2021 Western States 100 Men’s Preview

Drymax - Official Sock WS100After a year’s hiatus, it’s time for the ultrarunning world’s focus to return to the race that started trail 100 milers, the Western States 100. Along the race’s 100.2 miles, 18,000 feet of climbing, and 22,000 feet of descending, there will be plenty of excitement, heartbreak, and every emotion in between starting the morning of Saturday, June 26 at 5 a.m. PDT.

Below, we lay out the members of the men’s field likely to make a run at the top 10 and such a finish’s guaranteed spot in next year’s race. Just as in the women’s field, eight of 2019’s top-10 men return. Still, there are so many questions we can ask. Can anyone touch Jim Walmsley and Jared Hazen and their sub-14:30 Western States credentials? Can returning speedsters Matt Daniels, Stephen Kersh, or Patrick Raegan chase either or both of those guys down? How will the always dependable likes of Mark Hammond, Jeff Browning, and Kyle Pietari fair? Where will folks like Tim Tollefson, Alex Nichols, Hayden Hawks, Max King, and so many more fit into the mix? We can’t wait to find out!

One noteworthy aspect of this year’s race is that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, international runners were offered the chance to defer their entry, and many chose to do so. As a result, there’s a greatly reduced presence of international runners at the front of the men’s field. That’s in contrast to the handful of top contenders from overseas in the women’s field. In addition, the race ran through its entire 50-person waitlist between the time it was drawn in December 2019 and now… and then some. Indeed, as of June 14, only 325 runners out of a limit of 369 remain on the entrants list. As a result, this year looks to have the fewest number of race starters since there were 294 starters in 1985.

Anyway, we’ll be storytelling the race every step of the way starting now and through well after the race. Of course and as part of that, we’ll cover the race in person beginning at 5 a.m. PDT on Saturday, June 26. Stay tuned!

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

Thanks also to BUFF® and Hoka One One 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, and, then, follow our race coverage over the weekend!

Returning Top 10

The men’s top 10 from the 2019 Western States 100 are invited to return as automatic entries, and eight of the 10 men have chosen to do so:

Jim Walmsley – 1st, 14:09:28 (2019 post-race interview; 2021 pre-race interview)

After two flights too close to the sun at Western States in 2016 (20th) and 2017 (DNF), Jim Walmsley has set two-straight course records at Western States, running 14:30 in 2018 and 14:09 in 2019 and lowering Timothy Olson’s previous course record by more than 37 minutes or 4% over that span. That’s a pretty impressive feat at an event that’s been competitive for many decades. He was also in top shape back in January when he missed the 100k world record by mere seconds in running 6:09:26. Given the right conditions and some competition, who knows, maybe Jim can bring the record under 14 hours at States. In my mind, there are two ways that Jim doesn’t win this year’s Western States: 1. Something goes majorly wrong for him or 2. Jared Hazen.

Jared Hazen – 2nd, 14:26:46 (2019 post-race interview; 2021 pre-race interview)

Jared Hazen - Post 2019 Western States 100

Jared Hazen

Undoubtedly overshadowed by Walmsley’s 14:09 in 2019, Jared Hazen ran 14:26 to take second with the second-fastest time in race history. Had he run that time just a year earlier, he would have broken the course record by 20 minutes. I’m just gonna pause there for a minute.      That wasn’t Jared’s first time on the Western States podium, as he took third in 15:37 in 2015 at the age of 20 after placing 14th (17:29) a year earlier as a teenager. Jared’s smoked plenty of other fast courses in recent years such as taking second at the Way Too Cool 50k and Lake Sonoma 50 Mile in 2018 and winning the Lake Sonoma 50 in 2019 in the race’s third-fastest time ever (behind only two runs by Walmsley). That said, it’s worth noting that Jared’s last two races haven’t been up to his standard with a 12th at the Speedgoat 50k last July and a 13th at the JFK 50 Mile last November.

Matt Daniels – 4th, 15:21:36 (2021 pre-race interview)

Matt Daniels - 2019 TNF 50

Matt Daniels

So, Matt Daniels has run one 100 miler and that was a fourth place at the 2019 Western States 100. Pretty impressive! To date, he’s also started three 100ks, twice DNFing the Bandera 100k (2019 and 2021), while he won the Black Canyon 100k in 2019 to run his way into Western States. Matt’s seen plenty of success in ultras around the 50k distance. In a recent episode of Catching Up With, Matt shared how he’s come back from health issues and an injury over the winter to have really strong training the past few months.

Mark Hammond – 5th, 15:36:12

Could Mark Hammond be the best lock to earn himself a men’s top-10 spot and a ticket into Western States 2022? I’d argue he might be, as in his three runnings he’s been third in 2017 and 2018 and, then, fifth in 2019. While I intuitively think of Mark as a strength-based runner as opposed to speed-based runner, he’s got some dang-fast 100 milers to his name, including a 13:05 in February 2019, a 12:53 in December 2019, and a 13:04 in February 2020 in just the past two-and-a-half years. It might be a bit premature, but see ya at Western States 2022, Mark!

Stephen Kersh – 7th, 15:54:15

Compared to the other runners returning from the 2019 men’s top 10, Stephen Kersh is the newest to ultrarunning with his ultra debut in mid-2018 and his first 50 miler only in April 2019. That lack of experience didn’t hurt him in 2019, as he took third at the Red Hot Moab 55k, fourth at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, and, then, seventh at Western States. He’s continued that strong running with a second place at the 2020 JFK 50 Mile in a blistering 5:27 last November and a win at the 2021 Crown King Scramble 50k in March.

Patrick Reagan – 8th, 15:54:31

Patrick Reagan - 2019 Brazos Bend 100 Mile champion

Patrick Reagan

Another 2019 Western States debutant was Patrick Reagan, who crossed the line in eighth. Patrick has found ultrarunning success both on the roads and track as well as on speedier trail courses. On the roads and track, he’s taken third at the 2016 100k World Championships and placed 12th that the 2017 Comrades Marathon. On the trail, he owns the two fastest times at the Javelina Jundred Mile, running 13:01 in 2017 and 13:11 in 2019. His steadiness within a given race or distance across years suggests another sub-16 States could be in order for Mr. Reagan.

Jeff Browning – 9th, 15:55:06

Jeff Browning Pre-2018 Western States

Jeff Browning

No matter who you are, I think you’ve got to be cheering for Jeff Browning to have a good race at Western States this year. He took ninth at the 2019 WS 100 at the age of 47 and will be going for another top-10 finish at the age of 49. Certainly no one else returning from the men’s 2019 top 10 finished Western States in the naughts… let alone in 2002! Over the past five years at Western States, Jeff’s finished third in 2016, fourth in 2017, fifth in 2018, and ninth in 2019. Notably, Jeff’s 15:55 from 2019 is his fastest time by more than half an hour! Come on, Jeff!

Kyle Pietari – 10th, 15:56:13

2017 Western States 100 - Kyle Pietari

Kyle Pietari

You can as surely count on Kyle Pietari to get to the finish as you can count on him to puke once he gets there. Kyle’s another guy who can’t shake his Western States habit… and the men’s top 10 can’t shake him! In the past four runnings of the race, he’s finished eighth, 10th, sixth, and 10th again. That most recent 10th from 2019 also happens to be his fastest run at the race, with him clocking a 15:56. In no other year would that time have placed him worse than eighth (2014) and it would have sent him home with the winner’s cougar trophy at somewhere around 35 Western States 100s! Kyle won his most recent 100 miler, the 2019 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile, in what’s got to be his biggest ultra win to date.

More Top Men

Not withstanding DNFs at Transgrancanaria and UTMB in 2018, Tim Tollefson (pre-race interview) is a guy who I expect to be on the podium at any ultramarathon he runs. He’s smart, he’s consistent, and he’s both speedy and strong. With a ticket into the race from the Ultra-Trail World Tour, Tim will be attempting Western States for the first time. On the long and strong side, he’s taken third at UTMB in both 2016 and 2017, won Lavaredo Ultra Trail in 2019, taken third at Madeira Island Ultra Trail in 2019, and taken third at Lavaredo in 2018. On the speedy side, Tim ran 13:28 to win the Javelina Jundred Mile last October, for the third-fastest time in race history behind Patrick Reagan’s runs in 2017 and 2019.

I’ve long thought that past success at Western States was a good predictor of future success at the race. If that’s indeed the case, that’s good news for Alex Nichols (pre-race interview) who took second at the race in 2017, which was also his only appearance at the race to date. However, since then, he’s twice attempted the 100-mile distance resulting in a pair of DNFs at UTMB in 2018 and 2019. Nichols is in this year’s Western States thanks to a second-place finish at least year’s Bandera 100k. From his Strava log, it looks like he’s had a few really strong months of training of late.

Hayden Hawks- 2017 The North Face 50 Mile third place

Hayden Hawks

It should be fun to watch Hayden Hawks (pre-race interview) make his second attempt at his first 100-mile finish. Anyone who’s followed the sport for the past half decade has seen Hayden repeatedly excel from 50k to 50 miles, including taking second at the 2016 TNF 50 Mile, taking third at the same race in 2017, and last year running a scorching 5:18 to win the JFK 50 Mile, breaking Jim Walmsley’s course record of 5:21 from 2016 in the process. Although he infrequently races over 50 miles, he’s won the 2017 CCC, 2018 Lavaredo Ultra Trail (120k), 2018 Tour en Terra du Jura (110k), and 2020 Black Canyon 100k. On the other hand, he’s DNFed TDS back in 2018, Transgrancanaria in 2019, and UTMB in 2019, so his longest finish to date would be a bit over 12 hours at Lavaredo. In a recent episode of Catching Up With, Hayden shared how he’s learned to respect longer distances and to train differently for them. It’ll be fun watching Hayden put those lessons to the test.

Drew Holmen will make his first attempt the 100-mile distance at this year’s Western States 100. Along the way, it seems like Drew’s methodically built up through the ultra distances. In 2017, he was fifth at the Way Too Cool 50k and fourth at the Broken Arrow 52k, before taking fourth at Way Too Cool in 2019. Later in 2019, he won the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile and, then, took fourth at the TNF 50 Mile in November. Next step up? Winning the Bandera 100k in January 2020. Now, it’s time for Drew to show what he can do at 100 miles.

Max King

Max King

Having placed fourth at the 2014 Western States 100, Max King earned his spot into this year’s race with a second-place finish at this year’s Canyons 100k. Through the winter and spring, Max has spent some time dabbling with adventure racing and ski mountaineering and the like, and it certainly hasn’t seemed to negatively affect his running. I expect Max to be in top form come Western States weekend. Could either he or Jeff Browning make a go at Mike Morton’s masters course record of 15:45:21 from 2013?

So, who is Ryan Miller? Well, to start on the ultra side, he won this year’s Bandera 100k three minutes ahead of Cody Lind to earn his spot in Western States. He only came to the trails in November 2020, when he had a rough go at the Moab Trail Marathon, taking eighth, half an hour off the win. On the roads, he’s run a 1:03 half and a 2:14 marathon, so if he’s solid on the trails, he could run well into the top five. We’ll see soon enough!

Eric Senseman worked his tail off to earn a spot in the 2018 Western States by taking fourth at that year’s Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, but had a disappointing run at the big dance. Since then, his two best results are a third place at the 2019 Black Canyon 100k and a second at the same race this year to run his way back into Western States, which he DNFed in 2019. Hopefully, the third time is the charm for Senseman at States.

Seemingly every year, Charlie Ware runs his way into Western States with him having run the race in 2016, 2018, and 2019. Over that span, he’s finished 36th, eighth, and 36th again. In April, he won the inaugural Zane Grey 100k after taking second at the Black Canyon 60k in February.

One shouldn’t be surprised to see Tyler Green making a play for the back half of the top 10 at this year’s WS 100. Over the past few years he’s placed in the low double digits at some highly competitive events including taking 10th at the 2018 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, 14th at the 2018 Lavaredo Ultra Trail, and 14th at the 2019 Western States 100. More recently, he won the 2019 Cascade Crest 100 Mile (in less than six minutes off Seth Swanson’s course record) and taken second at the 2019 Javelina Jundred Mile in a quick 14:02.

Idaho’s Cody Lind has been racing trail ultras since before he was out of high school and, thanks to that, sports nearly a decade of ultrarunning experience despite being only 26. Until this year, Lind’s best result amongst deeper competition might have been his third at the 2016 Broken Arrow Skyrace 54k. This year, he’s racked up a pair of second-place finishes, including the Bandera 100k, where he earned his WS 100 Golden Ticket, and the American River 50 Mile.

Still More Fast Men to Watch

Jorge Maravilla

Jorge Maravilla

  • Elliot Cardin (Canada) – 3rd 2020 Black Canyon 100k; 2nd 2020 Ultra-Trail Harricana
  • Kyle Curtin – 1st 2018 Tahoe 200 Mile
  • Rod Farvard – 5th 2019 Black Canyon 100k; 4th 2019 Nine Trails 35 Mile
  • Jorge Maravilla – 1st 2019 Castle Peak 100k; 10th 2017 CCC
  • Scott Wolfe – 1st 2021 Silver State 50k
  • Jiaju Zhao – 11th 2019 CCC; 7th 2020 Vibram Hong Kong 100k

Call for Comments

  • Who, if anyone, can unseat two-time defending champion Jim Walmsley?
  • What will the full podium look like at race’s end?
  • Who’ll take it out hot and who’s most likely to make a late-race charge up through the ranks?
  • Who do you think will be the race’s biggest surprise?
  • Also, be sure to 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.

There are 57 comments

    1. !!

      Jim is healthy and fit and will lead early and win unless something miraculously bad happens. Jared, Tim T., Hayden, Matt Daniels will make up some kind of chase pack unless any of them want to go with him.

    2. Matt T

      You guessed it….knee/IT band issues (see his latest post on IG)

      “If you follow my training on Strava, you may have noticed I haven’t been logging my training in my lead up to Western States… here’s the scoop.

      About three months ago, I started to get some pains in my knee with some IT band problems. It was at a point I saw as a crucial time to take it seriously and take some time to address it. I made the call to back way off, with 5 out of 7 days off of running, for the next two to three weeks. I decided to get out of the spotlight on Strava at that time. Training had been going really well up until that point with relaxed and balanced weeks. This set back was a surprise because I’d been steady with my training load for the prior month.

      After a reset with running, it dropped me off about 8 weeks to go before Western States….”

  1. ET

    I’m disappointed that Anthony Costales is not racing WS this year. He has been running impressive times in shorter races for years & recently ran an splendid race at The Canyons 100k to garner his Golden Ticket into States. When healthy he will be a force to be reckoned with at any distance.

  2. ET

    Auburn forecast to be in mid 80s on race day. Similar temps to 2012 when most all records were broken. Jim’s claim of breaking 14hrs at WS is very realistic this year. How low can he go?

    1. Tropical John

      Four different websites long range forecast: high of 86, 90, 94, 96. (all ºF) The short answer is nobody knows with any accuracy how hot it will be this far out. Check back in a week.

          1. Bryon Powell

            But it’s a dry heat! ;-)

            If it’s 99F in Auburn it could be close to 110F in The Canyons. During one of the hot years I ran it, I saw 116F on a thermometer at the bottom of a canyon and I don’t recall Auburn’s high for race day ever topping 106F.

  3. Andrew Pierce

    Jorge Maravilla did run WS100 a few times, finishing as high as 8th in 2012. If he has a great day, I think he could pull off a top 10 again.

  4. David V

    What’s the deal with only 325 entrants? People wait for years and lifetimes to get into this race and they’re just going to leave 44 spots unfilled? That’s insane. They could easily have another lottery or have designated more Golden Ticket races or gone deeper in those races to assign more GTs or raffle off more spots if they just wanted to raise $ for their foundation. Something. Just leaving 44 spots unfilled doesn’t make any sense at all.

    1. Jamie Hobbs

      The 369 spots is a rolling average. So they can take more than 369 in the next year or years to even it out. Given the number of 6, 7, and 8-year lottery losers out there, I’d rather have them stick with the process and give those people a fair shot next year with additional slots, rather than open up a new door for anyone else who hasn’t been patiently waiting. Theoretically, the spots could have been offered to some or all of those repeat lottery losers, but it probably wasn’t clear until too late how many spots they would have to offer.

    2. Bryon Powell

      As Jamie mentions, the extra 44 spots can be used in future years, although I guess you’d lose 44 places in 2026 if you added all 44 next year. (Or those 44 places could be added spread out over the next four years.)

      Still, absolutely maximizing the number of entrants in 2021 wasn’t the race’s top priority in what’s still a challenging year on many fronts. From Western States in early April,

      “We may just start less than 369 and catch up in the next few years. Having a few less runners will help us with several challenges we’re facing this year. We have considered other ways to get up to 369 but at this point we’re disinclined to implement any of them.”

      I would imagine the race erred on the side of caution given they had to make decisions months ago when, obviously, there was less certainty about what the state of the pandemic would look like in late June as well as acknowledging the more cautious approach of some of the jurisdictions the race passes through.

  5. Nelson

    So it’s either Jim or Jared, but mostly Jim. I wonder why US100 can’t seem to bring top level competitors like UTMB does. With all due respect to all the accomplished runners mentioned in this preview, of course, but it isn’t the deepest of fields. It hasn’t been for a long while.

    1. Jamie Hobbs

      I guess I’m curious whether there are missing runners who might have shaken up that top 2 assessment. There are mountain courses like UTMB where I’d bet on someone being able to beat Jim or Jared. But I can’t think who else has demonstrated a significant likelihood of going under 14:30 at WSER.

      1. Andrew

        Tom Evans would be one of the few who has the wheels to challenge them, but is sadly not on the list this year. Just the first name that came to mind.

    2. WS fan

      Please. Let’s not get into the “deep field” thing. WS is the biggest, baddest 100 on the planet. Most of the time, UTMB gets canceled or has to cut things short because of weather. UTMB is overrated. This year, it is probably next to impossible for international runners to get into the US because of COVID. WS is they King of 100s.

      1. speedgoat

        it’s hardly the biggest, baddest 100 on the planet. It’s simply the oldest. UTMB blows WS out of the water in regards to competition, course and full on vibe. UTMB is the “tour de france” of cycling. WS is the “tour of California”. Thanks for the chuckle.

        1. WS fan

          Couldn’t disagree more, Speedgoat. There may be tougher course than WS, but ultimately it’s the gold standard and any ultrarunner has it at the top of their bucket list. It is the Masters, the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl, etc. UTMB? Overrated. It has an allure because it’s European but at the end of the day WS is the race that defines legends. Period. I can understand why you are downplaying WS because you never did too well there. A top 10…OK. But it was never your thing.

          1. John Vanderpot

            WS — “any” ultrarunner? You do realize there are those of us who prefer the under the radar courses where the hype and the noise are way, way turned down, right? On a “wish list” I don’t know that States could even make my top 10?

            Just sayin’…

          2. Brad

            I assume you speak from personal experience and have you run WS100 and UTMB. How about the HR100? Tor de Geants, perhaps? How did you do?

          3. speedgoat

            WS is a great race, I’m not saying it’s not, but if you’ve been to UTMB, it’s a different vibe. The few fans that hang around at Forest Hill can hardly compare to the 1000 fans that constantly cheer at each town, throughout the whole race. It’s pretty incredible from a competitors standpoint. Have you been there? The US has some amazing runners, and this year’s field is no exception. It’s going to be a great race up front, men and women. UTMB is in the Alps, in Chamonix. It blows away “olympic valley” and all of the Sierra has to offer. It’s different. They are both great in different ways, but if WS was the “greatest race” Europeans would want to run here. They don’t for the most part because the course is so runnable, it’s not the same type of track. Most Euros would prefer Hardrock, like myself. I never ran WS in my hayday because Hardrock existed and the course is so much more spectacular. WS was not my strength, so I ran in real mountains in the San Juans instead. My 10th place finish was actually 11th. I got chicked by Pam Smith late in the race. haha…It’ll be great to watch and I’ll be the first one logged in…

            1. EG

              Let’s stop using the phrase “chicked”. Should be an easy habit to break and given you are an influential member of our community, it’ll help make our sport better and set a better example.

            2. speedgoat

              with all due respect EG try to have a sense of humor. I have not met one fine woman who was “offended” by me saying “chicked”. I apologize for any that might be, but c’mon….it’s all in good fun. If you can’t find humor in ultrarunning…..bunch of knuckleheads running through the woods all day is all it is.

            3. WS Fan

              Speedgoat, name one big Euro elite who didn’t come to WS to take their profile to the next level? It is the biggest, most prestigious race in the world.

        2. Buzz Burrell

          +1 Speedgoat. I very much appreciate that WS100 is the original 100 trail race, is well-managed, is on a pleasant trail, and is nationally competitive. And it generates provincial attitudes which is also OK – sort of like saying the Yankees are the best sports team in the world?

  6. David

    Competition from europe isnt as good this year due to travel reatrictions i would guess. US is doing better than most with vaccines so not so bad here.

    I am curious to see how Jim does. He hasnt been on strava but is still out there training as he shows up in people’s instagram pics.

    1. Andy

      He was witnessed live during Cocodona last month, bounding out of the woods above Flagstaff off trail and moving at warp speed. So we assume he’s training ;)

  7. Your hero

    Jim is incredible, but at some point, as he himself has mentioned, his racing style will catch up with him. Has he bounced back from that incredible 100k and subsequent niggles and injured bits? Hard to say, but at some point, he’s bound to break down.

    Tim T, man, that dude trains so intelligently, and he seems to manage well on the big stage. I think he’ll run a smart race at the mid to back of a surely speedy top ten and then turn it on late (if he has it). Feels very likely to be a podium year for Tim!

    So excited to have our super bowl back!

    Thanks, irunfar (or at least a mile a day). We love you and are grateful that you feed us all this content.

        1. Patrick J Reagan

          Thanks Bryon. Tim T has the best hair in ultrarunning (other than Raj ?) and is a good dude through and through. Hard not to pull for Tim to have a great day on the course.

    1. Daniel

      That’s kinda what happens to anyone who gets older. They’re not able to race as well as they did when they were younger. This isn’t really a only Jim thing. Tim will definitely be a strong person to watch though.

  8. Nelson

    I know how much people love Western States for its history, the community, and the trails, but, as an Euro, if I could run one American ultra, I’d do Leadville.

    And if I could run just one ultra in the world, that’d be the Spartathlon.

    To each their own, but I’ll definitely second Speedgoat’s words. UTMB is the Gold Standard of competitive trail ultras.

    I don’t know there are many runners who can beat Jim at States, given most runners of similar class focus on more rugged races, people like Kilian, Xavier, Francois. I’d love to see what Pau Capell could do at States, he might surprise some folks.

    I don’t know, as it is, it’s a time trial for Jim, an FKT. And then a race, somewhere behind him. Not the most exciting prospect.

    Well,at least the women’s race always delivers. I hope Camille does well this time, maybe the Nikes were to blame! :p

  9. Billy

    Excited to see what happens. What a field! Like to see about 12 different guys win. True, if Jared or Jim have a real good day, its hard seeing them get beat. But man there is some talent in the ranks!

  10. Mary Prince

    For what it’s worth thank you Speedgoat for what you said about UTMB
    My daughter Rory won it in 2013 & 2014.
    Meant a lot that you said that race was the ultimate
    And who ever WSFan is dude…. Read up on other races…..

  11. Nelson

    You’re being too humble – your daughter not only won the race, but owns the CR and the second fastest time. Rory is the ultimate!

  12. Hardrock 2021

    Mary Prince, I met your daughter at a sushi bar in Chamonix in 2014, when I had the privilege of running UTMB. I also ran it in 2015. The race, the start, as you know, it’s like no other. Not even Boston Marathon’s crowd, which I had the privilege of running in 2015, comes close. It’s chilling and other-worldly. Speedboat nails it with his assessment. And that’s why Jim wants to win there, too. He knows. I also ran Hardrock in 2016, and that race is amazing, only no crowds or fan fare outside of Telluride and Ouray. Which is a very attractive feature of HR…just mountain running – no cow bells and “Alle! Alle!” And Rory was/is a celebrity there. You’ve gotta be one proud mom. State’s in cool as well, but for “WS fan” to lack kindness and gentleness in his interaction here, with real ultra runners and ultra fans, well, he just doesn’t seem to get any of it, and that’s a shame. Thank you for giving us a great runner in Rory, and thank you, Karl, for all that you’ve given to the sport and for being an absolutely world class competitor. Here’s to you both.

  13. Koichi

    Less male runners from outside of US this year, but I found Zhao Jiaju from China on the list with #371. He doe not have much international racing experience but ranked 11th in CCC®︎ 2019, and 7th in HK100 2020. His 916 in ITRA PI should not be underrated in his first race in US.


    Recently, Zhao Jiaju lost his team mate, Liang Jing, in tragedy in Gansu. Hope he can travel safe to California and show his best run for the one passed away.

  14. Bobby O.

    You guys are doing Hayden Hawks so dirty on this preview. He has dedicated his whole year to this race from my understanding and has not pursued a regular professional career in hopes of doing great things in ultra. I’m not trying to flame the website. But damn. Hayden has sacrificed a lot in my opinion for this race specifically and he is most definitely a top contender.

    Max also deserves a little more credit. But that’s sorta’ besides the point. If I was Hayden I would either be a little ticked off (as much as a stone cold Mormon can be) or maybe use this as motivation to stick it to the community and show how much potential and value he brings to the table.

    I’m not some fanboy either, I’ve just lived in St. George for a little bit and got to meet the dude on a few occasions and he’s the real deal.

    But yea, my picks are Hayden for the overall win, or Max. I believe Max can actually win this race if gets fortunate.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hey Bobby,
      I’d disagree that we did anything dirty to Hayden in this preview. After listing the eight runners returning from the 2019 race, he’s among the first three contenders listed with the two above him, one having previously placed second at Western States and the other having been on the podium at UTMB. Indeed, I believe his write up in the preview is longer than anyone else’s, noting where he’s had incredible success and where he’s not. (That’s not dissimilar treatment from, say, that of Alex Nichols, who we note finished second at Western States in 2017, but has twice DNFed at UTMB since then.) We also chose him as one of the six men we interviewed ahead of the race.

      Including Hayden, this race is stacked with super talented men and women who’ve made plenty of sacrifices and shown tons of dedication in getting ready for this race specifically. May they all crush it this weekend and come out of the race knowing they got all they could out of themselves.

  15. Jamaal R.

    1. Walmsley — still the King, assuming he’s healthy
    2. Tollefson — near-perfect combo of 100-mile strength, speed and experience
    3. Hawks — speed + laser focus on building the strength & resilience needed for WS
    4. Hazen — hasn’t been on his A game of late, but still a force to be reckoned with
    5. King — living legend, ready to make a statement he will not be fading away so easily…

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