2018 WS 100 Press Release


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


Deep fields for both women’s and men’s race should make for memorable 2018 WSER

The talent level for any year at the Western States Endurance Run is usually exceptional, and the women’s and men’s fields for the 2018 event, scheduled for June 23-24, true to form, will be no exception.

“It’s been very interesting to watch our elite entrant list develop this spring,” Race Director Craig Thornley said. “The Altra Golden Ticket Series (a series of five races held throughout the country, where the top two finishers gain entry into Western States) has given us some new faces for both the women’s and men’s races. In some ways, the sport feels like it is experiencing a changing of the guard, and we are seeing that through some of our Golden Ticket entries. That said, the new faces are going to be joined by a number of key returning top-ten finishers from 2017, plus some great past champions.

“Both fields are deep, talented and should be a lot of fun to watch. It’s anybody’s guess who is going to win, whether it’s going to be a runner who is young and inexperienced or older and battle-tested.”

One of the most intriguing “new faces” at Western States will be Courtney Dauwalter. The 33-year-old school teacher from Golden, Colorado, has taken the ultra running world by storm over the past two years. She ran her way into Western States with a Golden Ticket victory at Southern California’s Sean O’Brien 100K in February. Before that, she notched an outright win at the Moab 240 in October, and previous to that set the American Record for 24 hours in 2017 at the Riverbank One Day Classic. In April, she won the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji 100-miler in Japan.

Top Western States veterans include Kaci Lickteig, 31, the 2016 women’s champion from Omaha, Nebraska, who is rounding into form this spring following her recovery earlier this year from a pelvic stress fracture; 2014 women’s champion Stephanie Violett, 34, of Bend, Ore., who also finished third in 2015; Katlyn Gerbin, 28, of Issaquah, Washington, who finished fourth in 2017; perennial top-ten finisher Aliza Lapierre, 37, of Williston, Vermont; Amanda Basham, 28, of North Logan, Utah, who finished fourth in 2016; New Zealand’s Fiona Hayvice, who finished fifth in 2017; and the ageless Meghan Laws, 57, of Cool, California, ninth in 2017, who will be looking for her 12th Western States finish. Three athletes who qualified via the Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT), which has partnered with Western States over the past several years to bring more international runners into the race, are 22-year-old Lucy Bartholomew of Australia, Cecilia Flori, 37, an Italian citizen living in New Zealand, and Emilie Lecomte, 39, of France.

Overall, there are 73 runners from outside the United States who will be competing this year. This represents approximately 20 percent of all entrants.

On the men’s side, Jim Walmsley, 28, will lead the “Coconino Cowboys,” a group of training partners who all live in Flagstaff, Arizona. Going into this year’s race, five “Cowboys,” including Walmsley, had qualified for Western States through Golden Ticket races.

Walmsley was on course record setting pace in 2016 before taking a wrong turn near 90 miles, eventually finishing in 20th place. In 2017, Walmsley again set a torrid pace through a muddy and snowy high country and on through to 62 miles at Foresthill. He later became sick on the way to the Rucky Chucky river crossing near mile 78 and dropped out.

This spring, showing fine form, Walmsley won the Lake Sonoma 50-miler in a course record setting time of 5:51.

Three of his four “Coconino Cowboy” teammates will also be starting Saturday, including Tim Freriks, 27, who ran away from a strong field at The North Face Endurance Challenge in San Francisco in December.

Walmsley will be challenged by one of the  top mountain runners in the world in France’s Francois D’Haene, 31, the 2017 Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc champion; Mark Hammond, 33, of Millcreek, Utah, the third-place finisher at Western States in 2017; Jeff Browning, 46, of Logan, Utah, who has finished third and fourth over the past two years at Western States; Mario Mendoza, 32, of Bend, Oregon, who won February’s Bandera 100K in Texas and was sixth at the World Trail Championships; Norway’s Didrik Hermansen, runner-up in 2016; and Ian Sharman, 37, of Bend, Ore., who will be gunning for his ninth straight top-ten finish.

Age-group entrants also could make headlines this year. Diana Fitzpatrick, 60, of Larkspur, California, will be shooting for the women’s 60 to 69 age group record, of 25:40 set in 2005 by Gunhild Swanson. Karl Meltzer, 50, of Sandy, Utah, will be attempting to take the oldest record on the books at Western States – Doug Latimer’s 50 to 59 age group record of 18:43 set in 1988.

2017 men’s champion Ryan Sandes and women’s champion Cat Bradley will not be competing this year.

Temperatures following a mild spring will test the field of 369 entrants. The National Weather Service is calling for a high of 100 degrees at the finish in Auburn, California on Saturday.

WHAT: 45th running of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run

WHEN: Saturday, June 23, 5 a.m. start at Squaw Valley, Calif., finish at Placer High School, Auburn, Calif. 369 trail runners from more than 30 countries and more than 40 states to compete. Western States Endurance Run: http://www.wser.org

Foresthill Firefighters Association Community Service Project

Western States Endurance Run, Foresthill Firefighters & Smokey want your help to protect the trails we run on and the community at the heart of WSER.

The What: In the spirit of our Mission Statement, the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, in partnership with the Foresthill Volunteer Firefighters Association (FVFA) is endorsing a community service fundraiser project inspired by our community of runners.

The How: The theme for this effort is: “Gifts of Runner Origin”.

Western States runners, crews, and spectators are encouraged to bring a gift that is unique to, and represents, the places we call home. Donated items will be accepted during registration and packet pickup near the Start Line at the Squaw Valley Ski Resort on Thursday and Friday June 21-22. All donated items will be collected by FVFA volunteers and delivered to Foresthill where they will be available for purchase during race day festivities on Saturday, June 23 and the Annual FVFA Garage Sale in August.

100% of proceeds will support the Foresthill Volunteer Firefighters Association.

The Why:  Firefighters and Fire Districts in California and across the country work to protect the forests, mountains and range lands that trail runners rely on to pursue our passion. They also provide emergency medical services. Every runner can help make a difference.

For Additional Information or Questions Contact:

njcomstock3@gmail.com (802) 233-4059  or
jgcomstock3@gmail.com (802) 233-0823

2018 Lottery Statistics

Last updated: January 2, 2018 at 11:05 am

There are a record 4909 applicants for the 2018 Western States lottery. This is a 15% increase over the 4248 applicants for the 2017 lottery.

The lottery will be held on December 2, 2017 in front of a live audience at the Placer High School auditorium in Auburn, CA beginning at 8:30 a.m. We expect to be done by 11:00 a.m. As names are pulled from the hat, they will be posted at http://www.ultralive.net/lottery as close to real-time as possible. There will also be a live video feed on our Facebook Page.

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 Altra Golden Ticket spot) will have additional tickets 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, 7th year = 64 tickets. The maximum number of years for the 2018 lottery is once again 7, or 64 tickets.

You can view the applicants and their ticket counts and the pdf of the 15074 tickets that will be printed, cut and then put into the barrel.

As we began in 2017, we are using a wait list model instead of overbooking like we had for decades to get the target 369 starters which is the number we are legally allowed to run through the Granite Chief Wilderness. 105 of those 369 are automatic entrants. 261 will be drawn in the lottery. The final three entrants to get to 369 will be drawn from those in the audience. We will also draw an additional 50 names for the ordered wait list. The probabilities for being selected as one of the 261 in the lottery or 50 on the wait list (311) are as follows:

  • 8 folks with 64 tickets, each has a 77.5% chance of getting drawn (5.7 estimated to be drawn in lottery + .5 estimated to be drawn for wait list)
  • 71 folks with 32 tickets, each has a 52.6% chance of getting drawn (32.6 + 4.8)
  • 161 folks with 16 tickets, each has a 31.1% chance of getting drawn (42.6 + 7.5)
  • 283 folks with 8 tickets, each has a 17.0% chance of getting drawn (40.3 + 7.9)
  • 668 folks with 4 tickets, each has a 8.9% chance of getting drawn (49.4 + 10.1)
  • 1060 folks with 2 tickets, each has a 4.6% chance of getting drawn (39.9 + 8.4)
  • 2658 folks with 1 ticket, each has a 2.3% chance of getting drawn (50.5 + 10.8)

So what are the chances of getting into the race if you are selected for the wait list? In 2017 the last person to get a spot on the starting line was drawn 39th on the wait list. Twelve runners before that 39th runner either removed themselves or declined the spot when offered. Look here for complete 2017 wait list data, including when each runner was offered a spot.

Finally, here are the 105 automatics (down from 117 in 2017 lottery) which will be identified on the entrants list when we post on wser.org after the lottery.

Good luck to all.

2017 Runner Survey Results

Here are the results of the independent Western States Endurance Run (WSER) Runner Survey from the June 24-25, 2017 race, conducted by ultralive.net.

WSER runner registration takes place in Squaw Valley Friday before race day and 2017 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 92% participation rate of the 369 starters. At the suggestion of a fellow data geek we added an interesting question this year about the diet of WS runners!

Here are the surveys from 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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
  • Pack type/brand
  • Lighting brand
  • Did they pay for coaching services?
  • Do they follow a non-traditional diet?
  • A few questions about lodging for the race to share with host sites

This year’s race proved even more challenging than past with pre- and in-race weather conditions. We can assume that had an impact on completion rate as well as finishing time. Of the 369 starters we saw 248 finishers (67.2%) under 30 hours of which 82 (22.2%) finished under the coveted 24 hour mark for a Silver Buckle (for comparison 28.9% in 2016).

Finish Hour

For sub 24 hour finishers completing the survey, 25 out of 69 (36.2%) finished in the 23rd “Golden Hour” of the race to get a silver buckle (compared to 29.4% in 2016). In the last two hours of the race, there were 101 (40%) finishers. The busiest times on the track are typically between 4-5 AM and 9-11 AM on Sunday morning and 2017 proved no different. The graphs show the distribution of finishers by hour (16 hours to 29 hours).


There was no difference in experience between those that started and finished the race with an average completing 5.5 100-mile races before toeing the start line at Squaw and 7.5 years running ultras.

There was an interesting difference however between sub and over-24 hour finish times with sub-24 hour finishers completing only 4.3 100-milers in their 7 years of ultra experience versus over 24-hour finishers with 6 100-mile races under their belts and 7.7 years of ultra experience.

Those that Did Not Finish (DNF) (121 in total) had on average completed 5.8 100-mile races before arriving in Squaw with 8 of them selecting WSER as their first 100 mile race. They also had an average of 7.5 years in ultrarunning, consistent with those who did eventually finish the race.

Number of 100-mile races completed prior to WS100 by finish hour

Number of years running Ultras finish hour


This is the fourth year Hoka was the most popular shoe (25%) for all finishers with Altra making a significant jump from from 16% of our survey respondents in 2016 to 23% this year. Salomon squeaked past Brooks in our survey respondents this year for third place. There was a shift in shoes compared to finish hour this year with 31% of sub-24 finishers now wearing altra over 15% Hoka. 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.

Shoes Worn by All Runners:

Shoes Worn by SUB-24 Hour Finishers:



Injinji continues to be the primary choice for all finishers with Drymax’s popularity increasing again this year like last. There was another shift however with sub-24 finishers who prefer Drymax over injinji.

Socks Worn by All Runners:

Socks Worn by SUB-24 Hour Finishers:

Paid Coaching Services

There was a decrease in the number of athletes using coaching services to 24% of all runners compared to 41% of 2016 starters using a coach. Near the same amount of those finishing the race used a coach and of the sub-24 hour finishers, 19% used a coach comparable to the 17.5% in 2016.

% of Starters Using Coaching Services

% of Finishers Using Coaching Services

% of Sub-24 Hour Finishers Using Coaching Services

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. This year one-third of racers were able to attend at least one of the training days and while previewing the course may help it is not required to finish the race.

Attended Memorial Weekend Training Runs

% of All Starters, Sub-24 Finishers, over 24-Hour Finishers and those who DNF’d Attending Memorial Weekend Training Runs


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? Here is a breakdown of crew and pacer use for all starters, finishers and those that DNF’d. The data may suggest that the use of a crew and/or pacer may increase your chance of finishing a 100-mile race and even finishing in under 24 hours.

Crew Use

Pacer Use


Although Petzl’s popularity dropped slightly, it remains the favorite light brand for all runners regardless of finish time (sub or over-24 hour).  And the winner (Ryan Sandes) did require a headlamp this year for the final miles of the race.

Sub 24-Hour Lighting Choice

Over 24-Hour Lighting Choice


For all runners, Ultimate Direction and Salomon almost tied for the first place spot compared to last year from a small decrease for UD and similar increase for Salomon use. Nathan maintained third place.

This remained consistent for all finishers

Among the sub-24 hour finishers however Nathan surpassed Salomon for second:

We saw a decrease compared to last year in the number of all runners opting for handhelds in lieu of a hydration pack (5% total) likely due to the known hot weather forecast they would face during the day.



A new question we added this year was at the suggestion of another data geek ultrarunner… if a runner follows any non-traditional diet. The question did generate a lot of good laughs and we will have to add the beer and pizza diet to next year’s survey however here is how the respondents answered:

Data Accuracy

369 runners started the 2017 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 = 341 (92%) athletes though individual questions may vary if athlete did not answer or know answer.


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 and Monique Winkler.

Analysis by Kara Teklinski who acknowledges she is not a statistical analysis expert and welcomes any thoughts!

2017 WS 100 Press Release


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


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.