghan Hicks

      Olaf,

      Stephanie Violett had surgery in late April and appears, according to her Strava, to be on the mend right now, doing some running and hiking along with cross training.

  11. JH

    Courtney is gonna do it, I hope she hasn’t burnt herself out she is damn talented. I’d also like to see kaci get it too. People who are not local dont realize this will be a tough course this year due to the heavy snow pack we has last winter. I don’t think it will be a record breaking year.

  12. Jon Gaus

    Great article and writing, thx! I agree with many of the commenters…the first woman to cross the finish line at Placer High will most likely be wearing basketball shorts:)

  13. Meghan Hicks

    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to make a general point of clarification. We believe that conversations containing criticism are, at times, a needed part of community dialogue and are thusly okay here on iRunFar. In those cases, we ask everyone to engage in such criticism in a constructive way. Our comment policy explains why constructive forms of criticism are important and how to do this, https://www.irunfar.com/irunfar-comment-policy. Thank you.

  14. Olaf

    Thanks for the answer Meghan, I remember Stephanie went to Scandinavia but because she stood on the photo I thought she might be in the race. I didn’t dare to ask herself.

  15. Brad

    I am excited to see the GDR golden ticket winners take on Western States! That was an epic women’s race-in striking distance of one another all the way to the finish line. Those two are TOUGH!

  16. Megan

    GO MORIAH!!! Looking forward to seeing what all you fast ladies can do. I wish all the first-timers, first-time-finishers, and well basically anyone hardcore enough to take on this awesome 100 mile endeavor a successful, FUN, and memorable race!

  17. Mike

    I witnessed Camille in Comrades 3 weeks ago really struggling to keep up early on in the race she was never even at her best going to get within 20 minutes of the winner but still had to roll out an excuse. She shows bad sportsmanship in doing this in every race she DNF'( which is most races)

    1. Jeff

      Wait, what? This is her job and I think it’s in her best interest to think tactically about whether or not she chooses to finish a race. If it’s not in her best interest to finish and she can pull out and focus on another race or avoid getting injured why wouldn’t she do it? I really don’t understand what this has to do with sportsmanship or lack thereof? She’s not a weekend warrior gutting out a finish, she’s a professional athlete.

      1. Jeremy

        There’s nothing wrong with a strategic DNF. There is, however, something wrong with making up an excuse for your DNF.

        1. Jeff

          I’m still not understanding. If a hamstring injury is the reason she DNF’d how is that making up an excuse? What is she supposed to say about her DNF?

          1. Jeremy

            I’m not understanding why you were arguing that her DNF was strategic if the hamstring was the real reason for the DNF.

    2. Megan

      Wow – didn’t realize a DNF = bad sportmanship. It takes huge guts to put ourselves out there, especially when we may struggle with injuries or low times in our life. Success does not always mean winning, but improving and rising when we fall. We should be all be cheering for each other not bringing others down. This applies to all things in life! GO EVERYONE!

    3. Patrick Krott

      I understand why many elites will DNF early in a race if they feel their chances of placing on the podium are gone. That being said, it is extremely inspiring to see elites have problems in a race, fall way back in the field, yet still push on only to merely finish.

    4. John Gardner

      This comment, and others like it on this thread, are some of the most inappropriate I have ever read on an ultrarunning forum. The handful of trolls who are anonymously bashing one athlete here have absolutely no business spreading their hate in a sport that relentlessly prides itself on universally supporting any athlete willing to lace them up and run down the trail.

      This athlete has not cheated. This athlete is decorated internationally. This athlete is a person with feelings. This athlete owes absolutely nothing to anyone except perhaps her sponsors or others with whom she has made professional commitments. She is free to run where she wants, when she wants.

      I ask everyone who reads this – suppose you who were the public figure being anonymously attacked for reasons that were personal to you? And who among these trolls has the courage to run their heart out for 24 hours in front of the entire world?

      (Meghan and Bryon: As the creators and owners of this otherwise fine forum, it will always be your decision. But perhaps ultrarunning, as well as the freedom to post anonymously, both call for a higher standard of editorial decency. John Gardner. laddybuck1@gmail.com

      1. Mike

        If somebody expresses an opinion that is different than yours, it does not mean that they are negative or a troll and that you are correct. Camille makes public statements on social media and so people have the right to have an opinion about that. If a professional athlete stays away from social media and internet forums then they are much less likely to be publicly criticized. It seems unprofessional to start and drop from multiple races because that sends a message that an athlete does not know what they are doing. If you are sick, under-trained or not fully focus on the upcoming race then do not start it. Simple. Trying to win an event like Western States or Comrades by trying to wing it is a recipe for a big disappointment and you subject yourself to public scrutiny. If you have doubts about your training or health then it would be smarter to take a break, heal, put slowly some serious training and come back strong 6 months later. Camille is by far one of the most talented ultra runners in the world, but she insist on making the same poor choices year after year and brushes all comments under the rug of “criticism or trolling”.

      2. SageCanaday

        + For what John said. I’ve personally been bashed on here as well as LetsRun.com. It’s all the same….distance running communities (whether ultras-trails or roadies) will have some critical people….often hiding behind their keyboards with fake names. I’m up for it being “part of the territory” and being active on social media…However it is the “hate” and “jealousy” that shines through in some comments that is often a driving cause of the “criticism”. At some point one could almost call defamation in some instances. The spreading of misinformation or making assumptions…without knowing the full story (or forgetting that an elite athlete is still a person just like everyone else). What I think is really ironic is the trail running community likes to claim to be “opening and welcoming” but then is ironically extremely judgmental (well a few people only maybe!). Roadies/track runners can be too of course….but sometimes there is more mutual respect in the standard distances off the trails. LetsRun.com forums or comments on here…its all the same to me though. I’ve learned to get thick skin.

    5. Daniel Burke

      I also don’t understand how she shows bad sportsmanship. She has the right to drop out for whatever reason. This would include possible injuries. Also, she “had to roll out an excuse” I didn’t know you knew Camille body more than she does.

  18. Nathan Augustine

    Well, now you all have me rooting for Camille. Crush the critics! ;) Team Lucy for 2nd place. Happy Statesmas everyone.

  19. Daz

    Good luck to all the amazing female runners. Its easy to sit behind the computer and criticize but at least each and everyone of them are out there trying to do their best. I will be cheering for Courtney Dauwalter and the amazing Ozzie Lucy Bartholomew

  20. Stephen

    I’d like to see Kaci win. She loves this race like no other. She always comes to the Memorial Weekend training runs. And on race day she finds a way to finish. Now that she’s back in top form, she’s ready to go get it. It will be a fast, exciting race! Kaci, Courtney, Francesca or Lucy FTW!!

  21. Peter L

    Camille stated in an interview that she deleted her Ultrasignup because people would see her on the entrants list for races and then not show up.

      1. AJW

        I’d be curious to read this interview, as well, as the story I heard about this was entirely different (albeit from a 3rd party source)

  22. Camille

    I went to read this article yesterday evening, and I appreciate Meghan reaching out to confirm my current status. Then I saw the comments ‍♀️. It’s hard enough dealing with an injury. The sport needs more compassion and good vibes. I’m trying my best to both get to the starting line and hope that my body is strong and well enough to finish. Anything else is icing on the cake! It’s been a very long road to get back to Western States. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to start and that my body is currently bouncing back well after some rest. I hope people can respect an athlete/coach’s judgement, whether they DNS or DNF, and making the best decision for their health. I want to be able to run and hopefully compete for my lifetime and have a long ultra career! Thank you to those who care. I will have a very huge smile if I can both start and finish Western States this yr!

    1. Mike Miller

      Thanks for this Camille. Class Act. Even though we had a difference opinion several years ago over some comments you made about Mexico, I’ll be rooting for you this year after reading this thread.

    2. Ben

      Camille – easy for me to say but from the outside looking in perhaps it’s time to shut it down and truly recover? At the level you try to compete don’t you need to ‘know’ your body is strong and well enough to finish rather than just hoping it is?

      Can you see how the pattern of…
      1) going out hard as you always do in races (which is actually quite amazing to always swing for the fences – kudos to you)
      2) falling off the lead
      3) dropping citing injury
      4) state your body is bouncing back after some rest
      5) presumably logging big miles in training again so quickly (did you stop posting to Strava too?)
      6) And then repeat this cycle
      …might be a cause for criticism?

      If you truly want to run and compete for your lifetime and have a long ultra career shouldn’t you take care of the injuries rather than line up for a very difficult 100 like WS in a heavy snow year?

  23. Mallory

    Like plenty of others on here, I’m rooting for Kaci, too. Let’s not forget about YiOu, though! She came in second at this year’s highly competitive Lake Sonoma, and ran that race without a taper as part of a high-volume training week because she already had her Golden Ticket. That has to be very good practice for the later miles of a 100-mile race.

  24. Mani Vangalur

    thanks for the preview, Meghan. what a stacked field! its always unfortunate to see injuries taking its toll. hope Anna Mae has a speedy recovery and hope Camille gets healthy and runs western states. looking forward to how the race shapes up. Best wishes to all the elite runners.

  25. Aaron Sorensen

    Wow, haters going to hate.
    I see Camille as something along the lines of the race horse Secretariat.
    The horse had some not so good finishes and then would come back with a track record.
    You realize you [redacted name calling] are putting down a trail runner of the year and holder of several world records?
    Be proud of what she does people.
    Because when she gets it done, it’s insanity a level never seen before.
    Maybe not at a tough trail race, but that’s no reason to say anything remotely bad about her.
    She’s amazing and Secretariat is still considered the greatest race horse ever.

    1. Truth

      “horse had some not so good finishes” Camille doesn’t have not so good finishes, it’s more a tendency to DNF and make excuses year over year when she’s not winning it. I don’t think Secretariat had a similar DNF strategy.

  26. Ryan

    I hope to some day have haters… It will mean I have arrived! Keep doing you, Camille. GL to you and all the other WS Ladies!

  27. Quigley

    Wow. What an amazingly talented group of runners. Thanks for the great preview! I don’t know who is going to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a tight race between Lucy Batholomew, Kaci Lickeig, and Courtney Dauwalter. I think Camille Herron is going to get the Western States course record some time (although maybe not this year), and it is awesome that she is feeling healthy enough to race. Good vibes and best wishes to everyone racing!

  28. Bethany

    I would love to see Courtney repeat, and I think she will be tough to beat. However, I’d also love to see someone new get that win. There is so much depth in this list, I can’t even begin to imagine who will have that magical day. As for Camille, she’s a wild card. She has the talent, it I question whether trying to run a 100 with a recent DNF at Comrades is a smart move. I can’t imagine the hamstring has fully resolved, but it’s not our call to say what she should do. If I had the chance to stand on that starting line, it would be so tempting to try. I’ve done plenty of races I probably shouldn’t have started (some went well, some didn’t). I wish her all the best, and I can’t wait to watch these women push each other. I’m rooting for Amanda Basham. She flew by me at mile 80 at States in 2016 and went on to get 4th. She’s fit, uninjured, and knows what it takes. I expect a podium finish if not better for her.

    1. AJW

      Completely agree on Amanda Basham. If the planets line up and she’s within 15 minutes of the lead at the River I could see her contending for the win. Her training and racing this spring have been on point and she has just the right blend of experience and drive to get this done. I wouldn’t want her breathing down my neck on Cal Street.

      As for the newcomers, I really like Brittany Peterson’s chances. With solid straight up speed, excellent climbing and descending skills, and a wonderfully positive attitude I think she’s got what it takes to contend as long as she can manage the heat. Gonna be a fascinating women’s race this year.

  29. Eric

    I don’t know her personally, but we train on the same Issaquah trails and I know that all of us here are extremely proud of what Kaytlyn has accomplished. I hope she crushes!

  30. Meghan Hicks

    Hello everyone,

    I’m back. I left a similar, general comment to this article on Tuesday afternoon, after several people posted comments which were at what I would call the edge of iRunFar comment policy. Namely, it was a couple people posting anonymously with a deconstructive critical style. My comment included a link to our comment policy and a call for all further comments to adhere to it.

    Some comments since then have been in alignment with our comment policy and some haven’t, and if I can be honest I am saddened by the latter. For a long time, iRunFar has been a place where the community has had many kinds of discussions, from hilarious, lighthearted ones to more serious, critical ones. The tone of our discussions over the years has almost exclusively been constructive and thus progressive, and this is something I am really proud about. It’s time for the discussion here to return to this.

    I and we don’t expect or want the discussion going forward here to be criticism-free. Critical commentary is an important human convention. But we absolutely expect comments to follow iRunFar comment policy. If you haven’t read it before, or are commenting to this article, please read it now: https://www.irunfar.com/irunfar-comment-policy

    Here are the key elements of our policy that pertain this conversation and hard conversations in general:
    • Own your comment. Identify yourself. If you feel the need to comment anonymously and not ‘own’ your words, this probably means your words aren’t appropriate for iRunFar’s comments.
    • When commenting, pretend the people to or about whom you are speaking are right there with you, in person. Very few of us here are actually strangers; at most we are separated by a degree or two. Speak to each other here like we are trail running friends and family members.
    • Criticism and negative commentary must be constructive. This means that your commentary must be presented in a civil and logical way.
    • Don’t comment if you’re angry or fired up. Wait until the emotions settle and then write.

    Thank you in advance for evolving the tone of our conversation here back to the kind of conversations iRunFar is known for and the kind of community we as trail runners and ultrarunners are.

    With gratitude,
    Meghan

  31. Reggie

    Living in the Auburn area, it has been a real treat to have Lucy basically living in the area for the last month. Shes been training on the course, but also going to a lot of running events in Auburn, emersing herself in the ultra running community. It’s become really hard not to root for her, especially considering that she seems to have learned a ton from her race last year and is certain to apply that knowledge towards this years race.
    Until someone tops Courtney on the trails, I think it’s hard to bet against her, but I’d say Lucy, Kaci, and maybe Yioh will push her from behind at the very least. Can’t wait for Statesmas!

  32. Stephanie Jamrog

    I just love Courtney’s steady-eddie style and how her love for the pain cave just shines right through her eyes :)

  33. Andrew

    While I don’t think it’s fair to disparage Camille for trying (at WSER), it’s a bit laughable to think she has the remotest chance of winning. She just DNFd a relatively flat 55 mile race, allegedly hurt her hamstring in the process, and people genuinely believe she can recover from that in three weeks and win on a course she doesn’t specialize in and has never completed? How exactly did she train form Comrades and WSER at the same time? She is a phenomenal road and track runner, but she is not built for hilly 100 mile races. Yes, you have to “run the race”, but to think she can beat Courtney or any number of the top womem at WSER is just silly.

    1. Ely G

      “I don’t think it’s fair to disparage Camille”…
      … goes on to disparage Camille, including language like “laughable”, “remotest chance of winning”, “*allegedly* hurt”, “to think she can beat so and so is just silly” and perhaps most stupid, what she is or isn’t “built” to do.
      Ridiculous.

      I hope iRunFar keeps your comment here to showcase that (a) how easy it is to hide behind a keyboard and write hurtful nonsense, and (b) how this misrepresents the values that this community stands for.

      Re: Camille – she’s won White River 50 in a stout time. She holds world records and has shown incredible mental fortitude to run distances that most folks will never even attempt. She’s won races outright. She’s a strong runner and a badass woman who can, has, and will continue to define what she is “built” for by running on her terms. That might mean DNF’ing, DNS’ing, setting a CR, gutting to a finish – whatever – it’s her decision, not that of a bunch of (mostly male, mostly anonymous) people on a comment thread.

      I hope she runs competitively against what looks like one of the, if not *the*, deepest women’s field to toe the line at this race. And if it becomes not her day, so be it – she’s human like the rest of us. That’s the thing about 100 miles, it’s always so much more than just the milage, the pace, the fitness, and the racers.

      Good luck to all these ladies – can’t wait to see how this one shakes out.

    2. Scotty Kummer

      This comment really rubs me the wrong way. 1) Comrades isn’t relatively flat (and is the most competitive ultra in the world); and 2) Camille is currently the fastest and most successful female ultra runner in the world. 6 world records and a Comrades Champ, including the fastest time at the 100 mile distance. If she were to retire tomorrow she’d be one of the greatest female ultra runners of all time. She should be considered a favorite to win any ultra on any surface.

  34. Andrew

    Yeah, what do I know. I told you so. She’s already well over an hour off the lead and hasn’t even hit the hard part yet! Like I said, she is not built for this kind of race/terrain and never had a chance to win. Her result today is showing. I love how somehow saying this (the truth) makes me mean. I call it like I see it and the data doesn’t lie. Stop trying to defend a professional athlete that you want to live vicariously through.

    Comrades is most certainly pretty flat compared to WS (or almost any other 100 mile trail race for that matter). What does it being “competitive” have to do with anything? You have to not be able to read a course/elevation map to see that. She is (was, that time has come and gone) the fastest female ROAD/TRACK ultra runner. How on earth can you possibly compare that to WS? By your logic Zach Bitter should be the favorite in every race he runs. His performance against elites at WS even further emphasis my point. He barely held off a guy almost no one has heard of two weeks ago at the SD 100. Stop trying to say all ultra runners are the same when they very clearly are not. There is an enormous difference between running on a flat track and in the mountains. It’s why Kilian would beat Kipchoge in any mountain race or any distance and Kipchoge would beat Killian in a 50k road race distance or shorter. That’s not mean to say, it’s just science and it needs to be recognized when you set unrealistic expectations for your heroes.

    Again, I told you so and you clowns jump on me while she puts up this pathetic performance. If she DNF’s and takes a spot from someone who would finish, that’s flat out embarrassing. I know, I know, you’ll all come to defend her and say “it just wasn’t her day” or “at least she had the guts to come out and give it a shot.” Anyone with a brain could see this coming a mile away.

    And whoever mentioned White River 50, get serious. A) it’s 50 miles, which anyone who knows anything about running 100 miles, know it’s not half of a 100 miler; b) she beat no other elite runner; c) it was in 2016; and d) she, this all time elite ultra runner, couldn’t set a CR when the CR holder is someone almost no one has heard of. Quick poll: who has heard of Susannah Beck, who, by the way, was in the 40-49 age group when she set that CR.

    Scotty, seriously? Then why is she so far behind Courtney today? Why can’t she finish WS (heck, didn’t even start the other time)? How can you possibly say she should be a favorite in any ultra? Against Courtney? In the mountains? Are you kidding me? Courtney can stop and take a nap and still easily beat her today. She hit El Dorado in 8:25. Camille will do well to get there around 9:30.

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