Monday, June 8, 2009

Men's Poll Results and the Women's Poll

OK, well, even though I left out a ton of guys in my poll here are the top-10 from the readers of this blog.

Scott Jurek 175
Hal Koerner 168
Dave Mackey 134
Anton Krupicka 93
Eric Grossman 52
Erik Skaden 50
Graham Cooper 46
Jasper Halekas 46
Max King 43
Andy Jones-Wilkins 43

Interesting to see how the top three guys have such a gap on #4 who in turn has a gap on #'s 5-10. Wonder how the actual race will turn out? Anyone have some top-10 picks not on this list? Any top-3 dark horse picks?

And, take a minute to vote for the women over on the sidebar. Should be a great race!

PS -- Anybody out there have a hotel room they're not using in Silverton for Hardrock?


Anonymous said...

Skaden and Cooper have been top three the last two times and they are not close to the top five, seems like a shit poll.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was "interesting" that Brian Morrison wasn't even included as one of the possible choices. Having said that, I certainly can't argue with the top three picks. It's good fun, thanks!

AJW said...


Yeah, I messed up by not including Brian. I missed a bunch of other contenders as well. It'll be fun, once the actual race is run, to see how many of those guys are in the top-5.

And, to the first anon, I hear you on Cooper and Skaden. Polls are funny, the one guy in the field with 4 consecutive top-10's got even fewer votes than them:)

rdljon said...

What is with being anonymous. That drives me nuts. No one is going to get hurt because of a few comments they make. With that said, Brian has proven himself at the highest level in 50 mile races but he hasn't officially finished a 100 yet. I think this will be the year for him but experience is huge. I can't believe Jasper isn't higher on the list. This guy has a ridiculous resume from 50k to 100 miles. He is my pick to win. No pressure Jasper. My predictions aren't like being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. I don't think:)

Speedgoat Karl said...

Skaden has run a good time at Western, under 17, but Morrison and Cooper haven't. Although Cooper and Morrison were 1-2 a few years back, there time was over 18 hours....and in this field does not qualify them for a top 5 pick. Skaden has also run that fast only once. AJW has done good work on the poll. The one guy noone is really paying any attention to is the Japanese runner who finished 3rd at the NF race. (Kubayashi I think is his name). Although many of us don't know him, he may be the sleeper that surprised everyone. I'll let someone else do the research on him. I hate doing research!

Sounds like MR. Anonymous comes directly from the site, perhaps he should go back and leave his comments there, eh?

Jasper's resume is solid, but not that solid. Jurek, Mackey, Koerner all have resume's much bigger than Jasper. Don't get me wrong, Jasper is fast, but not fast enough to beat those three guys I just a perfect world of course.

Scott has a big fat bullseye on his back, hopefully he'll have one screened on his shirt come race day.

Michael Havrda said...

In response to rdljon, Brian Morrison has officially finished a 100 mile race. He finished 3rd at the 2004 Cascade Crest 100, and 6th at the same race in 2005.

Jasper Halekas said...

I feel like there's a joke here about the size of one's resume, but it's not quite coming to me.

Seriously, though, Karl knows of what he speaks. My accomplishments don't even begin to compare to some of these guys. Just do the smart thing and pick Jurek or Mackey, Jon.

I do think Graham rates a top 5 pick. When he won the race, it was a sick hot year, so that affects the times. And I know how hard he trains. Really hard.

As for Kaburaki, I agree he's in there, but I know we've been burned before on the foreign runners. Remember Jae-duk Sim? Vincent Delabarre? You never know, though. I ran against that guy at the Hasegawa Cup in Japan, and he's a sick athlete (though he lost to Sim that day).

But, let's talk about the girls some? Can anyone touch Nikki? Jen Shelton has the speed, but can she do it in a mountain 100? Is Moehl at full strength? BTW, I don't believe Prudence or Suzie are planning to run this year.


Anonymous said...

Wardian guys?

Paul Charteris said...

I know less about the Women's field than the Men's. However Caren Spore has been putting in some totally sick miles on the WS Trail this year including 110 miles in 3 days at WS Training Camp. She lays low in other races but should be ready to go come race day.

Cheers, PC

Craig Thornley said...

I would like to pick Meghan to win but she's going to the World 100K in Belguim 8 days before WS. I don't see how she can run a fast 100K on the road and then come back and win WS.

Nikki obviously has been unbeatable at WS. How do you bet against her? That said, Bev has been very hungry for a WS victory and Krissy has proven herself time and again. I think the women's race for the top five is going to be as exciting as it has ever been.

Rogue Valley Runners said...

wardian guys???

a week after a road 100k??? sounds like a great taper.


PS - it all depends on how bad you want it!!

Rogue Valley Runners said...

Forgot to add,

"Where was Tiger Woods in this poll?"

Dave Mackey said...

Having run with Skaden recently, he will run well if his foot holds up. Wardian and Grossman are being underestimated.. top five for either one as they both have better pure speed than anyone out there. Hopefully they can keep it up if they are tapered.
Coin toss for the women..Nikki could be dethroned by Krissy. I pick Krissy this year.

Grae Van Hooser said...

I would like to add a few names to the list, assuming Anton & Max don't start. How about Morrison, the Wolfe boy's, and Josh Brimhall. Jasper definitely as a solid top three. Would not be surprised to see him win,at all. Would be very surprised to not see Cooper & Skaden in the top five, six, ten? Not unless they had a major issue in the race. Their past times run on race day as a predictor of how well they will do in this race, this year is somewhat irrelevant. If anything, these two guy's have proven that they are rock solid on race day and rise to the level of competition and what they need to do on that day.I also think that any one of those delinquents on the Sunsweet team will be lurking around the top ten. Especially if the weather continues to be mild as it has been for the past few month's. Although the heat doesn't seem to bother those boy's to much? AJW, those hopes of 110 degree temps in the canyon's this year might not happen for ya. We shall see.
For the women, it would take a real bad day to see Nikki lose. Everyone loses eventually, but in her case, eventually seems a long way off. I see Bev, Caren, and Krissy as solid top five, chasing Nikki to the finish. In what order? Who knows.

AJW said...


Yeah, I'm kinda bummed about the mild weather. Looks like a Course Record type year for sure. No snow and mild temps. A tactical race will be necessary and the stress in places 7-14 will be palpable. I'm thinking there will be significant place changes after the River. If you get complacent, you'll get passed.

Scott Dunlap said...

I think Jasper is the king of sandbaggers. Top 5 for sure. ;-)

Grossman has been amazing this year, and his top speed will be helpful in a cooler year. Mackey is the same, and Jurek is always up there. Those are my top picks.

Experience counts for so much on this course - Nikki and Bev have got it, and Krissy knows how to close the deal in the mountains. My guess is they finish in that order. Shelton is awesome, but I'm biased from listening to her partying escapades on the "Born to Run" audiobook this week. Holy cow! You just hope she can make it to the starting line without any mystery bruises or stitches from the night before. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Born To Run is mostly lies. Shelton will surprise.

AJW said...

Can someone tell Scott to comment? We've heard from Hal, Big Mac, Karl, hell, even Thornley. This blog is obviously the place to be:)

Masters' top-5?

Brian Morrison said...

Although I feel terribly slighted by my omission from the poll, I would agree that Hal, Scott, and Dave are the ones to beat. I'm only kidding about being left off, I'd actually prefer to be under the radar.

In response to Karl, I will say that in 2006 most everyone's times were slow, even those who had consistently run well at Western. I don't have much to compare it to personally, but that was a pretty brutal year.

rdljon said...

Brian is correct. That year was brutal and unless you were in the race, I was, you couldn't understand. Low 18 hours that day would have been a 16 hour time on a cool day. Well, on the women's top five will goes as follows Nikki, Krissy, Caren, Beverly, and Meghan. I think Jen Shelton is going to have her day but something happens when she hits the mountains. However, her Rocky Racoon time will stay in the record books for awhile. Watch out of Caren! I have seen her on the course in training and she looks very strong.

rdljon said...

I meant to say, Watch out for Caren! By the way AJW, were you serious about needing Hard Rock?

rdljon said...

Sorry again. Please!!!! No jokes about the "Needing Hard Rock" line. I think I will hear about that one for awhile. I meant to say, were you really needing a pacer? I will shut up now.

Anonymous said...

intimate course knowledge is a cutting edge to have at WS if history tells us anything. Old man strength is an equal trump card to speed at that race. Of course I'm only speculating.

- red the head like a dick on a dog! It's gonna be a good one.
enough of this dick measuring contest. Let's see who ends up first on the track.

~ Wynn

AJW said...

You are right. Course knowledge does matter. We'll see on the 27th just how much.

Anonymous said...

the more pressing business is not who will finish in the top 5 amngst women, but rather, what is jenn shelton going to wear on race day?


Anonymous said...

If history is a guide then:
1) only 4 of the top 10 at Robinson will actually finish in the top 10.
2) Neither Skaden or Cooper will be in the top 10 at Robinson, but both will finish in the top 5.
3) If Jurek starts, he'll win.

Anonymous said...

Leigh Schmidt + Grossman will represent the east coast and a dark horse rookie will make a push :-)

Anonymous said...

what is she wearing come race day?

Olga said...

Nikki, Krissy and Bev, in that order, my picks. Jurek, Dave, Hal for the men. I am thrilled to be able to see top field enveloping at most AS's while crewing top-10 hopeful Dave James!

Anonymous said...

Ok... Here's a question for you front runners. I think it's really cool to see you all in one place...

How do you attack this race.... without giving away your secrets...

Do you run this race like a track race... or do you run this race with a sub/low-16hr finish in mind...

it goes along with what everyone is saying how only 4 or the top 10 at Robinson will make the top ten...

You'd think that if you didn't stay close to the lead pack (as in a track race) that you could be giving up a win... doesn't mean you couldn't still come in second.

You could just pace yourself for a low 16hr finish and hope that someone in the lead pack doesn't have the race of his.. or her life.

In shorter races 50k 50 mile... it seems like the front runners always have their eyes on who's in the lead... but this doesn't seem to hold up in 100 miler.
finally it will be more than just 2 or 3 runners gunning for the win...
good luck everyone...


Anonymous said...

there's a certain English guy might surprise a few people, watch out!

- Apeman

james said...

darkhorse: Canadian Gary Robbins. he's super strong and can run mountains with the best
womens winner: Bev - she's been unstoppable lately

tom g said...

I think it's the year of the at-least-two-years-in-a-row bridesmaids: Erik Skaden and Bev Anderson-Abbs.

Seriously, any of the runners mentioned so far are capable of winning. Good luck to everyone.

Geoff said...

i agree with karl. the japanese dude will be up there in the mix. experience/course knowledge is important, but the dude finished third in the most competitive ultra in north america in '08 (with no knowledge of that course), i'm pretty sure that's going to put him somewhere in the mix in this run. especially considering that the two guys who beat him (carpenter and steidl) would both be strong picks for top 5 if they were running western.

AJW said...


Good to hear from you. And, it will be interesting to see how the Japanese guy who finished 3rd at NF will do. No European or Asian has been able to pull it off but there's always a first time. Of course, 50 miles is only 30% of a 100 miler:) Remember Jae Duk-Sim walking backwards down to Cal 3


AJW said...


Good to hear from you. And, it will be interesting to see how the Japanese guy who finished 3rd at NF will do. No European or Asian has been able to pull it off but there's always a first time. Of course, 50 miles is only 30% of a 100 miler:) Remember Jae Duk-Sim walking backwards down to Cal 3


Joe Kulak said...

Any comments on the 'dark horses'? Need to work up another poll.

Joe K.

Anonymous said...

Is Anton injured?If not, is Skaggs his pacer? Tough team to beat if healthy.

Anonymous said...

@ Geoff

I didn't see The Japanese Guys name listed as the 3rd place finisher at the 2008 Way Too Cool 50K? Which race are you talking about?

Geoff said...

anon, that whole 50k thing always gets me... i forget that people still count those as ultras. just kidding.

personally though i think the field at the San Francisco NF50 was stronger in the top 10 than any other race last year. wardian, miller, and koerner finished 9,10 and 11 in that race!

anyhow, the point is that i would bet that japanese guy is going to surprise some people just as he did in San Fran. Mackey's still my pick for the win though.

AJW, good luck out there... don't hold anything back, it's not like you have anything big coming up after western :)

Paul Charteris said...

This April, Kaburaki Tsuyoshi finished The North Face China 100k in 6:52:20. I know nothing about the course, but I suspect it was a trail race with some hills. He was 22 minutes ahead of 2nd place. His time would have earned him a top-3 spot at last years 100k world cup. He was 4th at UTMB last year also.

He certainly seems to have talent, but as many have alluded to, western states has a history of beating up talented foreigners.

Cheers, PC

Tony Lafferty said...

The womens race is for Nikki to lose. Caren Spore has been running well when I see her on the states trail..she could be in the mix as a dark horse. With limited info and only seeing how she dropped at a few races in the mtns..Jenn Shelton is not on my top 5 womens list. While one fast 100 on a flat course is great it has yet to yield further results in mtn races. Just my opinion. Her day may come but not this year. Needs a bit more seasoning till that happens. If she suprises my hat is off to her...still gonna be a nice day watching this all unfold.

Rogue Valley Runners said...

Easy Scott, don't let over sensationalized writing get the best of you.

I mean I know I have read of one ultrarunner that is still trying to clean the vomit from the dash in his Lexus after a rough Way too Cool.

That book describes some escapades from years past, the only thing Shelton has done excessively is mileage. I see nothing short of top 3 and she will be ready hang with those beat up, knicked, scraped up other gals.


PS - Can the East Coast REPRESENT!!!

Matt Hart said...

i will admit to not being as knowledgeable as most who posted on all these runners.

i think i'd pick jurek under normal circumstances, but he's had some plantar lately. with the info i have i'm picking dave mackey for the win.

as for the girls it seems like bev is on fire and more fit than ever.. poised to finally take it to nikki. but i'm picking krissy for the win.

i'll go out on a limb on one prediction here: 1/2 of the guys listed here will not finish this race. any way you cut it it's going to be awesome!

AJW said...

Hang on a sec Hart, Jurek's got plantar? How bad? The guy is certainly tough but that injury can be tougher...

Dave Mackey said...

Anita Ortiz. I revise my women's predictions to include Anita Ortiz for the W. Any runner who is a multiyear member of the US Mt running team and almost beat Kami Semick at this year's Miwok has to be a favorite. If it is hot, Nikki wins; cooler temps, Anita or Krissy.

Gary Robbins said...

You know it's taper time when you find yourself on here five times a day just hoping there's been more comments in these streams!
Agreed on picking Krissy for the win especially since as of right now temps are not looking like they will get out of control.
No snow, decent temps, perfect for us Canucks:)

AJW said...

Gary, Thanks for checking in. Yeah, looks like my hope for a hot day will have to wait another year. So, here's my advice, go really hard early so you can get a PR. Anybody who gets to Robinson Flat after 9:30 has pretty much no chance at top-10:)

Gary Robbins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary Robbins said...

HAHA, how bout I just try to follow you for the first 1/2 and see what's left in the tank from there!
Like I told Karl already, I'm not even racing, just out to enjoy the scenery:)

Anonymous said...

Gary that sounds like a comment from a man who doesn't want to wear a bullseye on his back. I know you didn't do all that hard training just so you could come down and enjoy some scenery. Whoever wins it'll be well deserved. Looking forward to see how it all plays out. Good luck to everyone.

Speedgoat Karl said...

The only thing I have to say is: It's gonna be hot. Dont' try and predict the weather calling it a mild year. The heat can return with a little "southern flow". Any weatherman who predicts the weather more than 3 days out, is a wannabee. :-) Jurek, Mackey and Koerner, all the way!

Anonymous said...

The temps are going to return to normal by later on next week. There's plenty of time for a heatwave to lockdown on the valley and into the Sierra.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about Chikara OMINE ? 6h15 at Quicksilver, amazing new record. From France, Benoit LAVAL will attempt to take place in top 20.

jenn said...

Come on now, Nikki is the favorite. To my knowledge (and I'm sure someone is going to run through their personal, color-coded archives here to prove me wrong at the Barnyard 5K) none of us have ever beaten a healthy Nikki. Ever. At any distance. Show the girl some respect.
As for me, Born to Run is right. I've decided that real runners train by reading Beat poetry and drinking handles of tequila.

Speedgoat Karl said...

Correct me if I'm right, but Chikara is yet to throw down a fast hundred? Fast 50 doesn't equal fast hundred.

bummer on the injured folks. I'd take their place.

Sri said...

Leigh Schmitt will be in top 10 if not in top 5.

Anonymous said...

Jenn, think you're not wrong, but right good. We know Nikki in France, and we all say in choir :
"Nice Nikky is the best !".

But so do we know, Krissy ! Cause Krissy won the first utmb in 2003. Krissy and Nikky were the only american winners through the French Mountains.

With the men, Tsuyoshi KABURAGI is a huge competitor. We saw him in 2008, fourth "au tour du Mont-Blanc". But I dont think he's able to beat Dave or Hal or Scott, if Jurek run his best, on that american race.

My bet :
1. Dave
2. Hal
3. Scott
4. Eric
5. Erik
6. Tsu
7. Chikara
8. Leigh
9. Lon
10. Jasper
11. Mike

Anonymous said...

From Aaron Sorensen

I got a chance to see Bev run at the Diablo 50 on the hottest day of the year.
She was awesome.
I would love to see her have a top 3 for the women.

Someone has some big balls out there to not put both Skaden and Cooper in the top 5.
Something is bound to happen to at least one of the top 5 pushing too hard, but Skaden and Cooper are cool as ice out there.
They push a pace they know they can, and it gets them to the finish.
Another 100 miler to them is like a hard training run in there books.

I was also there when Chikara ran his first 100 miler at the SF One Day with a sub 16 hour time.
Not a dark-horse in my book for the 100, but hopefully a top ten?

He has so much talent and on a 50k to 100k without too much elevation he can tear it up.
He would always be a top 5 in my book in those types of races.

So here is a question for everyone.

What place over-all do you think the top woman will come in?

It is always nice to see how many men that are on the top 10 list get slayed by the amazing women that will be there.

Good Luck to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have got 5 in the 10 ! But Kevin SULLIVAN ... very difficult to find !
What a beautiful race and winner ! Thanks for that great day of sport !

Anonymous said...

No one gave the Japanese competitor, Tsuyoshi Kaburagi, any respect. Well, there you go. He gutted it out for a very comptetive 2nd place.

Maybe now he will get the respect he deserved all along.

Anonymous said...

Oh no (Yoko Ono), I said Tsu in sixth position (look before). We know in France that Kaburagi is a pretty good competitor (4th in 2008 utmb) !

Anonymous said...

Point taken, but you're French. So you don't qualify! :)

Also though, sixth is only marginal respect.

The guy took 2nd and lost to who now appears to be the premier 100 miler in the U.S., and defending Western States champion.

And Kaburagi gutted it out in a close race for 2nd which included 3 other runners, who all came in behind him when it came to crunch time. (Not to take anything away from these other three amazing runners.)

I'd say Kaburagi deserves massive "American" respect now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for point taken !

Not only for french touch of eyes, 2009 WS100 race was terrible. American runners Jurek, Mackey and Koerner only wanted victory. And they fought to death ! And the result was : two of the three "died". I really think that Jurek and Mackey were better than Tsu, Jez or Kevin. But not with Koerner in their legs.

Anonymous said...


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