While it always means staying up late on one of the busiest weeks of my year, as always here are YOUR Western States 100 group-think predictions in one of my favorite iRunFar articles in a given year. Yes, it’s geeky, but it’s also informative as heck. For the 13th-straight Western States, I’ve tabulated and analyzed the votes cast in our Western States prediction contest. In the past, these group-think predictions have generally been (much) better at forecasting the race’s outcome than individual pickers. So, if you’re looking for a solid relative ranking of this year’s Western States 100 competitors, look no further.
How the Group Think Predictions Work
Back to the predictions. Below, we attempt to apply a hive-mentality approach to see how the men’s and women’s fields play out when the collective thoughts of 790 participants are accumulated. In addition to showing how many picks the top runners received for each place, we ranked the runners by MVP-style voting (i.e., eight points for first, seven points for second, and so on). Both the men’s and women’s tables show all Western States runners who accumulated more than 25 points. Read on to see how the masses predicted the outcome for the Big Dance this weekend as well as some iRunFar analysis of those predictions and commentary on the race.
The Just Rewards
Thanks again to all who participated in the contest! After this weekend, four winners will be crowned and receive prize packs courtesy of HOKA, Buff, Squirrel’s Nut Butter, and Drymax, with the grand-prize winner also getting a sweet print from Maggie Tides. Remember to follow us on Twitter to receive updates on the leaders throughout the day (and night) to see how your picks are performing.
2022 Western States 100 Women’s Field
Interesting Women’s Field Notes
- The first thing that catches my eye is just how international the women’s top contenders are this year. Basically, it’s one out of every two women are international as you go further down the list. Among those women are three from Canada, two from France, and one each from New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Australia, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, and Italy.
- Next up, the top returning women’s runner, Ruth Croft, has the most votes for first and second place, as well as the most overall votes and the most points. I guess that officially makes Ruth the favorite.
- Brittany Peterson was fourth last year while Katie Asmuth was fifth, making them the second and third top women’s returnees this year. Peterson had the most votes to finish third, while Asmuth had the most votes to finish fourth or fifth. The crowd suggests Peterson will finish second, based on both number of votes and point total, while Asmuth received the third most total votes and the fourth highest number of points.
- Hope springs eternal for Camille Herron, who has one finish in three starts at Western States, but also has plenty of world records to her name. Leaning on the latter, Herron has the third most votes to finish both first and second and the third highest point total, behind Croft and, then, Peterson on each.
- Emily Hawgood and Kaci Lickteig were both in last year’s top 10 and, respectively, had the most votes to finish sixth and eighth.
- I believe the only woman to being ranked lower than her most recent finish based on point total was Switzerland’s Luzia Buehler who as 11th in 2019 but ranked 17th here. Notably, she was also fifth at last year’s UTMB.
- The only top vote getter to finish in any single position who’s making her Western States debut, is Leah Yingling, who had the most votes to finish seventh as well as being ranked seventh on total points.
- The top ranked debutant is France’s Camille Bruyas, who had the fifth most points on only the eighth most votes. She was second at last year’s UTMB.
- While not a top vote getters for any single place, Keely Henninger and Lucy Bartholomew were ranked eighth and ninth based on points.
- The Queen, Meghan Canfield, is the second oldest woman in the yield, while amassing the 23rd most points and votes in the general tally. What’s more impressive is that she had the second most votes to win the masters (40-plus years old) category, earning more first place votes there than six women favored above her in the general tally. Camille Herron, 20 some years Canfield’s junior, was easily the favorite to win the masters category with 410 votes to Canfield’s 70. Anne-Marie Madden (54 votes), Ailsa Macdonald (51 votes), and Luzia Buehler (34 votes) rounded out the top five in women’s masters voting.
- Whereas last year, I noted that rankings felt fairly dispersed, the top nine ranked runners are fairly well broken away from the rest of the field and even within those nine, there’s pretty strong consistency between top point getters, vote tallies within individual placings, and total numbers of votes. That translates into fairly strong preferences. What’s fun about that is that there are almost certain to be some pretty big surprises in comparison to the group think … and who doesn’t love a good underdog story!
2022 Western States 100 Men’s Field
Interesting Men’s Field Notes
- OH, now isn’t this fun?! Jared Hazen has the most first place votes, but with 79 more overall votes as well as the most votes to finish second and third, Tim Tollefson was the top point getter.
- Tyler Green is the top returning runner from last year, when he finished second. This year, he leads in votes to finish fourth or fifth, while ranking third in points and total votes.
- Finishing eighth last year, Hayden Hawks is ranking fourth going into this year’s race. He wasn’t the top vote getter to finish in any single position. Nor was Adam Peterman, who’ll be making his 100-mile debut after being ranked fifth overall.
- After finishing third last year, Drew Holmen received the most votes to finish sixth or seventh, while being ranked sixth based on points. It’s interesting to note that last year’s top-10 returning women were generally ranked higher going into this year’s race, both the second- and third-place men from last year were lower ranked, and that’s with last year’s men’s winner Jim Walmsley not returning.
- Continuing the above trend, newcomer Arlen Glick racked up more points in seventh than last year’s fourth-place finisher Cody Lind, who ranks eighth going into this year.
- The top ranked man to finish eighth and the ninth ranking man based on points is Alex Nichols, who did finish 10th at last year’s race … but also finished second at Western States in 2017.
- Unlike the women’s field … and some past men’s fields, the men’s top rankings are decidedly U.S. focused. Past UTMB champion Ludovic Pommeret of France is the top ranked international male in 10th. Just behind him are France’s Seb Spehler and the United Kingdom’s Tom Owens, ranked 11th and 12th, respectively, based on points. Indeed, that international cluster from ninth through 11th contained the only international runners in the top 20. I believe Canada’s Reid Coolsaet in 23rd was the only other international male ranked in the top 25.
- On the other hand, Ludovic Pommeret was easily the top vote getter for the men’s masters win with 261 votes. Trueheart Brown (not running) was second with 97 votes and Scott Traer was third with 94 votes. Rounding out the top five are Tom Owens with 77 votes and Trevor Fuchs with 34 votes for the men’s masters win.
- Interestingly, across genders, the youngins’ get the votes. The three youngest runners in the race are all 26 years old, with Adam Peterman, Lucy Bartholomew, and Rod Farvard all being ranked above. Same for three of the five 27-year-olds in Jared Hazen, Emily Hawgood, and Cody Lind. And the only 28-year-old in the race is Zoë Rom in the women’s rankings. To round out the under 30s, two of the five 29-years-olds — Arlen Glick and Tyler Fox — are ranked.
- Again, across genders, there are very few last minute withdrawals, at least in comparison to some other years, with Trueheart Brown being the only ranked runner to leave the field between setting up this contest and writing this article.
[Author’s Note: As noted at the outset, this is one of those late-night passion projects. Please forgive any typos or muddled thoughts. Tabulating and turning this around on the night I close the prediction contest is a worthwhile challenge. I hope to reread the article and add more thoughts tomorrow.]
Call for Comments
- So what do you think about the group-think predictions?
- What interesting observations have you made about the data?
- How would you change your picks based on what you know now?
- Want to make any of your predictions public? If so, leave a comment!