Here are the results of the independent Western States Endurance Run (WSER) Runner Survey from the June 25-26, 2022 race, conducted by ultralive.net.
WSER runner registration takes place in Olympic Valley Friday before race day and 2022 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 95% participation rate of the 383 starters.
Here are the surveys from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
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
- 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 11 women finish in the top 30 runners overall, with the “top 10’s” of both women and men all under 20 hours. Of the 383 starters we saw 305 finishers (79.6%) under 30 hours of which 101 (26.4%) finished under the coveted 24 hour mark for a Silver Buckle.
A total of 290 of the 305 finshers (95.1%) 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.
For sub 24 hour finishers completing the survey, 40 out of 93 (55%) finished in the 23rd hour of the race to get a silver buckle. In the last two hours of the race, there were 117 (38%) finishers. The busiest times on the track are typically between 4-5 AM and 9-11 AM on Sunday morning and 2022 proved no different.
The graphs show the distribution of finishers by hour (15 hours to 29 hours), distribution of finishers by completed 100 mile races, and distribution of finishers by year of running ultras. Interestingly, many of the finishers over 24 hours have finished more than ten 100 mile races and have been running ultras over 10 years.
The hot temperatures in this year’s race definitely attributed to the finish rate of 79.6%.
Again Hoka was the most popular shoe (42.8%) for all finishers with Altra in second place with 19.7% and Salomon in third (8.3%). The rankings switched for second and third place with the sub-24 hour finishers. 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.
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
31% of the runners use a paid coaching service overall. Sub-24 hour finishers were slightly less likely to use a coach. And as a continuing trend, 48% of the DNF runners 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 40% of the runners who did not complete the race were at the training camp.
Petzl’s remains the favorite light brand for all runners regardless of finish time (sub or over-24 hour) with Black Diamond second again.
Salomon was the top choice for all runners (sub 24 and overall). For sub 24 finishers, Nathan edged out Ultimate Direction for second place.
Garmin was the most popular watch overall in the survey. However, for the sub 24 finishers Coros was the most popular watch. Suunto was the third most popular in both categories.
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. The following chart shows the correlation of using a pacer or crew to finish hour. In the overall survey, almost everyone (98%) planned on using a pacer.
383 runners started the 2022 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
Ultralive.net team surveyed a majority of those runners through the registration process at Olympic Valley Final survey reflects N = 364 (95.1%) 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.
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!