Friday, December 16, 2011

"Unbreakable" Comments

Saw "Unbreakable" last weekend and loved it. From my perspective, it's the best Western States movie so far. "Desperate Dreams" is a cult classic, "Running Madness" and "Race for the Soul" were nice human interest documentaries but "Unbreakable" took the genre to the next level. Now, I'd love to see JB make a Hardrock film!

Two things I'd like to add that may strike some as nitpicky but I need to get them off my chest so here goes.

1. In the part when Geoff came through in the snow and changed out his bottles with his dad and brother I am pretty sure he was outside the aid station boundary going into Robinson Flat. Again, I know it's a minor detail but I also know that WS cares alot about the rules. And, it is clearly one of their rules that runners can only be crewed at established aid stations. I am not suggesting in any way that anything should be done about it rather that it was something I noticed that could be perceived as a violation of the rules.

2. In both the Foresthill section and the Green Gate section I saw at least two runners being muled by their pacers. Now, it is clearly stated in the WS rule book that you can be "crewed" anywhere in these areas but muling is prohibited. There has always been a blurry line here as often bottles and gels and stuff are getting passed back and forth but blatant muling (pacers carrying the runner's stuff) is expressly against the rules.

So, maybe an unintended consequence of this great film and the close-up exposure JB and his crew gave to the runners in the race is that it showed some aspects of the race that could cause WS obsessives like me to question. Again, I am not saying anything can or should be done about this and, it goes without saying that the film will provide excellent exposure to the sport, but still...


Derrick said...

Guess Geoff needs to return his prize money;)

Local Mind Media said...

Rules are rules. I'm sure it's pretty widespread. I saw it at hardrock (muling) and actually even brownie carried one of my broken z-poles to the finish for me (I was delerious and out of it). Difficult to police when you're out on a remote trail.

Anonymous said...

I think it is safe to say that you have just started a shit-storm! Things are going to interesting, can't wait to follow the drama.

AJW said...


You actually hit the nail on the head. It is difficult to police and I imagine that pretty much forever some muling has gone on and some aid outside of aid stations has gone on and nobody has seen it, noticed it, or even cared about it. But here we are now at a place in a sport at certain races where there are camera crews chasing us around. Not all of us, of course, but some of us. And usually those crews are chasing the leaders. So, what they do and how they behave could, conceivably, be under a different set of "rules" when viewed by different (ie the masses) eyes and interpreted in different ways.

Look, I don't intend to stir up trouble here as this is a great film about a truly great race. The point I am trying to make is that as the sport grows and evolves we need to be aware that people are watching (not just obsessives like me) and we need to be aware of the impact of our decisions. In this case it's a couple things I noticed in a film, go over to UltraSignUp and you'll see an interesting thread by some folks who've taken a pretty deep dive on the WS lottery and I am sure there are others analyzing every detail of everything because those details are available to us now.

OK, I'll shut up. I promise that as I continue to recover from this injury I won't be writing as much.

The Running Gator said...

I think you are on the right track though. Nothing wrong with stating it AJW. Many people participate in these events because of their passion for running. Going outside the rules of the race defies the principle of why such an event is there in the first place.
Your passion for the sport is why you are nitpicky AJW, so I can appreciate your opinion about this.

Aaron Spurlock said...

Definitely nitpicky. Fairly insignificant in regards to overall time or ranking. Perhaps even petty.
Yet, I hafta agree on this one. Especially in light of some of the recent chatter about big purse "championship" style races. Im all for the evolution of high profile races and cant wait to see how it all plays out but sooner or later this is sure to be an issue, especially as more prize money becomes involved. Everyone, especially the "elites", should be expected to comply with the rules or face a time penalty of some sort.
I recall hearing a story about Hans-Dieter Weisshaar being DQ'd for dropping a banana peel which was considered littering. Silly? Yes. Fair? Yup.
The race directors get to make the rules and the racers should have the dignity to follow them as best they can and accept the consequences for breaking them.

Aaron Spurlock said...

(aka)Darthrunner :)

trail pug said...

if rules aren't going to be followed to the letter of the law, and common sense will prevail, brian morrison should at least be seen as a 2006 finisher if not victor. technicalities...

Matt said...

This is worse than what I asked a few months ago, requesting some clrification with Geoff when he called 2011 one of his most enjoyable years of running ever.

Onto your point about the rules in a grassrootsy sport defined by it's common sense and unconventionality, i.e., its informality...this post is like your DNF discourse, meant to just piss people off (or get them "thinking"), yet couched in your ever so harmless joviality.

Speedgoat Karl said...

Gee, how do we fix the "muling issue". Perhaps a few races in the states should NOT ALLOW PACERS? What a concept eh? A pacer is a mule in my opinion, whether they carry anything or not. Why do we need pacers anyway. I haven't used one since 2004, when I realized it was wrong. It took me way too long to figure that out. At least at Steamboat, elite runners can't use pacers. I think we eliminate crew too..make it real.

Roland said...

Totally agree Karl!!

LK said...

Bravo, Karl! Running a 100 without pacer and crew is a completely different experience. Bet it would cut down on lottery entrants, too! :)

Olga said...

Bingo on eliminating pacers and may be even crews (well, may be make them spectators at a couple of major points behind the ropes). Not only we could lighten up the lottery loads, it would be truly a competition for real. How many times you read in race reports "and then my pacer came along, and I revived, and we pushed and passed, and the pace quickened..." If the rules state "no help", probably plenty of folks would never try to go for a 100, so may be not everywhere, but then again, why would one claim to make it all the way through a 100 if there is a chance they might have not could there be no crew/pacer (or at least not in time that is claimed)?
But I digress. With all that, I do think, Andy, this post is kind of petty and behind the back? Have you contacted Geoff and/or those other two you're mentioning first to tell them? The board (which is now in an uncomfortable position to say the least with possible decision to make what to do with such new information)? By the way, I am not on a Roes wagon or even had seen the movie. Nor do I use pacers or crew anymore (like Karl, it took me a couple of years to figure out). But that's kind of low to my taste and useless to announce.

Billy said...

Agreed it was a great film. No comment on the other stuff.

Brett said...

AJW, Tim said it best. Rules are rules. It doesn't matter if someone gained time from it, or ended up actually being less efficient and lost time. A rule is a rule. Its always good to stir the pot.

John said...

I think Pacers for people who aren't in the mix to win is probably okay. At the very least the Pacer can prevent the runner from getting lost.

In regards to crew...I think they need to at a minimum be limited. It's one thing to have one or two people handing you a bottle or two at an aid's something else entirely when you have a small army of folks helping you through the race...I thought that was what the volunteers were for..

Anonymous said...

Andy: Thanks for hosting the film screening at TFS! It was amazing to watch it with a group of excited trail runners.

Geoff said...

when you say that you're "pretty sure" my crew was outside of the aid station boundary what are you basing that on?

the aid station "boundary" for WS is 200 yards. that's half a lap around a track. i'm not saying that my crew measured how far they were from the aid station, but i'm sure it wasn't even close to 200 yards. as i recall it was about 15 or 20 seconds running time between the aid station and my crew. 200 yards at 100 mile race pace would be about a full minute or more. yes, they weren't right in the middle of the main aid station area, but they were nowhere near 200 yards away, and thus well within the race regulation.

if you're going to stir the pot over something that you yourself call nitpicky, the least you could do is be accurate.

Olga said...

John, if the runner is getting lost, the runner is not ready for this 100. That runner may very well be ready for a 100 at Rocky or Umstead or Lean horse, and that's great! But navigation is help, is it not?
Geoff's point of the use of words: "pretty sure" is not enough to make acusations, agreed.

AJW said...

Ryan, are you suggesting that for some reason I cannot post whatever I like on this blog? I thought that was the whole idea of blogs. It's not like I'm a writer/journalist or anything. In fact, I'm just another working stiff with a wife, three kids, a dog and a mortgage. The fact that people read what I post here is entirely up to them.

And, thanks for the suggestion but I read more than enough books.

AJW said...


Your dad and brother may very well have been within 200 yards of the Robinson Flat Aid Station and if they were I, of course, sincerely apologize for suggesting otherwise.

However, allow me to add a few observations:

The flow of the film (the plot, if you will) suggested that your crew were waiting for you in the snowy meadow area about 1/2 mile before the aid station. (This was the flattish place where the video crew filmed many other runners cresting the hill on the way into Robinson Flat) The film crew depicted your brother and dad looking into the distance as if they were awaiting your arrival at the aid station (again, this is the way the flow of the film made it appear). It would, as you know, be a violation of the race rules if they crewed you there as it clearly says crews cannot aid runners until they have entered the aid station and cleared the medical check. However, if, indeed, they crewed you after you departed the aid station boundary (the place where the ham radio guys report each runner as checking out) then there was no rule violation. And that brings me to the major point of the post:

I did not mean to suggest that you disobeyed the rules (although I admit that the location where the film showed your brother and father standing appeared to be outside of the 200 yard radius the race requires). Rather, I meant to point out that the film, and the seemingly omnipresent role of the film crews at the race, served to hold you (and Kilian, Hal, and Anton) to a different standard then the rest of us. Furthermore, the fact that the race was documented in such a detailed way gave viewers a picture of the race and the racers that has never been seen before.

I know that for the mid-packers they can be muled, crewed out of aid station or even given rides in cars if they want to and nobody would know or care. But for you guys, the rules are obviously different. That, in the end, was my point.


PS -- I know your dad and like him very much (we had some great times at UROC together). If he is upset or angry about this, as I mentioned him specifically in my post, please have him get in touch with me directly at

Jasper Halekas said...

Andy, I happen to agree on the muling issue/ I've personally seen front-runners doing it, and I think it's straight out cheating. However, I'm surprised to see you make a fuss about these infractions, but not all the other B.S. that goes on at WS. How 'bout the total joke that is "Special Consideration" (which actually means that the RD adds whoever they want whenever they want with no regard for how the rules are written)?

AJW said...

Jasper, I actually do make a fuss about the Special Consideration issue. It's just that it's all behind closed doors. If it ever showed up on a major documentary film, you can bet I'd comment. This year was a great example. Within five days of the lottery a bunch of new names just appeared on the entrants list.

And, we miss you out on the trails. Your 2009 race was one of the great ones (we miss Sully, too)

Jasper Halekas said...

Behind closed doors makes it that much worse!!!

Muling is kind of equivalent, IMHO. But as to muling, I'm with Karl - ban pacers!

I miss the trails and all you guys too, but the knee never came back from that 2009 WS, sadly

Dave Mackey said...

I was muled at WS in 2004.. I admit it and my pacer who is a looong time 100 ultrarunner acknowledged "everyone does it". He carried my bottles and fed me all through Cal street. I bet most top 10 do it every year.
AJW thank you for bringing the subject up, I challenge you my friend to admit that you have muled at WS 100 or broken a rule, since you opened this worm can. If you have never received aid or never gone outside an aid boundary, just say so so I can know this is a level playing field.
The wink and a nod stuff really bothers me, especially when is selectively enforced, like when Brian Morrison was DQ'ed. Why make a rule anyway if it is unenforcable?
If muling is not allowed at Hardrock, then there are several instances on blogs from this year where runners Dq'ed themselves because of their depictions of how their pacers helped them.

AJW said...


I can think of a few occasions over the years at WS where I have been given a gel or an S! Cap by my pacer. Usually, it was something like, "hey, you need an S! Cap, I'm taking one now?", "Or, I have a vanilla gel if you want one." I do carry my own food and bottles although I have, on occasion, had my pacer run 10 or so yards ahead of me into an aid station with my empty bottles to begin filling them.

Now, about the areas of the course where runners can be "crewed"; those have always been a topic of debate between me and other WS obsessives. Think about that section from the bottom of Bath Road to the beginning of Cal Street, it's almost 2 miles where runners can be crewed. Or how about the climb up from the River to Green Gate? That's almost three miles. Does crewing there mean you can have people carry your stuff? Heck, according to the rules, you can have five people running along with you in those sections like a NASCAR pit crew. I have always thought that if people carried your stuff in those sections it was muling.

I agree with you, to an extent, about the "everybody does it" defense although I also know that other sports (professional cycling, for example) have been damaged by such an attitude. It would be interesting to hear from other runners on that topic especially those who have run the race pacer-less and crew-less.

And, the Morrison situation is appropriate to mention in the context of my post, as well. As I said earlier, my point in commenting on my observations of the film was to suggest that the four runners depicted were held to a different and more rigorous standard than the rest of us as a result of the exposure they received by the film crews. In the case of Morrison, obviously, when he received aid and physical support in plain view of hundreds of people the organizers of the race were forced to do something. But, had he been carried a mile up a deserted trail in the middle of the night through the woods with nobody watching would the result have been the same?

Finally, I agree that rules that are unenforceable are, by their very nature, ambiguous and questionable. It's kind of like what we teach kids about the speed limit, "Lots of people drive faster than 55 miles an hour and only some of them get caught." It seems to me that as ultrarunning grows and brand exposure, prize money, and media attention become more prevalent that circumstances like this may occur more often.

Jasper Halekas said...

I had a long conversation with my wife (a mid-packer) about this thread last night. I related to her some of the notable competitive ultrarunners I have personally seen being muled for during races. She was shocked and saddened, which I think is the response we should all have. She described to me being at a race and telling her pacer not to grab her a cookie at an aid station because it would be muling. I wish all top runners were so honest.

People, muling is cheating. It is explicitly against the rules at every major race except Leadville. It is no more or less cheating than getting into a car and skipping a mile of the race. It is no different than cutting switchbacks - and I seem to remember a big old hubbub when we found out that some European runners did that. Why is it okay that "everybody does it"? I call bullshit that because it is an unenforceable rule we shouldn't follow it. Where are your morals, people?

And, if it's really true that most of the top ten at WS get muled for, then that race is tainted in my eyes. I knew about some people, but I didn't think it was most. Frankly, it drastically lowers my opinion of anyone who has done it, and that includes you Dave. Props for admitting it on a public forum, but maybe you should contact the WS board and ask to be taken off of the 2004 results if you really want to show some class.

Anonymous said...

This has blown up as I thought it would when I first read this post. These comments are turning more towards morality now which I guess I dont completely understand due to the context of AJW's post. I understand that all AJW was doing was watching the film, saw something that he thought may be in violation of the rules and stated it on his blog. That's it. He may be wrong which is completely human and the only person he would owe an explanation to is Geoff (which I'm assuming they took care of amongst themselves).

Knocking AJW as a person is really unnecessary. Get back to the main focus of the post and that is the issue of muling and flaws in the rules of WS100. I think Dave made a great point asking AJW to admit of some rule breaking if he was willing to open the can of worms on it and of course he did.

As for what I think the post is related to, muling and pacers, I think they should get rid of it. Have the runner carry their own things, no pacers! I think it would certainly make things more interesting and really hold true to the "grassroots" theme of our sport. Just you and the mountains, no pacers no help except what you can carry and grab at the stations. I think thats the beauty of the sport, seclusion with just you and your thoughts out there. You really dont need a pacer, just go out and run your heart out. You'll either get to the finish or not but at least when you get to the finish it will be all on you!

Wyatt Hornsby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wyatt Hornsby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

A lot of defense for what Andy has said. Granted, he brings-up a good point about suggesting a rule change to perhaps alleviate some confusion on the 100 race course. But he stepped in it, no doubt; and those defending his great ethos for the enhancement of the sport, I call grand BULL SHIT.

As someone has already pointed-out, he dug out of his hole responding to some reader comments, but this was NOT part of the original post:

his post does not even whiff the difference between elite vs. rest of the field scrutiny, in terms of rules enforcement. That was brought-up by someone else. In other words, someone threw him a bone.

His post is all about, primarily, calling Geoff Roes a cheater.

Any other read is illiterate.

His "observations" are sandwiched between these two gems:

"Two things I'd like to add that may strike some as nitpicky but I need to get them off my chest so here goes."

Then. . .

"Again, I am not saying anything can or should be done about this and, it goes without saying that the film will provide excellent exposure to the sport, but still..."

Geoff and anyone with an ounce of objectivity sees the cheap-shot accusation here. Stand-up and take it, Andy. You said it.

Furthermore, the one calling for Dave Mackey to notify WS100 about his muling in order to have his name removed from the 2004 records is even a bigger pile of BULLSHIT.

Let me get this straight: a couple of "authorities" in the sport are calling Geoff Roes and Dave Mackey cheaters? Really?

Boooooooooo. You're both fired.

Andy's blog is a major forum for this esteemed 100 trail discourse. Like it or not, what Andy says and what transpires here in these comments says a lot about what is happening in this 100 trail sport.

For you, Jasper, it took Andy calling Geoff a cheater, (and a talk with your wife) for you to see how troubling is all of this muling? Really?

Great stuff, guys.

Jasper Halekas said...


Nice post. I never said anything about Geoff - no idea what's going on there. Dave admitted that he was muled for. I think that's cheating. And it didn't take this blog post or a chat with my wife to be troubled by that. But those did make me think about again it for the first time in awhile (I've been out of running for a few years) and provided some interesting data points.

So, I guess you think it's cool if people break the rules, as long as "everyone does it"?


AJW said...


I never once in any of these conversations about the film/race said Geoff or Dave were cheaters. Rather, I made an observation about a film I saw in which it appeared as though there was a rule violation. I had no hidden agenda in this observation nor did I have any desire to damage the reputation of a runner (or runners) that I respect and admire immensely (both Geoff and Dave know how much I repsect them as runners and as people). Rather, I intended to point out that the race (Western States in particular and trail 100's in general) need to get their collective acts together to protect the runners from this sort of thing.

Look, everyone's seeing this movie and a bunch of people are talking about the muling, aid outside of aid stations, etc...that took place on that day. It's just the way it unfolded and JB got it all on tape. We need to get our act together, is all I'm saying. Maybe you, TrailMatt, can help?

Freebird said...

Why have so many comments be deleted by AJW?

Jen said...

Hey guys,
JB's pretty upset about this, so let me comment.
As JB's wife and producer of the film and as a fellow ultrarunner, I find this whole thing a bit disturbing. While AJW, you are correct, that you have every right to comment on whatever you see fit on your blog, I find the controversy that is ensuing a bit crazy. Do you honestly think these runners can't the get the job done without crews... I agree with your premise of wanting to look closer at the rules, but associating this with the film is beyond inappropriate.
To further clarify, Geoff's father and brother had never been to an ultra before and as you can tell were quite clueless on how to even help Geoff. I'd argue they actually slowed him down- the water bottle you saw him recieve at Robinson was 1) within 200 yards of the aid station and 2) was empty causing Geoff to have to stop anyway to fill the bottle. Wow- lots of muling happening there.
Or perhaps everyone is in a huffy over the fact that Jenn handed Tony 2 ounces of water to pour on his head on Bath street (One,she wasn't his pacer at the time- just a crew member and two, that is allowed- read the rules before you make comment- See WS100 crew rules- Section 6, Rule 4.1. Really? Yes, really.
3) While the film is a documentary, it is a movie and scenes are edited, or re-arranged to open shots for whats next. I.e., why there is such confusion about the Robinson scene- the shot of the meadow is what we call an opening scene- it establishes where you are in the timeline and doesn't follow the exact location of the aid station.
Finally, did anyone consider that this film took 18 months to make, tens of thousands of dollars out of our own pocket to produce and all that can be said about it was that yeah it was great but now Geoff is cheating when he wasn't, thereby trumping all the efforts we put into this film and the runners amazing accmomplishments that day.

We are trying to give you all something amazing to watch to show you the genuine people these runners are aside from being incredible athletes. Two hours of never before seen footage and this is what we get over two shots? Wow!

Olga said...

Jen, I haven't seen the movie, but from the scenes and from previous JB's work, I am sure it's awesome. More importantly, it does give us ultrarunners something to drool over as it's so close to heart. For that - thanks.
And, for the comment, wow, yours brought a new light to my already disappointment - indeed that is a sad way to talk about a film of this kind by AJW who was invited for a sneak preview. And still behind the back.

Derrick said...

Looking forward to seeing the film Jen... for all the right reasons that it was intended. Just pre-ordered a copy.

_Eric_ said...

My copy is in the mail! I can't wait to see the movie, I also got the movie about the great Marco Olmo

ThaMessenjah said...

I've only seen the trailer and think it looks awesome. People need to keep in mind that AJW was just making an observation, not a critique, of the film. Last time I checked AJW did not stand for Ebert or Roper.

@Jen and @JB don't listen to a lot of the criticism that is going on. I was a journalism major in college and know the toll it can take on a person/family to shoot/edit, re-edit, re-edit, re-edit and produce a finished product. I just hope that JB and the talent are pleased with the finished product. I am waiting until after Christmas to order my copy.

wuzbee said...

At the core this seems to turn on the interpretation of what "crews may assist runners" means. I've wondered specifically about Bath Rd, Green Gate (and Robie for that matter) for a long time. The _pacer_ rules prohibit muling, of course, but the _crewing_ rules explicitly talk about "ensuring" preferred food and drink, changes of clothing, etc. and the areas where assistance is allowed are clearly defined as including those stretches of the course.

I've always avoided having anyone carry anything for me along those sections or even exchanging anything other than at the aid stations on either end, but I've wondered if I was doing myself a disservice - I mean, if you can continuously crew me anywhere in there, why can't I hand you trash, trade empties for fulls, drink (or dump) them and trade again, exchange clothing items, get sunscreen rubbed on me etc? Any point along that stretch is effectively an aid (crew) station, and there's no language that says you have to stop running to accept the aiding.

Having said all that, I think there's still a spirit vs. letter issue, one that might be tough to codify in a written rule. Specifically: My full bottle that I'm taking swigs off of?..I probably shouldn't be able to keep passing that back to you to carry for me. But, if I have a bottle (or coke or whatever) and I drain it halfway up, perhaps I should then be able to hand it permanently back to you or trade you for a full one (a crewing action). But it's not that simple - what if I want some coke and now I want some gatorade and now I want to throw up and now I want some icewater - how fast can I change my mind?

If I give a crew member my pack at the river, and take it back at the Green Gate, how is that fundamentally different from me leaving a pack in my drop bag at the river and being handed a new one by my crew at the top? The only difference really is my crewmember had to lug it up there, and get up to the top ahead of me. Granted not everyone has a crew able to do that, but then you're heading down the path of no crews at all and I think involving friends and family and other runners in the event is a major, legitimate part of the worthwhileness of the whole thing to begin with. On the other hand I wouldn't feel right having you carry my pack but then me taking it back every 2 minutes to root around in it for something. On the other other hand, whatever I wanted from my pack you might have in the crew backpack and be able to hand it to's a mess no matter how you look at it.

Maybe that's the point of the rule as written, that with so many supporters around at those key access points, all kinds of variations are going to happen (none of which are really going to confer a huge advantage, especially since everyone else can do the same thing), so they are basically saying you can do whatever, it's only a few miles total - sort of like the feed zone/mechanical pit in a cyclocross race (except no free laps :-), or the pit in a car race.

I think for simplicity an interpretation that anything goes (short of physical assistance that moves you forward) in those "giant aid stations" might allow people to avoid feeling like others were cheating, but it does need some clarification. The alternative is to eliminate the free-crewing zones, which would be fine with me as well, but the former would be much easier to enforce, since you wouldn't need to enforce anything - again, that's perhaps where it came from in the first place - we need a historian to chime in.

trail pug said...

today's the day pre-orders shipped; i can't wait to get mine! i honestly thought ajw was joking with his original post; like one of his epic april fool's day entries. ajw, maybe you should take the post down and re-post it on 4/1!

Brett said...

Ducking back in a few days later and man - some great comments from a whole range of folks.

I still contend that no matter where you fall on the spectrum for how you feel about the original post or the comments...really it never hurts to stir the pot. I think its healthy to air all these topics.

In the interest of full disclosure, when I ran 50 miles yesterday I didn't have any muling. But I did send a pacer up the road to a grocery store to buy a bag of potato chips for me. Its the least that bastard could do since he couldn't get me a milkshake.

Burt said...

All due respect to "stirring the pot" but it does hurt when it drags another person down.


I do not understand why you would post something so controversial (allowing yourself to be seen as taking a cheap shot at Geoff) without having verified with Geoff or JB (the movie's creator) if, in fact, Geoff's crew violated the rules or if this simply was a function of the flim's edit. You could have easily clarified this definitively before posting such damaging innuendo.

Stirring the pot at the expense of another's reputation does, in fact, cause hurt.

Brett said...

Burt - I did not mean to imply there are no victims in stirring the pot. I just believe that good can always come from anything. Maybe thats a more clear and thorough discussion of the rules. Maybe its people learning to be more careful in the future before they hit the submit button (on both posting a blog entry and in posting comments).

Anonymous said...

im going to stick up for ajw here. ive followed his blog for some time,and one things certain,his passionate with a capital p!
sometimes his passion gets the better of him and he jumps straight in. i cant believe anyone who knows him is going to hold this one against him.
alot has been said and im im sure if andy would of thought of the things jen said in her comment,he would never of done the post.

TrailClown said...

See how the "evolution of the sport" is related to the type of posts we are now seeing? I've been on many runner blogs for the past several months trying to warn people, doomsday is here. Now I've got to find a new sport...Maybe badminton...

Scott Dunlap said...

Ah, AJW. The mad stirrer.

Jen and JB, don't forget the first rule of media - any press is good press. A little controversial discourse is only going to sell a few more units. I actually thought AJW had written this specifically for that reason!


Mike Bailey said...

Well, I know for a fact I didn't break a single rule at Western States this year. No crew and no pacer. Perhaps photographic and video evidence will DQ the 138 runners that finished ahead of me. For all I know, maybe I actually won the darn thing! :-)

sharmanian said...

This is a whole can of worms, but my 2 cents is that I assumed everyone sticks to the rules exactly. Coming into Green Gate this year I ran out of water for a mile and was seriously thirsty/slightly delirious as a result but didn't use anything from my pacer as I know it's not allowed. That probably cost me enough minutes to be 10th instead of 7th. Not that I'm suggesting anyone cheated - just saying what I do personally. The rules seem very anal at WS in general but by turning up I'm agreeing to play by them.

Jasper Halekas said...

Ian, very well put. In a sport where minutes matter, little things can be significant. Could someone who broke a seemingly small rule have finished the race anyway? Sure, but that's not really the question. Might they have gained a few minutes by that infraction? In the case of muling, absolutely. Could that make a difference in the results? You bet. Is that fair to someone who followed the rules to the letter? Absolutely not.

Ryne Melcher said...

Just so I'm clear on the Western States rules. If you have your crew/family do anything for you outside of 200 yards of the aid station its considered muling? And does that include Cal Street? Are crew and family allowed to run down the street with you outside that 200 yard allotment handing you stuff and carrying bottles for you?

Thanks in advance!

Scott said...

From the WS Rule Book for Crews.

Crews must stay within a 200-yard radius of the aid station while attending to their runners.

Exceptions: Crews may assist runners:

1) from the foot of Bath Road to the intersection of Foresthill Road and California Street;

2) from the Rucky Chucky -- far side -- Aid Station to Green Gate;

3) from Robie Point to the finish line.

Crews may assist runners in designated areas at the aid stations located on both sides of the Rucky Chucky river crossing, providing they have arrived there on foot.

Unknown said...

Now you're backpedalling with long comments to clear your name. Instead you might have simply admitted it was a mistake to say what you had said in a way you put it. Is this supposed to be a manifestation of the highly praised community spirit in ultrarunning milieu? Looks more like a sign of corporation mindset.

rules are rules said...

Let's not forget Brian Morrison's DQ in '06 when he received outside assistance after falling numerous times on the trail and track, stripping him of a win.

Rules are rules.

fatozzig said...

I just really liked the movie and am watching it for a second time already. I think JB and his crew did an excellent job showing what a lot of us wished we'd been able to witness ourselves. We (my runner's crew) saw the front runners at the start and when they went through Robinson Flat. After that, we had to be satisfied with word of mouth and Internet updates from my friend's house sitter. For me, it was very moving to be able to watch what we'd only heard about and get commentary from the guys as to how the race unfolded for them, their emotions, etc.

Thank you, JB, Jenn, and the rest of the folks for giving those of us who can only dream of running WS a chance to witness an incredible part of this event's history.

Jay said...

Ian - admirable that you didn't take fluid from your pacer. I think in the spirit of racing, that should be allowed. This is not a race to see who can carry the right items or stock the appropriate items in a pack / handheld. Everything else about this sport favors sportsmanship and competition working together.

If a leader falls while running alongside other leaders, do you stop or wait? I have read a few blogs, including one recently from TNF50 where a leader fell and was helped by a competitor. If I were successful like many of you chiming in, I would want to beat the best when they were at their best.

This would mean sharing water if necessary (didn't Geoff and/or Tony offer water to Killian?). Is it okay for a competitor to give S! caps, gels, or water? I am not advocating setting up crew stops where not allowed but rather ensuring the field is competing in the spirit of the rules.

I think, to Karl's point, if there are pacers they are going to help. Either you have them or your don't - trying to police what happens while out on the trail is too tough. For this particular race, it isn't as though they are carrying a huge pack (eg, Leadville) for the runner.

GZ said...

So here we are three years later and Andy posts this back to his tweet feed. I agree - interesting convo. Has anything changed?

AJW said...

Thanks GZ! Has anything changed? It was fun to re-read the comment thread and it's informative given the recent discourse. Anyone?