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DIANA FITZPATRICK ELECTED PRESIDENT OF WESTERN STATES

Diana Fitzpatrick was elected president of the Western States Endurance Run Foundation’s Board of Trustees in the organization’s annual vote for board officers.

Fitzpatrick becomes the first woman to serve as president of the Western States Endurance Run Foundation. She is the ninth president in the history of the Run.

Since joining the board in October 2012, Fitzpatrick has helped lead several ground-breaking initiatives for Western States. She played an instrumental role in guiding the implementation of Western States’ drug testing program in 2017, helped craft the policy that has afforded female participants a pregnancy deferral for up to three years and developed the framework for the Run’s transgender athlete policy. All three policy initiatives have been lauded throughout the sport. In 2018, Fitzpatrick, then 60 years old, made race history when she became the oldest female in Western States history to break 24 hours and earn a coveted silver belt buckle. Fitzpatrick’s time was 23:52.

Diana Fitzpatrick

An attorney who lives with her husband, Tim, in Larkspur, California, Fitzpatrick has long been actively involved in the running/ultra community. She and Tim coach the cross country teams at Marin Catholic High School. Fitzpatrick has also served as a volunteer running coach for inmates at San Quentin Prison.

“Diana’s track record speaks for itself,” said John Medinger, who had served as Western States president since 2016 and now that his presidency is over, still retains a spot on the board. “She would be the first person to try to deflect this sort of praise, but she is without question an influential and extremely important voice in our sport. She knows how to sweat the policy details and she also knows how to connect with people about the 47-year-old story that is Western States. She is going to lead Western States into innovative and exciting directions. The race is in very good hands.”

Fitzpatrick said she was “humbled” to be chosen president.

“I am honored, humbled and excited to take on this new role,” she said. “The goal will always be to continue forward as a team and let our passion for this event take us to new heights.”

Added Race Director Craig Thornley: “Diana hasn’t shied away from the challenging issues in our sport. She’s encouraged the race to be proactive and progressive in all aspects of our mission. She brings a wealth of experience and insight to the job as a key board member, creator of some of the most impactful policy we’ve ever implemented, high-level runner, coach, and race director (for several years Fitzpatrick and her husband were RD’s for the successful Headlands 50K).”

Fitzpatrick’s election as president adds another chapter to the prominent role that women have played throughout Western States’ 47-year history. Mo Livermore, who has served on the Western States Board since it was first formed in 1977, is one of the pioneering female figures in the sport of ultra running. Livermore along with friend Shannon Weil were co-race directors at a time when there were few female race directors in any running events in the world. The two served as co-RD’s from 1978-81 as Western States surged in popularity. Livermore then served as race director in 1982 and 1983. Before Livermore and Weil, it was Drucilla Barner, secretary of the Western States Trail Foundation and associate of Tevis Cup founder Wendell Robie, who encouraged Gordy Ainsleigh to make his run from Squaw Valley to Auburn with the horses of the Tevis Cup in 1974.

Livermore said: “It’s always a pleasure to work with Diana, whose appreciation and understanding of the foundational values of Western States blend authentically with her respect for each athlete and the particular issues each may confront. Her comprehensive analyses yield a standard of excellence which inspires, and her kind, thoughtful approach helps lead the Board towards decisions which reflect both the imperatives of the present and the challenges of the future.”

The other officers elected during Sunday’s vote in Auburn, California, were: Vice Presidents – Topher Gaylord, Tim Twietmeyer; Secretary – Allyson Thomas; Treasurer – Karl Hoagland. Hoagland will take over from Dr. Gary Towle, who after 38 years as the organization’s treasurer, will still remain a member of the board.

The board also announced that Dr. Andy Pasternak, a physician and ultra runner from Reno, Nevada, will now assume duties as WSER’s medical director. Pasternak has been the long-time medical director at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100-miler, and has served on the boards of Nevada State Medical Society and Washoe County Medical Society. He has also been the doctor, along with his wife, Dr. JoAnn Ellero, for the Peachstone, or “Cal 2” aid station at mile 70.7 of Western States. Pasternak succeeds Dr. Robert Weiss, one of the country’s leading kidney disease researchers/practitioners from UC-Davis.

Presidents of the Western States Endurance Run:

1978-1986, Curt Sproul
1987-1991, Doug Latimer
1992-1996, Tony Rossmann
1997-2000, Charles Savage
2001-2005, John Medinger
2006-2010, Tim Twietmeyer
2011-2015, John Trent
2016-2019, John Medinger
2020, Diana Fitzpatrick

HOKA ONE ONE NAMED PRESENTING SPONSOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WESTERN STATES CONTACT: Craig Thornley, WS 100 race director, rd@wser.org.

HOKA ONE ONE CONTACT: Gordon Wright, Outside PR, gordon@outsidepr.com

HOKA ONE ONE NAMED PRESENTING SPONSOR OF WESTERN STATES 100

The world’s oldest 100-mile trail race announces presenting sponsorship agreement with HOKA ONE ONE®, including “Golden Ticket” races

AUBURN, Calif. – HOKA ONE ONE® has been named the presenting sponsor of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, WSER President John Medinger announced.

“As one of the leading premium running brands in the world, HOKA has a recognized place in our sport as an innovative voice for competitors of all abilities,” Medinger said. “In the past few years, HOKA has shown what a tremendous reach it has not only for trail runners, but in telling the human stories that are so integral to the heartbeat of our sport.”

“Every year part of Western States’ job is to provide the canvas that will help tell 369 individual stories. Our partnership with HOKA will unquestionably help us bring those 369 stories into greater focus.”

Added race director Craig Thornley: “We are extremely excited that HOKA has made such a strong commitment to our mission as an organization, which is to serve the ultra community as one of the thoughtful leaders in our sport and culminates each June with putting on the highest-quality, yet intimate 100-mile experience we can possibly present for all of our runners. As we visited with HOKA, it was clear that our historic mission clearly resonated with their values as well. This is an agreement that is going to greatly benefit the experiences of our runners.”

“HOKA was born in the mountains and gained an early foothold in the trail ultrarunning community, so it is only natural that we would help put on the original trail 100-mile race,” said Mike McManus, Director of Global Sports Marketing for HOKA ONE ONE. “The Western States Endurance Run is an iconic event with an incredible community behind it, and one where some of the best-known legends of ultrarunning are born. We are beyond thrilled and proud to be the presenting sponsor.”

Also as part of the agreement, the traditional “Golden Ticket” series of races will be re-branded the “HOKA ONE ONE Golden Ticket Races.” The series, which allows the top two female and male finishers in each race to gain entry to that year’s Western States, for 2020 will consist of January’s Bandera 100K in Bandera, Texas; February’s Black Canyon 100K in Spring Valley, Arizona; March’s 74-mile Georgia Death Race in Dawsonville, Georgia; April’s Lake Sonoma 50-miler in Lake Sonoma, California and The Canyons 100K in Foresthill, California.

ABOUT THE WESTERN STATES 100-MILE ENDURANCE RUN: The Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, first held in 1974, is the world’s oldest 100-mile trail run. Held on the last weekend in June in Olympic Valley, Calif., Western States brings together runners from across the globe and from all 50 states on an iconic trail through the historic California Gold Country for what is considered the country’s most competitive 100-mile trail race.

About HOKA ONE ONE® 

HOKA ONE ONE® produces premium performance footwear for athletes of all types. Born in the mountains, HOKA ONE ONE shoes were initially distinguished by their oversized midsoles; today they are designed with the same enhanced cushioning, inherent stability and problem-solving inspiration to meet the running, walking, fitness and outdoor needs of a wide variety of users. With a bold and often unexpected approach, HOKA ONE ONE empowers athletes of all levels to feel like they can fly. For more information, visit hokaoneone.com or follow @hokaoneone #timetofly.

2019 Runner Survey Results

Here are the results of the independent Western States Endurance Run (WSER) Runner Survey from the June 29-30, 2019 race, conducted by ultralive.net.

WSER runner registration takes place in Squaw Valley Friday before race day and 2019 allowed for another year of the ultralive survey team to be in position. Runners are happy to participate while they wait in line for check-in providing us a 94% participation rate of the 369 starters.

Here are the surveys from 2014201520162017, and 2018.

Survey Questions

The runners were asked the following questions. Data was recorded by bib number allowing us to correlate the responses to finish times to make the analysis even more interesting. All data however is compiled and reported anonymously:

  • 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
  • Hydration System
  • Pack type/brand
  • Lighting brand
  • Watch brand
  • Did they pay for coaching services?
  • A few questions about lodging for the race to share with host sites

This year’s race saw a new course record and the top 10 men all finishing under 16 hours. Of the 369 starters we saw 319 finishers (86.4%) under 30 hours of which 130 (35.2%) finished under the coveted 24 hour mark for a Silver Buckle.

A total of 296 of the 319 finshers (92.7%) 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 completing the survey, 45 out of 130 (37%) finished in the 23rd hour of the race to get a silver buckle. In the last two hours of the race, there were 90 (30%) finishers. The busiest times on the track are typically between 4-5 AM and 9-11 AM on Sunday morning and 2019 proved no different. The graphs show the distribution of finishers by hour (14 hours to 29 hours).

The cool temperatures in this year’s race definitely attributed to the high finish rate of 86.4%.

Shoes

This is the sixth year Hoka was the most popular shoe (36.1%) for all finishers with Altra staying in second place with 24%. Salomon (9.5%) again was ahead of Brooks (6.8%) which was the second most popular shoe just four years ago (2015). The rankings remained the same for the top 3 most popular shoes with the sub-24 hour finishers as well. We acknowledge some runners did plan to change shoes during the race and may have changed to a different brand so we asked that they provide the brand they planned to start the race wearing.

Socks

Injinji was just barely the favorite over Drymax for the most popular sock choice for finishers. And it was Drymax over Injinji for the sub-24 hour finishers. The “other” category was quite large this year and runners seem to like a large variety of socks.

Paid Coaching Services

More than 30% of the runners use a paid coaching service overall. Sub-24 hour finishers were slightly less likely to use a coach. And it is interesting to see that nearly half of the runners with a DNF used a coaching service.

Memorial Weekend Training Camp

The training camp held on Memorial Weekend is a great weekend to get on the course for those running, supporting or spectating the race. Only a third of the runners in the survey attended the camp. However, attending camp does not seem to decrease the chance of a DNF as 38% of the runners who did not complete the race were at the training camp.

Lighting

Petzl’s remains the favorite light brand for all runners regardless of finish time (sub or over-24 hour) with Black Diamond second again. All the top 10 men completed the race (under 16 hours) and did not require a headlamp!

Hydration System

This was a new question this year and the most popular method is a combination of pack and bottles. Overall half the finishers surveyed used a pack in their hydration system. For sub 24 hour finishers just hand held bottles was the most popular method.

Packs

Salomon was the top choice for all runners (sub 24 and overall) with Ultimate Direction and Nathan in second and third.

Watches

Another new question this year was about what kind of watch (in most cases a GPS watch) would be used. Just the brand was noted and not the model.
Garmin was the most popular watch followed by Suunto. Interesting that many runners chose to run without a watch at all.

Crew and Pacer

The use of a crew and/or pacer are personal preference during a 100-mile race but may be more popular at WS – what are your thoughts? The following chart shows the correlation of using a pacer or crew to finish hour. Crew use is basically 90% regardless of finish time (or DNF).

Special recognition should go to the 12 runners in the survey with no crew and no pacer. Four (4) of them managed to finish in less than 24 hours to earn a well deserved silver buckle.

Data Accuracy

369 runners started the 2019 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 = 346 (93.7%) athletes though individual questions may vary if athlete did not answer or know answer. And also note that this analysis was done by amateur statisticians and inspired by the Ironman “bike survey” in Kona.

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 David Canfield.

Any feedback or insights are welcome!

2019 WS Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

SNOW YEAR? NOT QUITE … AT THE 2019 WESTERN STATES ENDURANCE RUN

Women’s champion Dauwalter and men’s champion Walmsley to defend titles against talented fields

The talk since the beginning of 2019 has been whether or not the Western States Endurance Run would be dramatically impacted by what seemed to be an endless Sierra winter. Although snow levels reached as much as 188 percent of normal earlier this spring, Race Director Craig Thornley reported earlier this week that the 46th running of the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race would not be using a re-routed or altered “snow course.” In fact, Thornley said, much of the snow from May had receded considerably for this year’s event, which starts on Saturday at 5 a.m. in Squaw Valley, Calif. The 100.2-mile event finishes at Placer High School in Auburn.

“There will be snow on the course, but the impact is going to be minimal compared to the way things looked during our Memorial Day Weekend training runs,” Thornley said. “We’ve had years where the snow was continuous for the first 25 to 30 miles of the course. That definitely won’t be the case this year.”

Based on reports from last weekend’s final trail maintenance work party, runners will encounter snow approximately four miles into the course for two miles, then in intermittent patches through Robinson Flat aid station at mile 30. Other than that, Thornley said the course is in “excellent” shape. Given a weather forecast that looks favorable on Saturday  – the National Weather Service is calling for a high of 78 for the 62-mile mark in Foresthill, California – this year’s race is shaping up to highly competitive.

“Both fields are deep, talented and should be exciting to watch,” Thornley said, noting that both men’s course record holder, 2018 champion Jim Walmsley of Flagstaff, Ariz., as well as 2018 women’s champion, Courtney Dauwalter of Golden, Colo., are back to defend their titles. “Jim and Courtney are running really well,” Thornley said, alluding to the world record for 50 miles on the roads Walmsley set earlier this spring in Sacramento, as well as Dauwalter’s dominant win at the Tarawera 100K in New Zealand in February. “Jim and Courtney are going to be challenged by a number of really talented runners from around the world, though. It should be a great race.”

Other top female entrants include 2018 runner-up, Kaytlyn Gerbin, of Issaquah, Wash., as well as third-place women’s finisher Lucy Bartholomew, of Melbourne, Australia, and fourth-place finisher Amanda Basham of North Logan, Utah. 2018 men’s third-place finisher Mark Hammond of Millcreek, Utah, along with fourth-place finisher Ian Sharman of Bend, Ore. (shooting for his 10th straight Top-10 finish) and fifth-place finisher and 2018 Hardrock 100 champion Jeff Browning of Logan, Utah, lead the men’s contenders.

This year’s Race will be one of the more internationally flavored events in recent memory, with 80 foreign-born entrants from more than 25 countries.

WSER will also feature a runner who is visually impaired, Kyle Robidoux, from Roxbury, Mass., as well as an amputee runner, Dave Mackey, of Boulder, Colo., who finished second overall in 2004 to Scott Jurek. Mackey will be vying to become the first amputee athlete to finish the race since Amy Palmiero Winters in 2010. Scott Mills, 68, of Oceanside, California, will attempt to become just the seventh runner in Western States history to finish the race 20 times or more.

2019 WSER will also feature a rare finish line scene. Due to Placer High School football field artificial turf installation, the iconic finish on the Placer High track will be run in a reverse direction. Runners will enter the LeFebvre Stadium gates and then run their final 250 meters on the track in a clockwise direction, which is a different direction than past years. Race organizers will utilize a large grassy area west of the traditional finish line for all Race activities, operations, and camping.

WHAT: 46th running of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run

WHEN: Saturday, June 29, 5 a.m. start at Squaw Valley, Calif., finish at Placer High School, Auburn, Calif. Western States Endurance Run: https://www.wser.org

WSER/WSTF Volunteer Steward Program Announcement

The Western States Endurance Run Foundation (WSERF, organizer of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run) and Western States Trail Foundation (WSTF, organizer of the Tevis Cup), in partnership with the American River Ranger District and Truckee Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA), wish to announce the creation and implementation of a new model to maintain and improve the trail(s) used by both events.  The new Volunteer Steward Program, modeled after successful approaches used to maintain the Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail, will rely on relatively small well-trained and highly committed groups of volunteers to maintain and improve the Western States and Tevis Trail system.

Although the courses for the Western States Endurance Run and the Tevis Cup vary in certain areas, they share the same trail over the majority of their 100 mile reach.  Both organizations have a long history with respect to use of the trail system, and have individually and in partnership built and maintained much of the trail that exists today.  Therefore it makes sense to draw from the resources of both organizations to create a focused and efficient system for trail maintenance and improvement.

This new system of trail management will be lead by John Catts (WSER finisher and volunteer, and equestrian), with support from Nicole Wertz (Tevis Trail Manager).  To facilitate trail management, the Western States trail system has been segregated into eight Trail Sections.  Each Trail Section has a designated Trail Section Lead, and these Section Leads are currently in the process of assembling their respective Trail Section Teams.  With a defined management structure and designated Section Leads our goal is to work closely with the USFS and ASRA to identify trail maintenance needs, and work with the USFS and ASRA to both maintain the trails and plan and implement special projects.

The Trail Sections and Trail Section Leads are as follows:

  • Robie Equestrian Park to Watson Monument – Jim Mather
  • Watson Monument to Red Star Ridge Aid Station – Craig Thornley
  • Red Star Ridge Aid Station to Robinson Flat – Kynan Matz
  • Robinson Flat to Pacific Slab Mine – Mark Falcone
  • Pacific Slab Mine to Foresthill – Chaz Sheya
  • Foresthill to Rucky Chucky/ Poverty Bar – Tim & Austin Twietmeyer
  • Rucky Chucky to Browns Bar Trail at Quarry Road – Jay Marsh
  • Browns Bar Trail at Quarry Road to Finish Lines – Kassandra DiMaggio & Andy Mayo

  Although a number of our Section Leads have current chain saw and first aid (with CPR) certification, we have set up training classes to keep our Section Leads and their core team members current with their training, and to provide training for those not yet certified. We have encouraged our Section Leads to participate in trail crew leadership workshops.  With a higher level of training and skill our Trail Section Teams should be able to more efficiently respond to trail related issues, and help plan and implement both regular maintenance and special projects over a greater portion of the year. 

With respect to entrants selected to participate in the Western States Endurance Run, and their mandatory volunteer requirement, the WSERF and WSTF want to continue to encourage participants to give back to our community, so the volunteer requirement will remain in effect.  Although there may be fewer opportunities to fulfill an 8-hour volunteer requirement on the Western States Trail system, there will likely be a one or two trail work opportunities each year that will be advertised on the WSER (wser.org) and Tevis Cup (teviscup.org) webpages.  These events will likely be special projects where we need greater numbers of people to move or place materials.  We will still organize the Robinson Flat Trail Work Campout and Celebration (June 21/22, 2019) to complete trail work in the High Country in advance of WSER and the Tevis Cup. And you are encouraged to join one of our Trail Section Teams by contacting a Section Lead or John Catts (trails@wser.org).

In addition there are many other opportunities to help our trail community, by volunteering your time to either do trail work or work an aid station or vet check (see the WSER and Tevis volunteer pages).  As an example The Canyons Endurance Run has already planned local trail work days on April 13/14, May 11/12, and July 6/7, with signup at ultrasignup. Because this is a shift in how the WSER and Tevis Cup trails have been maintained in the past (a handful of core individuals and a number of large volunteer days), it will take some time to optimize our new Volunteer Steward Program. So please feel free to join a team, provide constructive feedback, or participate in our Robinson Flat Campout to learn how you can help.