Friday, May 29, 2009


It's four weeks until the Big Dance so it's time for another poll for the men's race. (See the sidebar for a new poll.)

It's been an interesting lead-up this year. We have injuries (Anton Krupicka, Jon Olsen, Jorge Pacheco, and Max King), we have some great tune-up performances (Jasper Halekas, Gary Robbins, and Eric Grossman), we have the old standby's finding their form (Hal Koerner, Graham Cooper, Erik Skaden, and Scott Jurek) and we have the new guys (Scott Wolfe, Mike Wolfe, Dan Olmstead, and a whole bunch of others.

So, take a look at the poll on the right and pick your top-5.


Anonymous said...

Anton's Injured? Any other info?
Just curious because I'm road tripping to watch!

Anonymous said...

you left a few folks out who deserve mention for sure. joseph d'allesio, lewis taylor, all those foreign cats who are fast, the japanese north face guy, the itallion stallionaire who won Mt. Blanc, tracy moore, hiroki, chikara, leigh schmitt, victor ballesteros, brian morrison, kevin sullivan, mike wardian, neil olsen

Anonymous said...

Watch out for newcomer Dave James - Umstead winner at 15:05

Tony Lafferty said...

The field is so deep this year. What makes it interesting is the list of "new" that is a relative term to the big dance. So many have opinions on who will win. That makes all the pre race chatter fun...As to who will win the race..My own opinion is that it will take a smart runner, mature runner that will not get caught up in the early race antics. Remember this is the first time so many will be on the line together so who can outsmart who is just as important as running fast.

I am pacing doing my part and enjoying the day..for those up front it will be epic.

Lets also cross are fingers that there will be no lightning strikes so close to race day as last year.

Tony Lafferty..gettting my chance at the dance in 2010

AJW said...


You are right. I did leave out quite a few and it is likely that some of the guys on your list will find a spot in the top-5. It'll be interesting.

And Tony, for sure, this year's race will reward the smart, tactical runner.

Gary Robbins said...

Wow I made 'the list'!
Thanks AJW, really looking forward to the whole experience...quite the year to be involved and like has been said numerous times it's gonna take a very smart and very talented runner to pull it out this year.
I'm thinking close to half of the top twenty guys will end up dnf'ed or crawling home after chasing someone else for fifty or sixty miles.
The smart race will win it, and there is most certainly no shortage of experience in this field...gonna be EPIC!!


Craig Thornley said...

Good to see Hal getting some love this time around.

Are you also going to do a poll for the women or are you a misogynist?

Anonymous said...

With the amount of Talent out there it seems like there is going to be a group of about 3 or 4 runners who take off from the start and really push the pace.

You'd think that at least ONE of them will survive to the finish.

I'd imagine that the Vet's will have to base there effort on Finish times and trust that a sub-17 hour performance is good for a possible win even though the front group went out at sub-16 hour pace.
If I were Jurek and really REALLY wanted a win... I'd go out after the course record.
With the field being so fast, I don't think you can base your effort upon the front pack. Well then again... Hal did run away with it...
haha.... Watch out for Jasper... I think he's the sleeper. Good LUCK everyone...!!!!!

Central Calif Runner

HappyTrails said...

Don't forget D Mackey flying under the radar - Gotta give some love to the Colorado guy! Tony's an unknown because of the "mystery" factor with the injury.

And how about AJW? How you feeling lately?

Anonymous said...

any more info the injuries?

Anonymous said...

About all the injury news..while some maybe actual I would not put it past someone to plant a word or two out about certain runners being injured. These mystery injuries are just that until valid..can't worry about that can you? Just get to the line run the race and let the results not some legend do the talking..

AJW said...

I completely agree about the injury gossip and am always sensitive to that. However, what I have heard is:

Max King asked Soderland if his entry could be tranferred to 2010 due to a bad knee.

Anton Krupicka tweaked his knee at Fruita and has not been his usual self. Of course, that probably means he's running 100 mile weeks like the rest of us and that he could end up showing up rested and ready to rip one.

Jon Olsen has a broken bone in his foot and the x-ray is posted on his blog (tough to fake that!)

Other than that, I agree with everyone who says a smart race will win it and I guess my point with this post is that a smart race will be necessary to make top-5. I would guess that the placings at Brown's will not be the placings at the finish.

Jasper Halekas said...

Anyone want to start taking bets on the always fun "how many in the top ten at Robinson are in the top ten at the end?" Usually ends up being only a few...

There are so many great runners in this year's race that my mind has become kind of numb to it all at this point. Time to just show up and run.


AJW said...

Not so fast, Jasper. There's still time to get into your head. So, in response to the previous commenter who called you the "sleeper" in this year's race I have a hard time thinking of the 100 mile trail champion as a sleeper in any race. Add to that, your three day stretch last week when you ran 16000 mtrs on the track in one hour, followed it up with 20 miles in the canyons and then went on to win, yes win, Silver State which you were essentially running as a training run. To tell you the truth, if I were you, I'd be bummed with anything less than top-3 at WS:)

rdljon said...

I just want to thank the guy who let me borrow his x-ray. You can get anything on Craig's List. Well, Jasper is my favorite, hands down. The guy hasn't had a bad 100 mile performance and is a very smart runner. Also, the guy generally uses no pacer. That's just intimidating.

I am one of the injured but my fitness level isn't far off of where I was before Miwok last year. See you guys in Squaw.

Michael Alfred said...

Good thing for the rest of the runners that "the Jesus" is "injured".

Jasper Halekas said...


Your Jedi mind tricks will never work on me.

FWIW, they pretty much give those 100-mile champion buckles away to anyone these days. I think 5-6 of us in this year's field have one. In fact, I seem to remember you've got one yourself. But of course, the beautiful thing about hundred mile races is that they are no respecter of resumes.

Really, though, if anyone should be feeling the pressure, it's you. How many top tens in a row is that? You don't want to let that streak die. Plus, it'd just be plain embarrassing for someone who probably knows how many rocks there are on the trail between the 8th and the 9th switchback of Devils's Thumb not to finish in the top five.

Tell me again which switchback of the trail between Green Gate and ALT I'm supposed to eat the GU at?


AJW said...

Good one Jasper. And, nice try.

Between GG and ALT you need to eat a Gel when you cross the second creek and begin the climb up to the road. It's at the site now known as the "Browning Cutoff." In fact, if you get there and it's still light out I suggest waiting until dark before you continue. Running to ALT in daylight ruins the entire WS experience.

Anonymous said...

Mackey will not only win but set the CR in the process.

AJW said...


Good call on Mackey. I think if it's not too hot the Course Record will be in reach. However, keep in mind that the current record was set on a course that is different than the current course (no Duncan Canyon, no Miller's Defeat section, etc...)

Anonymous said...


i am going to announce who will win and set a course record, but i won't be using my name to back up my predictions. i'll just stay anonymous.


Anonymous said...

Mackey and course record.
tim long

Anonymous said...

No Brian Morrison on your list?! It wasn't long ago that he nearly won WS.

Carson said...

Oh crap, I totally forgot Brian. He certainly deserves a few votes. Maybe I'll do another poll a week before the race after I've don the women's race and the Masters' Race. Truly, there are a bunch of guys I left off.

Dan Olmstead said...

I just ran 32 miles with the real Jesus and I ensure you he is healthy and ready to roll (pun intended). Thanks for putting my name up AJW, but it takes a long time to log in and out. Is there a way I can vote for myself multiple times in the same session?

Anonymous said...

I'm more interested in who is going to eat the most food in the race.

How many gels will be consumed?

S-Caps? Or Endurolytes?

Will any dumkoff run the entire race without a shirt and without a water bottle? Just going from aid station to aid station relying on what they have to offer?

Will anybody eat a Big Mac brought by their crew during the run? Jelly doughnut?

Who will be the highest placing finisher that looks the most anorexic?

If Yiannis Kouros was in his 30s and running all the folks in this year's race would be dust. Wouldn't even be close.

Craig Thornley said...


Might want to do your homework. Check out the 1988 WS results. Yiannis Kouros, as a 32 year old, ran 20:12 for 24th place.

Rogue Valley Runners said...

Oh Craig,

Don't you know anyone can be a blogger. But not everyone can be an ultra TRAIL runner.

And Dan, for de Jesus sake would you guys please start your taper!


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Thornley, for setting the record straight.

I should have said when he was 41, not in his 30s. He was way too inexperienced at that novel age.

Kouros also must not have been skinny enough. You do have to be thin to win. No one ever talks about that.

Back to Kouros, 24th and near 20 hours, not bad for a guy whose longest training run was 12 miles.

How many 100 miler ultrarunners get by with training runs no longer than 12 miles and still run WS in around 20 hours?

I doubt any do, beyond our friend Mr. Kouros...

Who among today's annointed royalty of WS trail runners can match 188 miles in a 24 hour period at any age, on any surface, let alone as a 41 year old?

Maybe someone already has?

Does that world record still stand?

Has anyone run 100.25 miles in 12 hours that Kouros ran at 41?

You're up, Mr. Thornley.

Craig Thornley said...

@Anonymous, or is it Mr Anonymous?

I'm not about to argue that Yiannis Kouros was/is not a great ultrarunner. But he came to WS in 1988 and did not "dust" the competition as you suggested he might this year. And last time I checked the rules there wasn't a longest training run handicap.

Anonymous said...

Funny. :)

Thank you, Mr. Thornley.

All these runners are incredible.

We have no argument.

AJW said...

Wow, the things your learn in the blog world. Let's see... some anonymous person thinks Kouros could dust everybody at the dance even though the best he could do was 24th back when he was 32. Too bad he didn't run when he was 41, that's how old I am!

Dano got to run with Jesus.

Hal wants us all to start our tapers. I guess since he's been injured "forever" (to quote Anton) he's probably always tapering.

Craig once again showed his depth of knowledge in the world of WS lore and has gotten 20 votes in the poll. Must be that the entire population of Georgetown, CA is on the blog.

And, how about that poll. It's shaping up quite interestingly with the three established big dogs grabbing the big votes, a couple new WS entrants garnering the next few spots and then a big pack of experienced and new WS runners rounding out the top-10. Two more dates to vote. Tell your friends!

Anonymous said...

Why do all these blog comments end up being about how these 'other legendary runners' could come to the big ultras and kick everyone's ass?

Who really cares?

When it comes down to racing, its about who was the best person, at this specific race, on that specific day, under those specific conditions, etc. You can't compare across generations or distances.

But, for the record, Forest Gump apparently ran a 10-hour 100 mile road run, but he was solo, so it was never certified. THey said if he cut his beard he could shave 13 minutes off his time.

Paul Charteris said...

I use my local WS encyclopedia (aka Bruce Labelle) to help sort out historical issues. I am pretty sure he mentioned that Kouros ran a 10-day race in NY City approximately a week before his WS run. He covered over 1000 miles in those ten days.

Not so much love for the Californian boys- Cooper and Skaden? These dudes have both been Mr. consistency the past couple of years.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing though how defensive some of today's greats get when you even mention that a guy from a previous era could dust their patootoos!

The cat claws come out!!! Rearrrrrr!

Probably a classier, less defensive response would have been:

"Yeah, had Yiannis Kouros had the same training as most of us and put in the same taper he WOULD have dusted our axxes!!!!!!
But we will never know, so it's a moot point."

That kind of response would have shown some humility.

My vote is for the most humble, as well as talented, runner to win this race. Too bad Pacheco is injured. He's one of a few that would fit that bill.

The ones who are not humble take themselves a bit too seriously.

For the winners in future years, remain humble. It's as admirable, or more, than your fast time.

Anonymous said...

Funny that Anton keeps getting votes even when he's not running ws. Talk about respect.

It'd be great to see him build up to Leadville and go after Carpenter's record this year.

Anonymous said...

Confirmed Anton not doing WS?

Anonymous said...

Confirmed that if he does run, it will be at less than 50% potential ability.

I admire Anton as much as anyone but it would be a giant mistake (in my opinion) for him to run ws with no training and a lingering tail-end of an injury. I just can't see it ending on a positive note.

If he were healthy and could show up fit, I'd have a difficult time not picking him for the win. But, like every other thing I write in comments, it's speculation.

You just don't show up to ws with <20 mile weeks.

Anonymous said...

Though I have never seen him run, I will throw out young Berkowitz (1st Leona, 3rd WTC) for a possible top 10, if he runs smart of course. Having said that, to agree with Central Calif Runner above, with so much talent in the race, I am not entirely convinced that only an overtly 'smart' race will win....a catastrophically un-smart race (for example too fast early on to allow enough fuel absorption to finish it off at any pace) will of course not-win for many, but I think the chances are not that remote for at least one runner to get away with being more aggressive than would _seem_ prudent (see: Roosevelt, Man in the Arena). To put it another way - whoever wins, it will be hard to say they weren't smart, however they did it...even if, technically, they weren't (smart). Brian Morrison was just a hand grenade (as in 'close only counts in'...) away from being a total genius, then it went off.

Anonymous said...

Its amazing Jurek's name hasn't been brought up once in this thread.

Jasper Halekas said...

I agree with both of the preceding anonymous comments. The field is strong enough this year that the winner is probably more likely to be the one who goes out really aggressively and hangs on (a la Hal two years ago) rather than the one who runs a conservative "smart" race.

And is this the least anyone has ever paid attention to a 7 time winner of a race (who is still in his prime)? Amazing.

Anonymous said...

I think Jurek will be in 2 or 3rd at Mich-Forest hill... and then hammer the last 40.... for a new course record....

With his Spartathlon times, he has shown he knows how to train for a race.... He has always been able to do this but with a 13 hour 100 mile split??? thats just crazy...

I think it's cool that he's hyper focused on this race. The coolest thing about this race is that the field will push it each other so hard that a course record should fall.

Don't let anyone out of your sights...


rdljon said...

Enough talk already! Lets not make this race bigger than life. Simply put a talented runner that has a little luck that particular Saturday will win. It may not be the best runner in the field, BUT the best runner that day. I do agree with Jasper, to win this race, you will need to be in the front pack. Someone will go "Clifton" and hold on.

Speedgoat Karl said...

I know a guy who rarely runs over 12 miles and can run 20 hours at Western, probably 16 hours and change....if he could get in, but he's not "qualified"

Kouros was never a strong technical runner, and even though Western is smoother than my ass, it was still tough for the Grecian Wonder. His 188 miles will never fall, kind of like Carpenter's Pikes Peak, or Skagg's Hardrock.

I have to agree Mr. Jurek is getting no love here. Have you all forgotten Mr. Western. He has that name for a reason. He excells in the heat, knows Western better than anyone else, and is a perfectionist at peaking when he wants. Whether he wins it or not, he'll be in it, and some of those sleepers won't even be close. Scott, Dave, and Hal all the way. Everyone else will play games and beat themselves up.

It'll be nice to watch the carnage.

Speedgoat Karl said...

And let's not forget the "Speedgoat Odds" in a few weeks. I may even do some research...if that matters!

Speedgoat Karl said...

One more thing. The mystery man is Grossman. If he handles heat well, he'll be in it too.

Unknown said...

Scott Jurek, Eric Grossman, Brian Krogman.

I am interested in seeing how all three of these runners do, for different reasons.

For Scott Jurek, from what I have read he has gone though in the past couple of years, whether he is a favorite or not, it would be great to see him win and achieve some sort of redemption.

For Eric Grossman, he has been training in high altitude for over a month and I am very interested in seeing just how much he improves because of this from his earlier WS attempts. In addition to being a strong runner he is also quite a scribe as evidenced by the entries on his blog the past month or so. I hope he has his best race.

For Brian Krogman, I wonder how many of the main guys even know who he is. Here is a guy that told me he ran a 9:45 for 50 miles at Leona in 2008, then ran a 7:45 at Leona this year. Who has that kind of improvement in one year? That's somewhat impressive to me.

He also just took 3rd at the SD100, and only lost the race by 8 minutes. I'm not sure if it is wise or foolish to run a 100 mile race just three weeks before you are going to run the WS100, but I will be interested in seeing how well Brian Krogman does. I hope he does very well. I know he is also doing the AC100 in September. Go Brian!!!

Anonymous said...

Robert - I appreciate the respect for including me in the Western States talk but I will be there pacing. Just ran Keys 100 3 weeks before San Diego 100 this past weekend. Will only be pacing at WS and can't wait to watch the fun unfold.

Burton said...

Anyone heard from Lon Freeman this year? He was a huge favorite in 2007 after his Miwok record. I still got Jurek, Hal, and Mackey.

Unknown said...

The anonymous message just above must be from Brian Krogman.

If so, congratulations Brian on a great race at SD100.

If you just ran a 100 3 weeks before SD100 and still only missed 1st place by less than 8 minutes I would say that your SD100 performance was pretty good! :)

Have fun pacing at WS100. Will see you at one of the AC100 training runs (maybe 6/20/09 up Mt. Wilson?).

Keep up the great work.


Anonymous said...

Brian Krogmann, he just did not run Key100. He won setting by the course record.

Unknown said...

Wow! That's a long ways away from a 9:45 in the 50 miler at Leona Divide just 14 months ago.

Great job, Brian! I hope the WS lottery is kind to you and you get in for the next go around in 2010.

And that hill from Chantry Flat, up to Mt. Wilson, at the AC100, that we became acquainted with during trailwork in April?

It is waiting for you on the eve of September 19th of this year.

Should be a blast! I'm just hoping to break 24. For me, that would be great. For you, there will be bigger fish to fry.

Take care, and see you there.


Brian said...

Robert - Not sure who actually replied to your two comments below. However, I do appreciate your kind words and if you want to run Chantry one day let me know.

Rather not use AJWs blog so feel free to email at

Anonymous said...

I thought Meltzer was on the start list last year and therefore could be this year. What other people who could run fast and want to be at WS, have not "qulified".

Anonymous said...

Yes, maybe the reason Karl is not in the race is that in order to do well he needs to "take a break" as he posted on another blog. Ultra running will never be legitimate until banned substances are banned in Ultra's. We need drug testing! The excuse that there is no money does not hold up. How many of these guys are sponsored?

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