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2017 WS 100 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: John Trent, media relations, (775) 842-4871, press@wser.org

WESTERN STATES 100 STORYLINES: CAN JIM WALMSLEY SET THE MEN’S RECORD; PAST THREE WOMEN’S CHAMPS HEADLINE A STELLAR WOMEN’S FIELD

Jim Walmsley looks to atone for 2016’s wrong turn; previous three women’s champions Violett, Boulet, Lickteig head women’s field

In 2016 at the Western States Endurance Run, Jim Walmsley of Flagstaff, Ariz., was looking to make history, setting out on a scorching course-record pace. Near mile 92 and still on record pace, however, Walmsley took a wrong turn. He kept going for at least two miles before correcting his error. By then, it was too late to set the record, or to win. Andrew Miller became Western States’ youngest men’s champion. Walmsley, to his credit, walked to the finish line and finished in 18:45.

On Saturday, June 24, Walmsley, 27, makes his return to Western States. He’s again stated he hopes to break the course record of the world’s oldest 100-miler. Walmsley will headline a talented men’s field. The women’s field will feature the three different champions from the three years previous in what promises to be the most competitive women’s race in the Run’s 44-year history – Stephanie Howe Violett (2014), Magdalena Boulet (2015) and Kaci Lickteig (2016).

“For different reasons, both our men’s and women’s races this year promise to be among our most interesting ever,” Race Director Craig Thornley said. “Jim Walmsley captured the imagination of the ultra world last year with a run that was absolutely incredible for more than 90 miles. People have been waiting with a lot of anticipation to see how he does on Saturday.

“With Kaci, Magda and Stephanie racing this year, we’re in the unique position of seeing our past three women’s champions, all who are running great this year, matching up against each other. We have several newcomers and high-placing finishers from last year who are also definitely in the mix as well. One publication has called our women’s field ‘ridiculous.’ I can’t disagree with that assessment.”

A field of 369 entrants from more than 30 countries, and more than 40 states will make the 44th annual, 100.2-mile trek on Saturday morning from Squaw Valley, Calif., the site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, before finishing at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif.

Following an endless winter, this year’s course will feature several miles of snow in the early going, which will require volunteers at two aid stations – Lyon Ridge at mile 10 and Red Star Ridge at mile 16 – to hike in, over snow, with supplies on Friday.

Walmsley has had a stellar spring, including a scintillating 8:20 finish at the Gorge Waterfalls 100K in April. Top returners from 2016 include third-place finisher Jeff Browning, of Bend, Ore., as well as three-time Leadville 100 champion Ian Sharman, who finished sixth. Ryan Sandes of South Africa, a former Western States runner-up and Thomas Lorblanchet of France, fifth the past two years, head a strong international contingent.

Lickteig, 30, of Omaha, Neb., put forth one of the great performances in Western States a year ago. Her time of 17:57 was second-fastest in race history when temperatures had reached more than 90 degrees. She has shown great consistency at Western States, having finished second in 2015 and sixth in 2014. Boulet, 43, of Oakland, Calif., made her Western States debut in 2015, winning in 19:05. The former 2008 U.S. Olympic marathoner has had a strong spring of training and racing, highlighted by her tie for second place with Lickteig at the Lake Sonoma 50-miler in April. Howe Violett, 33, of Bend, Ore., is continuing a strong comeback from foot surgery a little more than a year ago. The 2014 Western States women’s champion beat all men and women at the Bandera 100K in Texas in January. These WS champions will be pressed by several notable women, including 2016 WS runner-up Amy Sproston, of Bend, Ore.; first-time entrants Camille Herron (who won the prestigious Comrades Marathon in South Africa earlier this month) and Clare Gallagher, the 2016 Leadville champion; and ageless Meghan (Arbogast) Laws, 56, of Cool, Calif., a perennial top-10 finisher.

Two top senior competitors are expected to make a run at history. Gunhild Swanson, 72, is vying to become the oldest women’s finisher yet again, having already done this once already with her 2015 finish at age 70. Wally Hesseltine, 73, who missed officially finishing in 2016 by about one minute, will attempt to become the oldest finisher in race history.

WHAT: 44th running of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run

WHEN: Saturday, June 24, 5 a.m. start at Squaw Valley, Calif., finish at Placer High School, Auburn, Calif. More than 360 trail runners from more than 30 countries and more than 40 states to compete. 

DRUG TESTING FOR 2017 RACE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: John Trent, media relations, (775) 842-4871 or press@wser.org.

WESTERN STATES ENDURANCE RUN ANNOUNCES DRUG TESTING FOR 2017 RACE

WSER releases “Drug Testing Policy and Protocols” for the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail run, June 24-25

The Western States Endurance Run has released a “Drug Testing Policy and Protocols” document to all runners entered in this year’s event, with the purpose of conducting drug testing for the first time in the Run’s 44-year history on June 24-25, WSER President John Medinger announced today.

“Drug testing at this year’s Western States is an important and necessary step in deterring use of performance-enhancing drugs in our sport,” Medinger said on behalf of the Run’s Board of Trustees, who earlier this year voted unanimously to implement drug testing in 2017. “We are hoping that by taking a leadership role regarding this important issue, other races throughout the world will also make a strong commitment and take a strong stance toward fostering a drug-free future for our sport.”

The policy and protocols document states that WSER has a zero-tolerance policy regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). The purpose of drug-testing controls is to:

  • Deter the use of performance-enhancing drugs in competition;
  • Identify any participant who may be using performance-enhancing drugs;
  • Educate all participants about the health risks and unfair advantages created through the use of performance-enhancing drugs;
  • Promote a drug-free sport.

Post-competition drug testing at this year’s Run will be conducted by an independent third party drug testing administrator commissioned by WSER. The independent third party administrator will ensure that all drug collection and testing is done in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules and regulations. Urine samples will be collected under direct observations of the independent administrator and tested for WADA’s listed of banned substances in accordance with WADA’s International Standards for Testing and Investigations (ISTI).

All individuals who are on the final start list for Western States could be subject to drug testing at this year’s Run. The Board of Trustees, in its sole discretion, will determine which runners will be tested. While WSER reserves the right to select any runner for testing, the goal will be to test from the elite men’s and women’s finisher’s field, including top age-group competitors. Examples of possible selections include top 10 men and women finishers; age-group winners; or 10 randomly selected (but pre-determined) finishers from the top 20 men and women.

Drug testing will be conducted immediately following competition in a secure area near the finish line at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. Runners selected will be notified by a WSER official when they finish the race. During the sample-taking process, the selected runners will be under the supervision of the independent drug-testing administrator. Waiver and liability forms as well as a past medical history inventory that will include a listing of any drugs that are used for legitimate medical purposes, will be filled out by the selected runners.

The Drug Testing Policy and Protocols document also includes steps and information regarding an appeals process, definition of legitimate medical use, and policy regarding public release of drug test results. Violations of the anti-doping policies of the Run will be determined by the Board of Trustees and will result in a lifetime ban from the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. The person’s name and finishing time will be removed from all official results of that year’s Run, and any awards presented by the Run’s organizers, including finisher’s belt buckle, shall be returned.

To read the Drug Testing Policy and Protocols document, go to: wser.org/drug-testing-policy-and-protocols

Now in its 44th year, the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run is the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail run. 369 runners from throughout the United States and more than 30 countries will start at 5 a.m. on Saturday, June 24, 2017, at the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley, Calif., and travel 100.2 miles through Granite Chief Wilderness and into the canyons of the historic California Gold Country before finishing in Auburn, Calif.

Altra Named Presenting Sponsor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Craig Thornley, WS 100 race director, rd@wser.org and
Colleen Logan, VP Marketing, 
clogan@iconfitness.com

ALTRA NAMED PRESENTING SPONSOR OF WESTERN STATES 100

The world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race announces multi-year presenting sponsorship agreement with Altra Footwear

AUBURN, Calif. – Altra Footwear has been named the presenting sponsor of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, Western States 100 President John Medinger announced today.

The three-year agreement builds on an already successful partnership that began in October 2015, in which Altra was Western States’ exclusive footwear sponsor.

The new agreement, in addition to awarding Altra presenting sponsorship status, also gives Altra exclusive rights to serve again as Western States’ official footwear sponsor and gives Altra title sponsorship for the Golden Ticket races for entry into Western States. The Altra Golden Ticket races include Bandera 100K, Sean O’Brien 100K, Black Canyon 100K, Gorge Waterfalls 100K, Georgia Death Race 68M, and Lake Sonoma 50M.

“Altra exceeded all of our expectations over the past year,” Medinger said. “We have been really impressed with how responsive Altra has been as our partner. More generally, Altra is just such a fast-growing, progressive, future-minded company. They are as involved as a company can be in ultra running, and they truly understand the ethos of our sport.

“We are very excited to have Altra as Western States’ presenting sponsor.”

Western States race director Craig Thornley added: “We’ve developed a great relationship with Altra over the past year. In 2016 they were instrumental in helping us deliver one of the most memorable races we’ve ever had. Their engagement at each training run was unprecedented in my experience as race director. Altra’s representatives provided free shoe demos, and gave out free shoes. What was even more impressive was the human touch – when you have Altra’s people ─ well-respected reps such as Zach Bitter and Ben Bartley and Altra co-founder Brian Beckstead there in person ─ interacting with our runners, sharing stories, training tips and providing their perspective and encouragement, it makes for a truly memorable experience for our runners. I can’t compliment Altra enough for how involved they became last year.

“We’re thrilled to have this presenting sponsorship agreement with Altra in place.”

Altra was well represented in the 2016 Western States Endurance Run, with five of the Top 10 men: Jeff Browning (M3), Thomas Lorblanchet (M4), Ian Sharman (M6), Kyle Pietari (M8) and Jesse Haynes (M10) and two of the top 10 women: Meghan Arbogast (F6) and Maggie Guterl (F8).

“Altra is proud to renew and expand our partnership with the first and one of the greatest 100-mile ultra marathons in the world,” said Brian Beckstead, Altra’s co-founder and Global VP of sales. “Being part of the legendary Western States race in such a meaningful, long-term way is a dream come true for me as an ultrarunner. Altra is committed to running footwear innovation for the road, trail, track, treadmill and gym.  As athletes, we fully understand the importance of footwear and have a high expectations in our continued quest for footwear perfection.”

ABOUT ALTRA: Altra Footwear is now the third largest trail shoe brand sold in run specialty with three of the top seven trail-running shoes, according to data from NPD: Altra Lone Peak, Superior and Olympus.

Altra’s running shoe innovations are born from long hard runs in the Wasatch range, just minutes from Altra’s Utah headquarters. Founder Golden Harper, a former All-American runner who loves to run to the top of difficult mountain summits, invented a cushioned Zero Drop shoe and a foot-shaped toe box, features that are now found on every Altra shoe. Co-founder and Global VP of Sales Brian Beckstead completes at least one ultramarathon each year, including Eco-Trail Norway in 2016, Ultra Trail Mont Blanc and the Wasatch 100 in 2015 and Ultra Trail Mt Fuji in 2014.

Altra’s recent awards the 2016 “40 Under 40 Award” from Sporting Goods Business for Harper and Beckstead; in July of 2016 the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Neoshell MID won “The Apex Award” from Polartec and the original Lone Peak Neoshell won “Top Gear Picks” from Gear Junkie; the Altra Olympus 2.0 won “Editor’s Choice” from Trail Runner and “Comfiest Runner” from Backpacker; the Altra Performance Half Zip jacket won “Most Innovative” from UltraRunning magazine and many more.

Follow @AltraRunning and #ZeroLimits on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and at AltraRunning.com. Altra® Footwear is a brand of ICON Health & Fitness, the world’s leading health and fitness innovator, based in Logan, Utah.

ABOUT THE WESTERN STATES 100-MILE ENDURANCE RUN: The Western States 100-Mile Endurance run, first held in 1974, is the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail run. Held on the last weekend in June in Squaw Valley, Calif., Western States brings together approximately 360 runners from across the globe and from all 50 states for what is considered the world’s most competitive and prestigious 100-mile trail race.

Altra Elite Athlete Jeff Browning took third place at the 2016 Western States Endurance Run, crossing the finish line with his children, from left, Annie, Abraham, Benjamin. Photo credit: Joe McCladdie

Altra Elite Athlete Jeff Browning took third place at the 2016 Western States Endurance Run, crossing the finish line with his children, from left, Annie, Abraham, Benjamin. Photo credit: Joe McCladdie

WS 100 announces new “Wait List” feature for 2017 event

Although much of the same entry process remains in place, the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run Board of Trustees announced on Monday, July 25 a new “general wait list” to accompany the field of 369 runners chosen during the race’s lottery on Dec. 3, 2016.

The 50-person “wait list” will also be chosen during December’s lottery. If any entrant withdraws from the race for any reason, the spot will be given to the next runner on the general wait list. A refund structure with corresponding deadlines has also been instituted for runners who choose to withdraw prior to the event.

According to Western States Board President John Medinger, the structure of a wait list will help the Run stay at its Forest Service permit limit of 369 runners.

“We realize the odds of being chosen in our general lottery are still pretty low – last year we had a record 3,510 applicants,” Medinger said. “In the past, we’ve ‘overbooked’ our initial entry list, anticipating that some runners will drop out due to injury or other factors. But it’s become increasingly difficult to forecast how many. With our new wait list, we’re ensuring that we will start exactly 369 runners.”

Much of the Run’s qualifying process remains the same. Runners are still required to complete a qualifying race in the allotted time during the qualifying period (the 2017 Run has a Nov. 9, 2015 through Nov. 6, 2016 qualifying period).

Once individuals have submitted their online applications from Nov. 5-12, 2016, entrants will be selected via lottery on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 in Auburn, Calif.

Once the field of 369 runners has been set, 50 more applicants will be selected from the lottery for an ordered general wait list. If any entrant withdraws from the race for any reason, the spot will be given to the next runner on the general wait list.

The only exception to this is if a sponsor or aid station designated runner withdraws from the race; the sponsor or aid station will be allowed to designate another qualified runner who has qualified and applied for the 2017 Run. If no replacement is designated, then the spot will be given to the next runner on the general wait list.

The refund structure for runners who withdraw is as follows:

Entrants who withdraw from the Run by May 1 will receive a 75 percent refund of their entry fee (not including the online fee);

Entrants who withdraw from May 2-June 9 will receive a 50 percent refund;

Entrants who withdraw from June 10-June 20 will receive a 25 percent refund;

Entrants withdrawing after June 20 will not receive a refund.

Runners who are not chosen in the original lottery remain “in the hat” for the next year’s lottery. Runners on the wait list who decline the opportunity to join the field of 369 will maintain ticket counts in the next lottery. If an individual is entered in the race at any point – e.g., is part of the 369-runner field – ticket counts will start over at the next year’s lottery.

The 44th presentation of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run will be held on June 24-25, 2017.

2016 Runner Survey Results

Here are the results of the independent WSER Runner Survey from the June 25-26, 2016 race, conducted by ultralive.net.

All runners have to go through check-in the day before the race in Squaw Valley and the survey team was positioned at the entrance of the check-in. Participation was completely voluntary and 94% of starters took some extra time to answer the questions. And we were able to correlate the data to finish times to make the analysis even more interesting.

Here are the surveys from 2014 and 2015.

Survey Questions

The runners were asked the following questions:

  • Number of 100’s completed
  • Number of years running ultras
  • Will they use a crew?
  • Will they use a pacer?
  • Did they attend the Memorial weekend training camp
  • Shoe brand
  • Sock brand
  • Pack Type
  • Lighting system
  • Did they pay for coaching services?

For 2016 edition of the WSER, there were 353 official starters, 280 finishers (79.3%) in under 30 hours, and 102 finishing (28.9%) under 24 hours for the coveted Silver Buckle.

The survey had 351 participants and all of the sub 24 hour finishers are included in the survey. A total of 277 of the 280 finshers (99%) are in the survey.

Note: All graphs show numbers related to runners who participated in the survey and finished the race. DNS and DNF are not included in the final graphs.

Finish Hour

For sub 24 hour finishers, 30 out of 102 (29.4%) finished in the 23rd hour of the race to get a silver buckle. In the last two hours of the race, there were 113 (40%) finishers. The busiest times on the track are between 4-5 AM and 9-11 AM on Sunday morning. The graphs show the distribution of finishers by hour (15 hours to 29 hours). The first graph shows the average number of years running ultras compared to finishing time. The data implies that the number of years of experience does not correlate to a faster or slower finish time. The second graph shows the number of runners utilizing a crew or pacer compared to finishing time. Of the survey participants, 25 finished without a crew and 36 finished without a pacer. And 17 hardcore participants finished without a crew and pacer (NCNP). And finally, 4 of the 17 NCNP earned a Silver Buckle.

survey_2016_finish_hour (2)
survey_2016_crew_pacer (2)

Shoes

For the third year in a row Hoka was the dominant shoe for all finishers regardless of the group. Altra is now a strong second shoe of choice regardless of the finish time. Brooks fell to third most popular shoe with the overall finishers. Some runners did plan to change shoes during the race and may have changed to a different brand, but the data reflects only the brand that they started the race wearing.

survey_2016_shoes

survey_2016_shoes_sub24

Socks

Injinji was the clear choice again for all finishers. Drymax’s popularity increased since last year though it still remained a close second in both groups.

survey_2016_sock

survey_2016_sock_sub24

Paid Coaching Services

There was a slight increase in the number of athletes using coaching services but it is still a relatively low percentage of the finishers. Maybe because a lot of the coaches actually ran the race this year. Or ultrarunners are an independent bunch and don’t like a training schedule. The percentage was nearly identical to last year (2015 – 17.2%)

Although most of the data presented here reflects only finishers, it is interesting to include that of all starters, 40% used a coaching service.

survey_2016_paid_coaching

survey_2016_paid_coaching_sub24

Memorial Weekend Training Camp

The training camp held on Memorial Weekend was well attended by both types of finishers and both groups had nearly identical percentages. While previewing the course definitely helps it is not required to finish the race.

survey_2016_training_camp

survey_2016_training_camp_sub24

Lighting

For the second year in a row, Petzl was the favorite light brand for runners finishing the race.

This year only first place finisher Andrew Miller (sub 16 hours) ran without the assistance of a light as compared to 5 in 2015.

survey_2016_lighting

survey_2016_lighting_sub24

Packs

Ultimate Direction dominated again as the choice of pack for both sub 24 hour and overall finishers. For the faster runners (sub 24), the Salomon pack was second favorite and Nathan was third. This order flip-flopped for the overall finishers.

Handhelds: many runners did not carry a pack. 32% of the sub 24 hour finishers preferred this method. Only 19% of the overall finishers used handheld bottles.

survey_2016_pack

survey_2016_pack_sub24

Data Accuracy

  • 353 runners started the 2016 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
  • Ultralive.net team surveyed a majority of those runners through the registration process at Squaw
  • Final survey reflects N = 351 athletes though individual questions may vary if athlete did not answer or know answer
  • All graphs reflect data from the group of athletes who completed the race (277 of the 280 finishers completed the survey)

 

Credits

The team would like to thank all of the runners who took time to talk with us and answer these questions.

Many thanks to the ultralive.net survey team: Kara Teklinski, Emily Yu and Jessi Goldstein.

Analysis by Kara Teklinski and Ted Knudsen.