Western States 100 Questionnaire

Posted by relhats in Blog, Commentary on Nov 11, 2011

On the eve of the WS100 entry application, we thought it would be interesting to gage runners’ interest, thoughts, and general view of the race, so an informal comment-style questionnaire follows along with my answers. (just copy questions and write over my answers).

1) Do you want to run Western States?

-yes and no.  It’s like spoiled milk in the fridge; you know it’s not what you want to do but you sniff it anyway just to see what it’s like.

2) Why/why not?

-Yes, because then I can comment on it with base knowledge and experience and not just sound like some windbag armchair WS basher.

3) Are you entering the lottery?

-Yes. (not holding my breath on getting in)

4) What do you like or dislike about WS100?

-Like – history and challenge.  I’ve heard it’s amazing and I’ve heard it’s over-hyped and not that interesting.  Dislike – Entry fee.  Old boys network.  The event’s general exclusive attitude and feel.

5) Should the WS board allow (invite!) Karl Meltzer to the race?  Why/why not?

-Hell yes.  The man is a legend.  How can you have such a “wonderful” event and not have a legend run it?

6) Anyone else think it’s odd that the qualifying events (Montrail Cup) are not representational of racing 100 miles?

-I sure do.  As Karl pointed out today on irunfar’s employee, AJW’s post today, a 100 is like three 50s.  It’s like using a 10k to qualify for Boston.

7) What is the most annoying thing about the event?  Hype (like this post)? Elitism? Entry fee?  Smoke and mirrors of the entry/lottery process?

-All the above. 

8) Here’s a fun one… Will the US get crushed again this year in the race?

-I’ll say no because Salomon probably will move on and find something else to dominate.  Business is done there.

9) What are some other 100s you believe are better and why?  Terrain?  Entry?  Direction?  Lack of or more competition?  Nicer schwag?

-Having not done WS, I can only say which 100s in my small experience I like:  HARDROCK, Grand Mesa was a tough bastard too.

10) What are you going to do when you don’t get selected in the lottery?  Grumble online?  Sigh and have a beer?  Write a constructive letter to the WS board outlining the unethical and unfair entry process and what they should do about it?  Run another 100 in June?

-Hopefully be focused on Hardrock. (probably grumble online a bit too).

Have a good weekend, follow along at Javelina 100.  The field is deep with talent and they’ll be enduring some nasty weather this weekend.

  • http://trudginalong.blogspot.com PG

    1) Do you want to run Western States?

    -Not really. Initially I did, but as the years pass I have less and less desire to. I won’t compete at the front there, and the course/conditions aren’t something that I’d seek out on my own.

    2) Why/why not?

    -I’d prefer a different style of course, if I travel west to run a 100, it’d be Cascade Crest.

    3) Are you entering the lottery?

    -No

    4) What do you like or dislike about WS100?

    -Like – history. Dislike – Entry fee, even if I were selected, I couldn’t afford to get out and run it and run any other events in the same year.

    5) Should the WS board allow (invite!) Karl Meltzer to the race? Why/why not?

    -I think it’s a shame that he hasn’t been able to run it.

    6) Anyone else think it’s odd that the qualifying events (Montrail Cup) are not representational of racing 100 miles?

    -Somewhat, I think there should be a 100 with auto slots. I don’t dislike giving entries to MC 1-2′s, elites aren’t required to run a BQ marathon time as I’m aware of it.

    7) What is the most annoying thing about the event? Hype (like this post)? Elitism? Entry fee? Smoke and mirrors of the entry/lottery process?

    -I don’t find it annoying, but I hear there is no beer at the finish. That would be annoying.

    8) Here’s a fun one… Will the US get crushed again this year in the race?

    -No, the US wasn’t “crushed” there last year either. As far as I know, the CR is still held by an American.

    9) What are some other 100s you believe are better and why? Terrain? Entry? Direction? Lack of or more competition? Nicer schwag?

    -Like you, I’ve not run it. If you’re looking for a BIG race, not even Leadville would compete for the hype. To each their own, if you want a low key race, go run a low key race, if you want hype, States is probably for you.

    10) What are you going to do when you don’t get selected in the lottery? Grumble online? Sigh and have a beer? Write a constructive letter to the WS board outlining the unethical and unfair entry process and what they should do about it? Run another 100 in June?

    I’ll have a beer, hopefully I’ll get through the Hardrock lottery. I also don’t think the lottery is unfair or unethical. It allows them to do certain things, but not others. Perhaps it doesn’t fit demand (neither does Hardrock), but things will change I imagine as they have in the past, but change will happen slowly I’m sure.

  • D. Craig Young

    A view from an untested, mid-packer drawn to ultras after standing at Forest Hill this year watching Kilian and all the others give it their best…

    1) Do you want to run Western States?
    -Yes

    2) Why/why not?
    -Due to its history and it’s basically a local trail for Tahoe-based runners. Although I don’t have a number of runs on my resume (2 ultras and 0 100s), it sits on my short list of goals because it is the one endurance event I had heard of prior to being consumed by trail running. My wife works in equine endurance circles, so there’s a common understanding of this event (i.e., everything’s easier when I say I’m training for WS, and she uses that same excuse but says Tevis Cup where appropriate).

    3) Are you entering the lottery?
    -Yes. I have a qualifier and I figure I better use the chances that come. And yet I hesitate because I wonder if a newbie and untested 100-miler should hold the space of a competitive and deserving runner (I would agree with AJW that a 100-mile finish might be a better qualifier). But then the lottery is the first race within THE race and the one where I can be as randomly competitive as my heroes, mentors, and friends (er, enemies I create by getting drawn).

    4) What do you like or dislike about WS100?
    -Like – history, challenge; it’s local!
    -Dislike — I didn’t get into this ultra game earlier so that any WS100 discussion would be simply academic and nostalgic.

    5) Should the WS board allow (invite!) Karl Meltzer to the race? Why/why not?
    -You bet. His Grand Slam is within reach and that shouldn’t be left to luck of a lottery.

    6) Anyone else think it’s odd that the qualifying events (Montrail Cup) are not representational of racing 100 miles?
    -I’m assuming you mean the automatic qualifiers provided by 1-2 places at MC events. It seems that a podium finish at certain 100-mile events should be added as automatic entries. Beyond automatics, as I mentioned along with others, a 100-mile finish might be a good basic requirement.

    7) What is the most annoying thing about the event? Hype (like this post)? Elitism? Entry fee? Smoke and mirrors of the entry/lottery process?
    -None of the above. It is what it is. The hype is rather entertaining. I guess I just don’t see the “elitism”, but my eyes and ears tend to ignore hype and elitist attitudes beyond their appropriate comedic value. Entry fee is comparatively high, but it is NET cheaper for a Tahoe-based runner when travel costs are considered, much cheaper! I’m pretty sure WS100 would have less attraction to me if I had to add in the costs of travel from more than a time-zone away.

    8) Here’s a fun one… Will the US get crushed again this year in the race?
    -May the best runner on that long day win. Yawn, I simply can’t engage on this one.

    9) What are some other 100s you believe are better and why? Terrain? Entry? Direction? Lack of or more competition? Nicer schwag?
    -Having not done any I can’t really address this, but coming at ultras from the mountaineering world I’m attracted to the above-treeline and thin-air events like Hardrock, Leadville, etc. The slickrock events are magnetic too. WS spends a relatively short time above treeline. My wish list is all about terrain.

    10) What are you going to do when you don’t get selected in the lottery? Grumble online? Sigh and have a beer? Write a constructive letter to the WS board outlining the unethical and unfair entry process and what they should do about it? Run another 100 in June?
    -Grab a beer, volunteer at an aid station, and run it the next weekend with some friends (anybody got a boat?).

  • JakeRydman

    1) Do you want to run Western States?

    Heck yes.

    2) Why/why not?

    -I first caught fire by this event hearing both Jim King and Jim Howard give a play-by-play of the historic 1983 “snow year” race that unfolded between the two. Hearing them was like hearing Larry Bird and Magic Johnson recap their NBA finals rivalry. I suppose for me, the race is more personalized because of friends like King and Howard and the WS trail is essentially in my own backyard and I spend a decent amount of time on different parts of the course week-to-week. Also, the 2010 race fanned the flame for me as it was incredible to watch Geoff, Tony, and Kilian battle it out.

    3) Are you entering the lottery?

    -Yes, hoping for the best.

    4) What do you like or dislike about WS100?

    - I like the role models who take part or who have taken part in this event and are still involved in one way or another. Tim Twietmeyer is a great guy to look up to, AJW and Craig Thornley welcomed me when I showed up unannounced to join in on their Cal St. Time Trial earlier this year, Nick Clark (who is a terrific guy) blessed me with the privilege of pacing him the last 20mi which was super inspiring, and even the former participants and champs who show up to support the event or hang out at the awards ceremony.

    5) Should the WS board allow (invite!) Karl Meltzer to the race?  Why/why not?

    - On the website, it says that the board allows automatic entry to “special consideration” individuals who have benefited the sport in unusual and substantial ways. Um, how does Karl not qualify for this? From what I’ve seen, he’s done A LOT for the sport of ultra running, let him in!

    6) Anyone else think it’s odd that the qualifying events (Montrail Cup) are not representational of racing 100 miles?

    - Yes, it would be nice to see a 100-miler be part of that.

    7) What is the most annoying thing about the event?  Hype (like this post)? Elitism? Entry fee?  Smoke and mirrors of the entry/lottery process?

    - I’m all for cheaper entry fees.

    8) Here’s a fun one… Will the US get crushed again this year in the race?

    - No, and I don’t think the U.S. got crushed. Nick went for it on Cal St. and challenged Kilian. Mike Wolfe threw down one of the more impressive performances of the day and closed well. Tim Olson and AJW stepped up huge that day. The US represented well; Kilian did just what we all expected him to. I would like to see a 100+ degree day this year at WS, bc if so, things will be shaken up quite a bit (and I believe would have if that were the case for 2011).

    9) What are some other 100s you believe are better and why?  Terrain?  Entry?  Direction?  Lack of or more competition?  Nicer schwag?

    - Having only run one 100 (Tahoe Rim 100) so far, I don’t have enough perspective yet to comment with confidence.

    10) What are you going to do when you don’t get selected in the lottery?  Grumble online?  Sigh and have a beer?  Write a constructive letter to the WS board outlining the unethical and unfair entry process and what they should do about it?  Run another 100 in June?

    Maybe shoot for a MUC spot through Lake Sonoma, but if not, accept life on life’s terms and try again next year. I put in for HR too, so hope that works out. But if both fall through, gosh, haven’t considered that option thoroughly yet (trying not to!). San Diego, Angeles Crest, Bear, Leadville? So many good ones it seems.

  • http://greenshortsrunning.blogspot.com/ Jon Allen

    1) Do you want to run Western States?
    -Yes. I put into the lottery this year.
    2) Why/why not?
    -Compete in one of the biggest, most established 100’s out there. See if it lives up to the hype.
    3) Are you entering the lottery?
    -Yes.
    4) What do you like or dislike about WS100?
    -Like – Deep field. Good reputation. Mid-race updates. Dislike – Entry fee. Small chances at lottery. No 100 mile qualifier.
    5) Should the WS board allow (invite!) Karl Meltzer to the race? Why/why not?
    -Yes. And I think they should allow 5-10 other elites in each year, too.
    6) Anyone else think it’s odd that the qualifying events (Montrail Cup) are not representational of racing 100 miles?
    -If Montrail wants to pay the money, I don’t have issue with a few runners getting in that way.
    7) What is the most annoying thing about the event? Hype (like this post)? Elitism? Entry fee? Smoke and mirrors of the entry/lottery process?
    -Too much focus on WS versus other 100’s.
    8) Here’s a fun one… Will the US get crushed again this year in the race?
    -I don’t view it as US vs World. I see it as runners vs runners, regardless of origin.
    9) What are some other 100s you believe are better and why? Terrain? Entry? Direction? Lack of or more competition? Nicer schwag?
    -No comment. Haven’t done WS or many other 100’s. Haven’t seen a bad one yet.
    10) What are you going to do when you don’t get selected in the lottery? Grumble online? Sigh and have a beer? Write a constructive letter to the WS board outlining the unethical and unfair entry process and what they should do about it? Run another 100 in June?
    -Find another summer 100 to focus on. Enjoy the extra spending money.

  • http://www.TheCNI.org Wyatt

    1) Do you want to run Western States?

    Yes–very much so.

    2) Why/why not?

    I want to run WS because of the history. I’m tired of reading about it without first-hand knowledge of what the event and course is like. I want to experience it all on my own.

    3) Are you entering the lottery?

    Already did, but not holding my breath.

    4) What do you like or dislike about WS100?

    Tradition, history, and challenge. I’m intrigued by the canyons and I think running the Placer HS track before finishing would be amazing.

    5) Should the WS board allow (invite!) Karl Meltzer to the race? Why/why not?

    It’s kind of a joke that he hasn’t gotten in yet. I mean, he’s Karl freaking Meltzer! WS doesn’t necessarily play to all of his strengths (mega climbing, etc.), but Karl will do very well at WS.

    6) Anyone else think it’s odd that the qualifying events (Montrail Cup) are not representational of racing 100 miles?

    Never really thought about it that way.

    7) What is the most annoying thing about the event? Hype (like this post)? Elitism? Entry fee? Smoke and mirrors of the entry/lottery process?

    The fact that it’s so damned hard to get in.

    8) Here’s a fun one… Will the US get crushed again this year in the race?

    I don’t think of it as US vs. the world. But if you want to consider nationalities, I don’t think the US really got crushed last year. Just cause an American didn’t win doesn’t mean the US got crushed.

    9) What are some other 100s you believe are better and why? Terrain? Entry? Direction? Lack of or more competition? Nicer schwag?

    Leadville from personal experience. I also did Mohican, Burning River and North Coast and I can’t say those races are better than WS with a straight face. But I do think Leadville might be a better race.

    10) What are you going to do when you don’t get selected in the lottery? Grumble online? Sigh and have a beer? Write a constructive letter to the WS board outlining the unethical and unfair entry process and what they should do about it? Run another 100 in June

    Apply again next year and don’t stop ’til I’m in.