Ultra-Trail World Tour Press Conference


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


AUBURN, Calif. – Media are invited to attend a joint press conference, “The State of the Sport,” sponsored by the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run and representatives of the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) on Friday, June, 27 in Squaw Valley, Calif.

The event will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be held at the Squaw Valley Conference Center.

Several of the world’s finest ultra runners, along with representatives from the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, UTWT, and WS 100 presenting sponsor Montrail will be on hand to discuss this year’s Western States 100-Miler, the UTWT and its impact to date on the sport and upcoming events on the UTWT 2014 schedule. The UTWT is a series of 10 races held across the globe with rankings for runners of all abilities who finish the races. At the culmination of the year, the title of “Ultra-Trail World Tour Champion 2014” will be awarded to the top male and female finishers.

Western States is the only North American stop on the UTWT.

WHAT: Press conference, “State of the Sport,” sponsored by WS 100 and UTWT.

WHERE: Squaw Valley Conference Center, Squaw Valley, Calif.

WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Friday, June 27.


2014 WS 100 Press Release


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


AUBURN, Calif. – The 41st running of the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race, the Western States 100-Mile Endurance, promises to be one of the most memorable in the event’s long and venerable history.

More than 360 runners, from throughout the United States as well as 25 countries, will toe the starting line in Squaw Valley, Calif., at 5 a.m. on Saturday, June 28 with a clear goal in mind: the finish line 100 miles distant at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif.

The field includes several of the top names in the sport of ultramarathoning, including last year’s women’s champion, Oregon’s Pam Smith, as well men’s runner-up Rob Krar, 37, of Flagstaff, Ariz. The deep competition at the front will be augmented this year with the presence of several international ultra standouts, competing as part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT), a series of the world’s most prestigious ultra runs. The first-year tour has one North American stop: Western States. The group of international stars running at Western States includes such notables as Miguel Heras of Spain, who was second in 2013’s Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), France’s Thomas Lorblanchet, the 2012 Leadville (Colo.) 100-mile champion, Ryan Sandes of South Africa, Western States’ 2012 runner-up, and 2013 IAU world trail champion Natalie Mauclair of France on the women’s side.

As has been the case for the past several years, the depth of the men’s and women’s fields has been deepened thanks to the race’s ongoing relationship with presenting sponsor Montrail and the Montrail Ultra Cup, a nationwide series of trail ultras which guarantees top finishers a spot at Western States. The Montrail Ultra Cup’s men’s and women’s champions will also be crowned during race weekend.

Race Director Craig Thornley said if the talent at the front is any indication of race success, this year’s edition of Western States has the potential to continue the string of recent memorable runs at Western States, such as the “Unbreakable” duel and course record-breaking performance of Geoff Roes in 2010, Timothy Olson’s course record breaking run of 14:46 in 2012, as well as Olson and Smith’s courageous and scintillatingly fast runs in near-record heat in 2013.

“We have a great group of returning runners, some fresh faces we haven’t seen before and some faces we haven’t seen in a couple of years,” Thornley said. “It should add up to an extremely exciting and competitive race. Western States continues to be the most competitive 100-mile race in the world for both men and women. This year is no exception.”

In addition to Krar, who finished in second in 15:22 in chasing Olson (15:17) to the line in 2013, top contenders include: Ian Sharman, 33, of Walnut Creek, Calif., fourth in 2013; Dylan Bowman, 28, of Emerald Hills, Calif., fifth last year; Nick Clark, 40, of Fort Collins, Colo., sixth last year and gunning for Mike Morton’s master’s record of 15:45; Jez Bragg, 33, of Blandford, Forum, Great Britain, and a past top-five performer at Western States; and Max King, 34, of Bend, Ore., one of the most talented and versatile ultra runners in the world who will be making his 100-mile debut at Western States.

On the women’s side, Smith’s run of 18:37 in last year’s oppressive conditions where temperatures topped out well above 100 degrees, remains one of the most impressive efforts in recent memory. The 39-year-old pathologist from Salem, Ore., will be pressed by three-time Western States champion Nikki Kimball, who finished second in 2013; the ageless Meghan Arbogast, 53, of Cool, Calif., fourth last year and generally considered the finest over-50 runner in the world; Emily Harrison, 27, of Flagstaff, Ariz., seventh last year, as well as two young, talented ultra runners who will be marking their Western States debuts: Stephanie Howe, 30, of Bend, Ore., and runner-up to Harrison at the highly competitive Lake Sonoma 50-miler in April; and Kaci Lickteig, 27, of Omaha, Neb., who has third at Lake Sonoma and second at the Rocky Raccoon 100-miler in Texas earlier this year.

An added wrinkle to this year’s race narrative is the course itself. An iconic and historic section of the trail from Last Chance to near Devil’s Thumb was hit hard by last August’s American Fire. The fire, which raged from Aug. 10-29, consumed more than 27,000 acres, involved more than 1,900 firefighters and had a footprint of nearly 30 square miles. Western States, working in collaboration with the Western States Trail Foundation/Tevis Cup horse ride, mobilized a motivated group of volunteers who throughout the winter and fall accumulated more than 6,000 hours to bring the burned areas of the trail back.

The effort included installation of a new bridge where the Pacific Slab Mine Bridge once stood heading into the Deadwood Canyon section of the course (pieces of the new bridge were hauled nearly one mile into the deep, steep canyon, carried on the backs of a group of 50 volunteers), as well as mitigation efforts on burned areas such as the Pucker Point loop near the historic site of Last Chance.

Thornley said he was pleased to report that the approximate 10-mile stretch of the trail that was affected by the fire will be open, with no re-routing of the runners other than a river crossing by safety cable at the bottom of Deadwood Canyon at the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River.

“What our volunteers and the joint trail team between Western States, the Tevis Cup and our partners from the Forest Service have accomplished over the past few months has been really remarkable,” Thornley said. “The community of ultra runners and trail team workers has really come together to accomplish something very special. The Western States Trail is back and open for use. We couldn’t be prouder of what our people have done to help make this happen. A big ‘thank you’ to all of our volunteers.”

This year’s Western States will feature several special events leading up to the race start on the morning of June 28. Here is a brief recap of the week’s schedule:

Tuesday, June 24 and Wednesday, June 25:

8 a.m.-5 p.m., First Annual Medicine in Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference in Squaw Valley, led by Western States Medical Research Director, Dr. Marty Hoffman;

Thursday, June 26:

10 a.m., Trek to Emigrant Pass for annual flag raising at Watson Monument. Program begins at noon;

6:30 p.m., Veteran’s Panel hosted by Andy Jones-Wilkins, Squaw Valley Conference Center.

Friday, June 27:

9 a.m.-1 p.m., runner check-in and drop bag drop-off, Start Line Arch at Olympic Plaza in Squaw Valley;

10 a.m., Montrail 6K Uphill Challenge to High Camp;

1:30 p.m., pre-race meeting and briefing, Squaw Valley Conference Center;

2:30 p.m., Ultra-Trail World Tour Press Conference featuring several of the sport’s stars, Squaw Valley Conference Center.

Saturday, June 28:

5 a.m., race start  from Start Line Arch, Squaw Valley;

Saturday evening: Men’s winner expected to arrive at Placer High School track, 7:45-8:15 p.m.; women’s winner expected to arrive at Placer High School track, 10-11 p.m.

Sunday, June 29:

5 a.m., last sub-24-hour silver belt buckle finisher has finished;

11 a.m., last official finisher has finished;

12:30 p.m., awards ceremony at Placer High School track.

2014 Runner Update #3

This email was sent to all entrants on June 10. If you are an entrant and did not receive this, please check your spam folder. 

Presented by


Dear Runner,

As you may have seen on our Facebook page or in our Twitter feed, the Western States Trail is now completely open with the exception of the Swinging Bridge just below Devil’s Thumb. What that means for you is you get to ford the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River with the aid of a cable at about mile 46 as runners did on Memorial Day weekend. It is currently above shorts level, but it may drop by race day. It will feel very good on race day.


We can still use some help to assure our research will be successful this year. Here’s what you can do:

1. If you have not already done so, please take a moment to go the link http://goo.gl/KXEH4X to complete a short survey related to the psychology study.

2. Please consider participating in the study on gastrointestinal (GI) distress by contacting Taylor Valentino (taylorvalentino@gmail.com) or Dr. Kristin Stuempfle (kstuempf@gettysburg.edu).

3. Please consider participating in the study on cardiac function by contacting Dr. David Oxborough atd.l.oxborough@ljmu.ac.uk.

4. Please plan to get a blood draw after finishing the race. You will get an email within a few hours providing your results.

5. Please find us in the finish line medical tent if you have had vision issues during the race.

6. Please complete our post-race questionnaire on GI distress and hydration that you will receive by email after the race.

Details of each study are available at http://www.wser.org/2014/05/21/2014-research-activities/

Course Preview

This year there will be live video feed from many cameras on the course. In addition to the live feed, here is the course preview created by our friends at UltrasportsLive.TV

Montrail Ultra Cup

Western States is the final event of the 2014 Montrail Ultra Cup. 21 runners have gained entry into this year’s race by finishing top three (or four) at one of the five qualifying races. If you finished at least one of these races and have not signed up, you still have time.


General Information Form

If you haven’t filled out the general information form, please take a moment and do so right now. It feels good to hear Tropical John Medinger thank your crew and pacers and say whatever you want when you run those final 250 meters around the track at Placer High School.


Race Program

Here is a link to the 2014 WS Race Program. A printed copy will be available for you at Squaw Valley when you arrive.

Enjoy the countdown to the race. I won’t tell you how many days until Dr Lind fires the shotgun because you probably already know.

I will send you one final email the week of the race.

Craig Thornley
Race Director


Steve Marchi 1955-2014

Steve Marchi, a longtime river crossing cable captain at Rucky Chucky, passed away over the weekend.


Steve receives his Friend of the Trail Award in 2009

Steve, who was one of the prime contributors to ensuring the safe passage of all runners via a safety cable held by a line of volunteers across the American River just below a series of treacherous Class 4-6 rapids, was 59 years old.

Marchi’s wife, Jodi, informed race director Craig Thornley of Steve’s passing.

Steve had a long and notable career at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, where he worked from 1977 until his retirement in 2013. He was an active volunteer, giving his time not only at Western States, but also at local food banks.

“Steve set a wonderful example of how important all volunteers are to the success of our race,” said John Trent, president of the Western States Board of Trustees. “He not only braved frigid water through the day and into the early morning hours of the next day on race day for more than a decade, making sure that runners from all over the world could safely cross the Rucky Chucky river crossing, from what I understand he also actively recruited all his friends and neighbors to join him at the river crossing to do the same.

“Steve passed the spirit of our race onto many, many others, and for this our entire race owes a debt of gratitude to him. On behalf of the entire Western States board and our nearly 2,000 volunteers, I wish to express our sincere condolences to Steve’s wife, Jodi, and his sons, John, and Alex, for their loss.”

Friends and family are invited to a visitation on Thursday, June 12 from 6 to 10 p.m. and a funeral service at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 13 at Graham-Hitch Mortuary in Pleasanton.  In lieu of flowers, Steve’s family wishes that donations may be made to the Alameda County Food Bank or Open Heart Kitchen.

To read more about Steve’s life, go to: Obituary from Contra Costa Times


2014 Research Activities

The following was emailed to 2014 entrants on May 15, 2014.

Presented by


Want to know how you can help advance science this year at the WSER?

We have several studies again this year, and we need your help for these to succeed. Please read the information below so you are aware of the studies and opportunities to help advance science. Note that you can immediately participate in Study 1. We would like to recruit participants in advance of registration for Studies 2-5, so please contact the investigators if you are interested in participating in those studies.

Marty Hoffman, MD
WSER Research Director

Study 1. Study on Psychological Predictors of Performance

This study examines the ways that ultramarathon runners use their minds to complete an ultramarathon. The study will take approximately 10-15 minutes of your time and will involve answering a series of questions in our online survey that will ask you about your basic demographic information, running history, training profile, and the ways in which you mentally train, prepare, and execute an ultramarathon race.

You will be asked to provide your name so that we can match your survey responses with your Run outcome. Once we have your Run results, all identifying information will be permanently erased from your survey responses.

As a thank you for your time, you will be entered into a random drawing for one of four $50 gift certificates to the WSER store for completing the online survey.

If you have any questions about your participation, please contact Dolores Christensen at christensen.dolores@gmail.com.

Study 2. Incidence and severity of gastrointestinal distress during a 100-mile ultra-marathon and it association with hydration status, core temperature and endotoxemia

During 100-mile ultramarathons, gastrointestinal (GI) distress is the primary reason for dropping out among non-finishers and it is the second most common problem impacting race performance among finishers. This study investigates the incidence and severity of GI distress in runners participating in the WSER, and explores possible mechanisms that may cause GI distress including hydration status, food intake and core temperature. We are looking for 20-30 participants for this study.

Participation includes the following:

Swallowing an ingestible thermometer (roughly the size of a multivitamin) 1 hour before the race start, to allow measurement of core body temperature at miles 30, 56, 78 and the finish.

Being briefly interviewed at miles 30, 56, 78 and the finish about food, fluid, and electrolyte capsule intake, and the incidence and severity of GI symptoms.

Giving a small sample of blood (about 1 teaspoon) pre-race and post-race for the measurement of blood lipopolysaccharide (LPS) concentration.

We anticipate data collection at miles 30, 56 and 78 taking less than 5 minutes.

To participate: Please contact (prior to the Run), Taylor Valentino (taylorvalentino@gmail.com or 415-408-8342) or Dr. Kristin Stuempfle (kstuempf@gettysburg.edu or 717-337-6448).

Study 3. The impact of training longevity, gender and age on the 12-lead ECG of the veteran ultra-endurance athlete: An aid for pre-participation screening

The 12-lead ECG is a quick diagnostic test that provides us with important information related to the health of your heart and is used routinely for pre-participation heart screening in young athletes.

At this year’s race (24-48 hours prior to the race) we will be undertaking a study to establish the normal 12-lead ECG criteria for the veteran endurance athlete. The ECG will take 5 minutes while you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire as well as having your height, weight and blood pressure taken. If considered appropriate (usually 10% of the screening population), we may invite you for an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) to improve the sensitivity of the screening – this will take an additional 20 minutes.

So if you are over 35 years old and want to know more about the health of your heart please volunteer for this study – the more participants we have the better. We can be found in the registration area on the Thursday and Friday before the race.

To participate: The study is under the direction of Dr. David Oxborough. If you require more detailed information or wish to participate in this study, please contact him prior to the Run at d.l.oxborough@ljmu.ac.uk.

Study 4. The impact of completing the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run on the 12-lead ECG: insights from conventional, right-sided and posterior lead placements

In 2011, we published data from the WSER highlighting a possible negative impact on the right side of the heart following completion of the race. We developed this further in 2013 with conventional 12-lead ECG findings providing some support for the structural and functional changes observed from the right side of the heart. That aside, the 12-lead ECG with conventional lead placements is limited in providing detail of the right side or posterior aspects of the heart and therefore in order to build on previous findings we propose to undertake a study utilizing 3 different resting 12-lead ECG’s. Furthermore we plan to assess the blood electrolyte concentration in order to establish any link to any changes in 12-lead ECG findings.

You will be required to have a 12-lead ECG with conventional lead placement, right-sided lead placement and posterior lead placements, have your blood pressure taken, provide a small venous blood sample and have your height and weight recorded 24-48 hours prior to the race and within 1 hour of completing the race. Each testing point will take approximately 15-20 minutes.

If you are interesting in learning about the health of your heart and the cardiac impact of completing the WSER, please volunteer for this study. We are looking for approximately 20-30 participants.

To participate: Please contact the study director, Dr. David Oxborough (d.l.oxborough@ljmu.ac.uk), prior to the Run to participate or to get further details about the study.

Study 5. Heart rate variability, arrhythmias and QT dispersion during the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run

Very little is known about the heart’s electrical activity during ultra-endurance exercise.

At this year’s race we will be undertaking a study to develop our knowledge in this area. We will require a small sample of athletes to wear a small heart monitor for the duration of the race. The monitor will record real-time ECG data from 3 electrodes positioned on the chest.

To participate: The study is under the direction of Dr. David Oxborough. If you require more detailed information or wish to participate in this study, please contact him prior to the Run at d.l.oxborough@ljmu.ac.uk.

Study 6. Ultra-Eye Study

We continue our efforts to learn more about the underlying cause of transient vision loss that occasionally occurs during ultramarathons. In the event that you have some vision issues during the race, we ask that you come to the finish line medical tent and ask for the research team so that we can perform a quick examination. Contact Dr. Marty Hoffman (research@wser.org) for further information on this study.

Study 7. Gastrointestinal distress in runners participating in the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run

This study investigates the frequency and causes of GI symptoms. The more participants we have, the better. In fact, we would like every WSER runner to participate in the study.

Participation includes simply completing a short, on-line, post-race questionnaire. You will receive an e-mail after the race with a link to the questionnaire. It will ask you to provide information about your GI symptoms during this and prior races.

If you have any questions about this study, please contact Dr. Kristin Stuempfle (kstuempf@gettysburg.edu or 717-337-6448) or Dr. Marty Hoffman (research@wser.org or 916-843-9027).