Let me open my comments with the statement that absolutely I love the Western States Endurance Run. In fact, I am obsessed with it! I love the tradition, the mystique, the environment, even the heat. Most of all, indeed, I love the competition. I truly believe (selfishly perhaps) that a top-5 finish in Western States is paramount to winning another 100 miler. So, the comments I make below are largely out of love and respect for this amazing and are not, in any way, intended to be a criticism of the quandary the Western States Board finds themselves confronting this month.
With this in mind I thought I would throw out a simple scenario for the future:
What if, in addition to the previous year's top-10 finishers, winners of a dozen or so of the other 100 Mile races in the USA over the past year were also granted entry if they applied.
With that simple change the following people could be added to the list:
Jasper Halekas - Tahoe Rim Trail
Anton Krupicka - Leadville Trail
Jon Olson - Rio del Lago
Karl Meltzer - Bear and San Diego
Jorge Pacheco - Javelina
I can't remember if Todd Walker, Leigh Schmitt or Lon Freeman won any 100 milers this past year but if so they would be on the list as well.
In addition, just think of the excitement that would be generated at the following races in 2008:
HURT, Rocky Raccoon, Coyote Two Moon, Umstead, Masanutten, Old Dominion and whatever else I'm missing.
Do you think the RD's of those races would be psyched to have a smackdown at the front in their races!
Just a thought.