2015 WS 100 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

WESTERN STATES 100-MILE ENDURANCE RUN FEATURES STELLAR FIELD FOR 42nd RUNNING

The world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race returns defending men’s champion Krar and women’s champion Howe

The top trail runners in the world, including defending men’s champion Rob Krar and defending women’s champion Stephanie Howe, will embark on the 42nd running of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, June 27-28.

Western States is the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail run. The race features a field of more than 360 entrants from more than 30 countries, and more than 40 states. Runners start from Squaw Valley, Calif., the site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. They climb and descend about 40,000 feet through the alpine beauty of the Granite Chief Wilderness and the deep, equally picturesque, yet infernal canyons of the historic California Gold Country, then cross the Middle Fork of the American River before finishing at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. The 100.2-mile race has a 30-hour time limit.

Krar, 38, of Flagstaff, Ariz., ran one of the more memorable races in race history last year. After breaking open the men’s race with a record-setting split time of 2 hours, 3 minutes on the critical 16-mile Cal Street section from Foresthill, Calif., at mile 62 to the mile 78 mark at the Ruck-A-Chuck river crossing, he finished in 14:53 – only seven minutes off Timothy Olson’s 2012 course record.

Howe, 31, of Bend, Ore., took the lead in the women’s race shortly after the 30-mile mark and ran to a commanding victory. Her 18:01 finishing time was the fourth-fastest in race history.

Both Krar and Howe will be pressed by two of the deepest men’s and women’s fields in race history. Nine of the top 10 finishers in last year’s men’s race return; all 10 of the top 10 finishers in the women’s race from 2014 are entered. The men’s returners are led by runner-up Seth Swanson, 36, of Missoula, Mont., who finished in 15:19, and third-place finisher Dylan Bowman, 29, of Mill Valley, Calif., who ran 15:36.

In addition to Howe, past women’s champions entered include 2013 winner Pam Smith, 40, of Salem, Ore.; Nikki Kimball, 44, of Bozeman, Mont., a three-time women’s champion (2004, 2006, 2007); Anita Ortiz, 50, of Eagle, Colo., who won the race in 2009. 2008 U.S. Women’s Olympic Marathoner Magdalena Boulet, 41, of Oakland, Calif., will be making her WS 100 debut.

Other runners of note include:

Gordy Ainsleigh, 68, of Meadow Vista, Calif. Ainsleigh , who has finished the race more than 20 times, was the first runner to complete the 100 miles between Squaw Valley and Auburn in 1974 when he joined the horses in the 100-mile Tevis Cup;

Meghan Arbogast, 54, of Cool, Calif., eighth last year and generally considered the finest veteran (over 50 years old) runner in the world;

Gunhild Swanson, 70, of Spokane Valley, Wash., who established the race’s over-60 record in 2005 in 25:40. If Swanson finishes this year, she will become the first over-70 female runner to do so.

“Last year was a pretty remarkable day – we had temperatures that weren’t bad (89 degrees was the high), Rob and Stephanie ran remarkably strong races, and we had 296 finishers, including 129 silver buckles (for sub-24-hour finishes),” race director Craig Thornley said. “This year has the potential to be even better. The men’s race will be exciting with Rob and a host of talented runners running to beat him. And our women’s race may very well go into the books as our deepest and most competitive field ever.”

“We had a relatively dry winter in the high country, so conditions are snow-free and potentially fast. Thanks again to the Montrail Ultra Cup, (which has provided an avenue for qualification for many of sport’s elite runners through a national series of qualification races), there are probably close to a dozen to 15 runners with a legitimate shot at winning either our men’s or women’s race.”

WHAT: 42nd running of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run

WHEN: Saturday, June 27, 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.

ARC Granite Chief Fundraising Update

Dear Western States stakeholder,

It has been a few months since our last update regarding the Granite Chief fundraising campaign that Western States embarked upon last fall with the Western States Trail Foundation (“The Tevis Cup”) and the American River Conservancy.

Here is the latest news:

Western States has successfully met its fundraising goal of $50,000. Your contributions, matched by the Western States trustees from our reserves created for purposes just as this most vital one, produces a total Run community support exceeding $100,000. Thanks to all of you for the generosity and interest you’ve shown in this effort. Your support is yet another example of the wonderful community and truly remarkable spirit that envelops all aspects of the WS 100.

According to the American River Conservancy, about $7.5 million of the overall fundraising goal of nearly $11 million needed for the Granite Chief acquisition has been achieved. The project’s deadline (escrow closure with the present owner) has been extended until July 31, which will allow ARC to complete the effort toward its fundraising goal. The ARC is now partnering with the Northern Sierra Partnership, of Palo Alto, Calif., and the Nature Conservancy, to advance the project, which we hope to achieve by the end of July.

On behalf of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run Board of Trustees, thank you again for your generosity in helping move this important initiative forward. We will of course continue to keep you advised of further developments.

Sincerely,

John Trent
President
Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run Board of Trustees

2014 Runner Survey Results

Here are the results of the independent WSER Runner Survey from the June 28-29, 2014 race, conducted by ultralive.net.

All runners have to go through check-in the day before the race in Squaw Valley and we positioned the survey team at the end of the process: right after the “mug” shot and right in front of the entrance to the Western States store. Participation was very good (93% of starters) and we were able to correlate the data to finish times to make the analysis even more interesting.

Survey Questions

The runners were asked the following questions:

  • Number of 100’s started
  • Number of 100’s completed
  • Number of WSER started
  • Number of WSER completed
  • Number of years running ultras
  • Crew and Crew Size
  • Will they use a pacer?
  • Did they attend the Memorial weekend training camp
  • Shoe/Sock brand
  • Lighting system and brand
  • Hydration system

For 2014 edition of the WSER, there were 376 official starters, 296 finishers (78.7%) in under 30 hours with 129 finishing (34.3%) under 24 hours for the coveted Silver Buckle.

The survey had 352 participants (93% of the entrants) including nearly all of the elite runners. Of the survey participants 276 finished (78.4%) and 116 finished in under 24 hours (32.9%).

Finish Hour

For sub 24 hour finishers, 37 out of 116 (31.8%) finished in the 23rd hour of the race to get a silver buckle. In the last two hours of the race, there were 75 (27.2%) 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 (14 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. Basically everyone uses a crew and pacer and the numbers correlate directly with the number of finishes in a given hour.  Of the survey participants, 22 finished without a crew (7.9%) and 27 finished without a pacer (9.7%). And 10 (3.6%) hardcore participants finished without a crew and pacer.

survey_2014_finish_years

survey_2014_finish_crew_pacer

 

Shoes

Hoka was the dominant shoe for all finishers regardless of the group. Of note, Brooks was a strong second when you look at all finishers but not a big contender for the sub 24 group. Pearl Izumi was in the top 3 for both groups of finishers.

survey_2014_shoes

survey_2014_shoes_24

Socks

Injinji was the clear choice for both the overall and sub 24 groups. Drymax was second in both groups as well. Nearly half the finishers wore these two types of socks.

survey_2014_socks

survey_2014_socks_24

Training Style

Either you don’t need a coach to finish WSER or there is a huge untapped market out there for the coaches. You decide. With or without a coach your chances of a sub-24 and finishing are about the same.

survey_2014_training

survey_2014_training_24

Lighting

Petzl is the clear leader with Black Diamond a strong second. Almost everyone uses some kind of headlamp and about a quarter of the finishers use both a handheld and headlamp.

The first 9 finishers of the race didn’t need a headlamp as it wasn’t dark enough yet. M10 was the first “headlamp” finish.

The winner, Rob Krar, didn’t even pack a headlamp. Go big or go home.

survey_2014_lighting

survey_2014_lighting_24

survey_2014_lighting_brand

survey_2014_lighting_brand_24

Hydration

Bottles are the predominant mode of hydration in the race. Nearly three-quarters of finishers (overall and sub 24) use a bottle. It seems that the hydration belt is definitely out of favor these days when you have such a large selection of hand held bottles and/or hydration packs to choose from for carrying liquids.

survey_2014_hydration

survey_2014_hydration_24

Data Accuracy

  • 376 Runners Started the 2014 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
  • Ultralive.net Team surveyed a majority of those runners through the registration process at Squaw
  • 12 responses were removed due to data capture error (6 bib numbers had two rows of data with different responses, attributed to misreading Excel line number line instead of bib number)
  • Final survey reflects N = 352 athletes though individual questions may vary if athlete did not answer or know answer
  • Most graphs reflect data from the group of athletes who completed the race (276 in the survey finished)

 

Credits

Many thanks to the ultralive.net survey team: Kara Teklinski, Monique Winkler and Dana Katz.

Final statistics compiled by Kara Teklinski and Ted Knudsen.

 

 

2015 Lottery Results

The 2015 Lottery was held in front of a live and remote audience on December 6, 2014 in Auburn, CA. The master of ceremonies was five-time champion, 25-time sub-24 hour finisher, past WSER president and current vice president Tim Twietmeyer.

Tim Twietmeyer, Master of Ceremonies, with Devil's Thumb AS Captain Denis ZIlaff

Tim Twietmeyer, Master of Ceremonies, with Devil’s Thumb AS Captain Denis ZIlaff

As described in my presentation before the drawing, the target for total number of entrants this year is 387: 114 automatics, 270 in the lottery drawing, and 3 in the bonus lottery.

114 Automatics

  • 27 Race Admin (aid stations, trail crew, etc)
  • 25 Montrail Ultra Cup (20 top runners, 5 others)
  • 18 Top Ten Runners from 2014
  • 16 Sponsor slots
  • 11 Raffle Winners
  • 6 UTWT elite foreign athletes
  • 5 Foreign Consideration
  • 2 WSER Trustees
  • 2 Runners going for 10th finish
  • 1 Special Consideration
  • 1 Founder (Gordy)

 

WSER Awards Coordinator Gloria Takagishi Draws Names

WSER Awards Coordinator Gloria Takagishi Draws Names

270 Lottery Drawing

With 2566 entrants and their 6601 tickets, our pre-lottery monte carlo simulations matched closely to what we actually drew.

  • 1427 first year with 1 ticket – predicted 67.7, actual 65
  • 641 second year with 2 tickets – predicted 59.2. actual 55
  • 281 third year with 4 tickets – predicted 49.6, actual 49
  • 136 fourth year with 8 tickets – predicted 43.8, actual 46
  • 57 fifth year with 16 tickets – predicted 30.8, actual 37
  • 24 sixth year with 32 tickets – predicted 18.9, actual 18

We drew 49 duplicate names for a total of 319 total draws to get the 270 unique names. Predicted was 313 draws.

As we always do, there were 3 additional names drawn in the Bonus Lottery at the end to give those in attendance a last chance. Those three lucky folks are:

  • Sarah McGinn
  • Jeff Boutte
  • David Rhodes

Congratulations to all who were selected.

2015 Lottery Statistics

Last updated: December 4, 2014 at 8:24 am

There are 2566 applicants entered in the December 6, 2014 lottery for the 42nd running of the Western States Endurance Run on June 27-28, 2015 (a.k.a the 2015 Lottery).

As described on our lottery page, each runner who enters the lottery and fails to gain entry into the Run (and otherwise doesn’t gain an entry via other means such as an aid station, sponsor, or MUC spot) will have additional names in the hat when entering the lottery the following year, thus improving the probability of being selected. Every lottery applicant will receive 2^(n-1) tickets in the hat where n is the number of consecutive years entering the lottery without gaining entry. That is, 1st year applicants = 1 ticket, 2nd year = 2 tickets, 3rd year = 4 tickets, 4th year = 8 tickets, 5th year = 16 tickets, 6th year = 32 tickets. 2010 was the first year we started accumulating tickets so maximum number of years for the 2015 lottery is 6, or 32 tickets.

Here is the final list of 2015 lottery applicants and here is the pdf of the 6601 lottery tickets that will go in the barrel.

We expect to draw 270 unique names, and have calculated the probabilities of being selected as follows:

24 folks with 32 tickets, each has a 78.8% chance of getting drawn
57 folks with 16 tickets, each has a 54.0% chance of getting drawn
136 folks with 8 tickets, each has a 32.2% chance of getting drawn
281 folks with 4 tickets, each has a 17.6% chance of getting drawn
641 folks with 2 tickets, each has a 9.3% chance of getting drawn
1427 folks with 1 ticket, each has a 4.7% chance of getting drawn

The lottery will take place at the Placer HS auditorium, in Auburn, CA. We will begin introductions a little before 8:30 am PST and then begin drawing names shortly thereafter. We expect to be done by 11 a.m. Note that there is no food or drink allowed in the auditorium (water ok).

As names are pulled from the hat, they will be posted at ultralive.net as close to real-time as possible. There will also be a live video feed at ultrasportslive.tv.