Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I have been thoroughly enjoying the last few days before the Big Dance this year. We arrived in Squaw Valley on Tuesday and have had a couple great runs and some wonderful family time in the Tahoe Basin.

But, now, it's game time.

It’s been interesting to look at the polling data from the blog over the past week or so. It appears as though the prognosticators see it as a two-man race between Geoff Roes and Killian Jornet with a strong chase pack of Nick Clark, Hal Koerner and Dave Mackey.

It's after those five fast guys that things get interesting.

Clearly, Mike Wolfe, Ian Sharman, Tsuyoshi Kaburagi and Jez Bragg have the inside track on the rest of the top-10 but beyond that it gets very, very interesting. Truly, this could be one of the most competitive top-10's in recent years.

As many who read this blog know I am somewhat obsessed with Western States and, in particular, the top-10. That said, I will be the first to say that this year will be my toughest test yet. (And Meltzer has already predicted my 15th place finishJ)

Back in 2004 when I first cracked the top-10 the gap between the winning time (Jurek’s then CR) and 10th place was over three hours. Last year, even with Geoff’s new CR, the gap between the winner and 10th placewas two and a half hours. Furthermore, back in 2007, I arrived in Michigan Bluff in 10th place and finished 4th. Just last year, I cleared Last Chance, a full 12 miles earlier than Michigan Bluff, in 10th place and ended up only finishing 9th. In other words, top-10 is getting harder. It is clearly the place for this sports badasses!

Looking ahead to this year with the easier course, the fast melting snow, and the forecast benign temperatures I am guessing that the winner will run under 15 hours and a top-10 finish will require a sub-17 hour run. Of course, time will tell and these things always have a way of sorting themselves out, but for me, I am getting to work tonight on my 16:45 split card.

I hope to see many of you at the panel discussion that I will be facilitating tomorrow night at the Squaw Valley Lodge at 6:30pm with Jim Scott, Scott Mills, Luanne Park, Craig Thornley and Nikki Kimball.


Brett said...

So what about 'on paper' with how others supposedly are better than you. This is your baby. You will get 'er done.

I still haven't forgotten your double in 2009 with a 5th in 28hrs at Hardrock 100 tacked right onto the back of WS. CRAZY. ... -CRAZY-

Rainshadow Running said...

have fun andy! and good luck with the top 10, maybe the snow course is going to play into your strengths!

nwgdc said...

I've read your blog pretty much ever since I 'discovered' ultra running...and Western States. I can't wait to see how it turns out, and I'm really pulling for you! Go get that top ten!

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GZ said...

Let's go old man! GET IT ON. Run your race and mow 'those down doing the skeleton dance in last 20.

lonerunman said...

Run well, Andy. It's pretty apparent how much a top-10 would mean to you, so best wishes that you run that little bit smarter and harder than some of the other excellent runners in the field (hard to say that, because you're all worthy of top results!)
kick it!

Yassine said...

Good luck AJW...Can't wait to kick back and watch the big dance unfold

olga said...

I think everyone is rooting for you, even those who are fighting for top-10 themselves. So, go, Andy!

Koz said...


Good luck on the quest for #6. Top 10 comp might be getting deeper but not many know how to run that course as smartly as you. I'm rootin' far ya to bring another top 10 back East to your new digs.


Andrew said...

With all due respect to them, none of the other excellent runners mentioned in your post appear on the all-time top-10 lists for the Titus van Rijn distance classic. You do. Go get 'em, AJW!

olga said...

That is the MOST awesome excitement out of the whole WS - AJW is in top 10 again! :) That is nuts. You are officially Da Man.

Brett said...

AJW, please kindly update your blog header when you have a chance, as you are now a 7 consecutive top 10 finisher at Western States. :)

If someone had told you 14 people would go sub 17 at the race, what odds would you have given yourself to finish in the top 10?


Larry Linux said...

First and foremost - WAY TO GO AJW!

Funny you should ask that Brett, because here it is:

AJW - I would email the updated banner to you, but I only have your "Community School" email which I assume is no longer valid.

olga said...

Tim Twit placed top-10 18 times (5 wins) and plus twice was 11th.

Andy you got some more stuff to do!:)

zagbag said...

Awesome showing Andy! You were right about sub 17 and now only just over an hour between 1st and 10th!!
Take the elevators today, you deserve it! Cheers! Steven in Texas.

sharmanian said...

Great run, Andy. Reckon you can get top 10 next year? Early prediction - winner does 14h and top 10 requires sub 16 :)