The-Max-Factor, Why Many First Time Elite Runners Fail at 100 Miles

Guest Post by Greg (Cougarbait) Eyerly

Problems are part of the plan.

“If you plan to have problems, then when you have problems, problems are part of the plan. “ I said this quote last week. It had nothing to do with ultrarunning, rather I was explaining to the City Manager and Mayor of Cedar Rapids that we are recovering as expected from the devastating floods of 2008 in the Midwest – despite having multiple setbacks. However, it’s a real life example of how ultrarunning applies to life – when it really counts.

I am not making a bunch of excuses; some ultrarunners are full of excuses. I ran a great 30 miles Saturday at McNaughton; the problem was the race was 50 miles. Looking back, I am thankful for the repeated bouts of nausea the last 20 miles of my 50 miler. It took me 5 hours to run the last shoe sucking muddy 20 miles – not far off what it took me to run the first 30 miles. Trying to keep my posture correct, no slumping shoulders, running on the downs when I wanted to puke, running on the flats when I wanted to puke and walking the ups – yes — all the while fading in and out of flu like symptoms. I still finished 6th in the race passing several runners the final 10 mile loop for position. In fact, I had one guy pass me with a mile to go and I hung behind him about 8 seconds so he wouldn’t feel pressured and drop me. I closed the gap on an easy section with a ¼ mile to go and dumped him with a fierce finish, dry heaving all the way to the finish.

As I train for my first 100, I think I gain far more insight by having problems than I would have if I ran the perfect 50 mile. When I run a 100 I know I’ll face hours of nausea, quads on fire, shoulders tight and slumped…just keeping upright and moving toward the finish will get me there. What would I have learned if I had executed the perfect 50 mile? In reality, nothing, I don’t know what my body and mind will do after 100K. In fact, I think repeated success at the shorter distances only sets up the first 100 miler for the big failure. I have DNF’d 3 times in ultras, 2 bee stings, Winterhawk 2003 and Waldo 2005 (I am allergic to bees) and 1 fall at Waldo 2006 where I injured my hip, I still suffer from that fall almost 3 years later. I can’t say I will finish my first 100, if I get stung by a bee it’s over — along with a dozen other variables. But what I can plan on is I will have problems, lot’s of them. Blisters, nausea, getting off course, getting behind on hydration –things will not go as planned, which is part of the plan.

Enter Max King, he wins AR 50 mile running away from Dave Mackey. Just for the record, I don’t think any American ultrarunner has ever run away from Dave Mackey below 100K. A week later Max runs Pear Blossom 10 mile averaging 4:56 a mile for 10 miles. It’s not elite runners don’t face adversity, rather, failure for them is usually measured in seconds, not minutes, not hours as in ultrarunning. When faced with this type of breakdown it’s something new that they have never faced – they quit. Max King is a talent that ultrarunning has not seen. I am not sure of another ultrarunner that has entered the sport that is or was a sub-30 minute 10K runner. Max King has run two sub-30 minute 10k’s, back to back en-route to a 1:02 half marathon and that’s not a “was” that fast, that is, “is” that fast today!

I hope Max King runs Western States. I think he will add an element to the race (The Max Factor) that will make this year’s race the greatest ultra race ever. Max will not win Western States, not this year – Scott Jurek will win Western States. The Kyle’s, Anton’s and most definitely Max if he chooses to are ultrarunning’s future. There will be more to follow – I just ran with a kid out here in the Midwest that was 19 years old running his first 100 – he’s wicked fast, he was talented enough to run college track, however, he is into the ultra scene and is foregoing college running while he get’s his microbiology degree.

Max King won’t win Western States because his entire competitive career has been founded on success without failure in the same race. Let’s face it, in the Marathon and below you can’t have failure and success in the same race and still win. There is no suffering through a “bad patch” and still coming home with the victory – you lose. I used to be devastated when I ran college track and I fell off 10 seconds a mile in my second 5K in the 10,000 meters.

It’s taken me years to figure out ultrarunning is not always about success, rather, it is really about dealing with problems, breakdowns and overcoming failure both physically and emotionally all the while moving forward on your feet. It’s only now I am ready to run a 100 miles. Many have figured it out a lot sooner than that and that’s only reflective of my running past. I ran well when I was in college, competing near the front at the small college level, success was part of my running and I have a dozens of trophy’s and ribbons reminding me of that time.

Rebounding from failure while running is not something that can be learned while racing sub-5 minute miles and feeling the finishing tape across your chest at the finish. Which is the key difference between being a great runner and a great ultrarunner.


  1. Cougarbait, well written post! I agree with 99% of what you said. I guess the 1% is the “unknown” factor, in that, someone, sometime at States will be the “first” to break these rules. Perhaps that is what makes it so interesting when an elite road runner enters for the first time. I feel that the biggest unknown factor most runner’s face at States that test your resolve and how you handle issues are the downhills. And I think by Foresthill, you know and have to make a decision both mentally and physically if it’s wise to go on and if you can mentally handle any more. And I agree that road and track runners are not necessarily mentally prepared or conditioned for this choice they may have. Are you sure Scott is going to win?

  2. Grae Van Hooser (perfect name for a cyclist by the way):

    Scott Jurek will win WS 2009 not because what his competition will do or won’t do, rather because what Scott will do.
    1) I can’t bet against a motivated Jurek. Scott himself said he was finding it difficult to stay motivated for States and that’s why he took a break. Given what Scott has been through on and off the trail the past 18 months he comes to States with something to prove. Scott’s got the bit between his teeth, watch out! Let’s not forget the snub-job the WS committee gave him last year or the grief the rest of the ultra world gave him for picking up a friend from the track. There is hell to pay and Scott will be dishing it at States.
    2) Scott’s is the best at specific preparation for States. He trains smarter than many — he leaves no details to chance very much like Lance Armstrong and that’s why they are both 7 time winners — Scott’s all about specific training for specific efforts, not about maximum mileage for the training log nor competing at 3 different sports. If you think Scott his just some sandal wearing hippie-vegan with a hap hazard method live free spirit of training — think again. There is no person applying more science to the sport than Jurek, he knows why he does what he does and he knows the science behind it.
    3) Scott’s a better racer. Spartathlon has shown Scott that he can be in 3rd or 4th place well into the race and still win. The other front runners are just that, front runners winning races by running out front and pulling away. Mackey and Anton win from the front, there can only be so many runners up front and with the kind of speed this year’s race will have early you best stay off the front. Scott will shadow the leaders — maybe as far as 15 minutes behind early and close the gap after Foresthill.
    4) Scott’s a champion, not just at States – but for this sport he’s got the Tiger Woods edge. He’s undefeated at States and I look for one more beat down from Jurek. After this year the competition will have been through a WS and a beat down and will learn from the experience. You know Scott is a champion because he saves the big effort for the big effort. He’s okay with showing up at Spring races and finishing a ways back and using those races as key training efforts, he doesn’t always have to win until it’s time to win – which he will at States.
    I say this year a good runner can be 40th or even higher at Red Star and still finish in the top 10. The smart runners will stay the hell out of the way of the front. Watch for the Western States regulars to move through the field late in the race picking off the carnage.

  3. CB,

    Good comment. I especially like your last point. My guess is that of the guys who go through Robinson in the top-10 only 3 or 4 will end up in the top-10 on the track. Watch out for some of the experienced guys to pick up spots after Foresthill and especially after the River. In fact, don’t be surprised if spots are still be picked off after No Hands!


  4. Good post, CB. I have said before that an ability and willingness to solve problems may be the most important skill you bring to a 100 miler. And it very well could be a problem that you didn’t anticipate.

    What’s up with 20 miles of nausea in a 50 miler? You following Meissner’s fueling/hydration strategy? What were you eating and drinking?

    And, are you getting free coaching from Jurek to say all this about him? Almost making me nauseous.

  5. Although I thought your blog was interesting I agree with almost nothing you said. Have you ever met Max? Have you ever run with Max? I competed against him in his first Ultra and got beat by almost five minutes as Max went on to destroy the course record (SOB 50K). A month later Max and I raced together in the TransRockies run ( Team Stage Race in CO) which covered 100+ miles with lots of elevation gain/descent and had back to back 20+ mile days that were quite difficult. Believe me, Max seemed to do just fine hammering day after day at 10,000+ft. Having raced distances of up to 50 miles I still believe TransRockies was probably the most taxing event, both mentally and physically, that I have entered. You are correct in the fact that Max has yet to run 100 miles and Western States is a daunting proposition. However, if you believe that Max lacks the mental fortitude to recover from a low point in a brutal race you are sorely misinformed. If he decides to actually “race” States there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will have prepared himself to compete against the upper echelon who will also toe the line June.

    Erik Skaggs

    Also, I believe Uli Steidl and Matt Carpenter have both gone sub 30 in the 10K and they seem to be decent ultra runners.

  6. @Erik – Re-read what I said, even read the title, it says “many”, not all, also check out an earlier blog post on the Most Underrated Ultrarunners that was posted prior to Max running AR50, prior to Max being on anyone’s radar for States — it specifically spells out Max’s potential dominance. Nobody is questioning Max’s fortitude, nor anyone else’s fortitude, rather the specific experience needed to compete this year at States — I only said he won’t win “this year.” Which implies he will win in future years. If Max decides to dedicate his running towards ultrarunning he presents a problem that nobody at this point can solve for, a new factor, a new variable I have no doubts that he will shine. Yes, I have introduced myself to Max while working out at COCC — if doesn’t remember that then it’s his issue not mine. I have seen him blow by me on the trail a number of times, he was likely on recovery run and I was running tempo and he still flew by me. You are correct about Uli when he entered the sport, maybe not today.

    @ Craig, no problems with race nutrition, rather I started the race with a wicked sour bad stomach, I knew the run would be a valuable experience — I can eat like a pig normally and get away with it during a race. Regarding Sean, he’s a great example of someone that is tough as nails with all the fortitude that hasn’t put it all together yet for the 100, he will, maybe this year at States, maybe a top 10 when he puts all the pieces together.

    Regarding free coaching from Jurek, it’s the other way around, maybe he is getting free coaching from me!!!???


  7. Considering you’ve never even run a 100, I don’t think you have any idea what you are blogging about. This years Western will be the most competitive ever and that’s what Max King thrives on as, don’t underestimate it.

  8. Greg,

    Many said what you’re saying about Max about Jurek (who is also on your Most Underrated Ultrarunners List???) his first year at Western. Took ’em all by surprise. That was only Jurek’s second 100-miler. We all know Max has “dedicated” most of his life to his running career and he’s been successful at a wide range of events and courses. Ultrarunning is another event he wants to dabble in. It’ll be a great race! BTW, Uli ran a 30:36 10K last week at the Willamette Invite, he’s not slipping too badly…

    Ian Torrence

  9. @Jack,
    You are correct it’s your opinion. And the beauty behind your logic is my 100 is 3 weeks before States. So, if I finish, then suddenly everything I have just blogged about will become worthy — suddenly true?…In fact, I could use you at mile 80 to flick me some crap to keep me going, I am looking for a pacer, you in?

    I hope Max runs, I hope he does great! Wouldn’t it be great if he smashed it, or just finished the race off of little training — that in itself is truly remarkable. I wish AR had been in the fall so he could have prepared for 6 months rather than 10 weeks of real training time specifically for States.

    I think you need to have been a jockey to bet on horse races, Jurek by a nose.

  10. @Ian, you are correct. Now the shoe is on the other foot for Scott — how ironic, but I still gotta go with the coach, I just can’t bet against him. I ran my PR for 5K at Willamette Invite 21 years ago and that’s before they discovered the track was too long. Uli is a stud no less.

  11. although i’ve never met/trained with Max, i’ll have to agree with Erik on this one.

    it’s tough to make such sweeping generalizations RE “elite” level runners: “When faced with this type of breakdown it’s something new that they have never faced – they quit.” quite the contrary, it is the opposing attitude/response that takes these runners to the next level. do you really think that Max/others got to this level by quitting when faced with breakdown?

    it’s an interesting discussion, but there are so many intangibles at play — even between individual high-level runners — that i just don’t think that such generalizations are valid.

    i’ll bet there are other ultrarunners who have, at some point in their careers, run sub-30 10Ks. they may not be from the Pacific Northwest.

    @ Craig – wicked good blog.

    @ CB – it’s OK that you’ve never heard of me. if you are baiting cougars, ask them and they will tell you some stories.

  12. Cougarbait-
    Thanks for the thought-provoking post and follow-up comments. I can agree with your implied theme, that so-called “faster” runners don’t seem to always do so well, historically speaking, at the Western State 100. All one has to do to accept the validity of that theme is peruse the past results. However, I am not willing to accept your apparent conclusion that,and I quote, “Max King won’t win Western States because his entire competitive career has been founded on success without failure in the same race.”

    Why? Because your argument presents logical fallacies, the most glaring of which are:
    1)You imply that Max will be equally as devestated when he encounters an issue during an ultra as you were when you used to falter in the grinding middle miles of a college track 10K. There is simply no logical basis for this. In fact, it’s irrelevance to the topic of debate nearly qualifies it as a non-sequitur. There is absolutely no way of knowing how Max King will respond to adversity, but as his friend and fellow competitor, I certainly wouldn’t bet on the devastation you are referring to.
    2) You write that “it has taken [you] years to figure out ultrarunning” and you imply that this is because of your success as a track runner back in college. Again, call me dense, but I’m just not sure what logical bearing this personal anecdote has on Max King’s ability to do well–even win–at this year’s WS100.
    3) You reference his ability to breast the finish tape at sub-5min pace as, of all things, a LIABILITY in his chances to compete successfully at WS. While Max may have much to learn about running 100 miles, I will never consider the fact that he is quite literally the “fastest” runner to ever seriously contemplate competing in the race to be one of the challenges he faces.

    Finally, let me insert a couple of my own personal anecdotes as equally logically fallacious (but, hopefully, not as irrelevant) counterpoints to your own:
    1) During my first 100 mile race, I myself had EVEN LESS ultrarunning experience (and an absurdly less amount of general running/racing experience) than Max King has going into this year’s WS100. Despite that, I somehow found a way to overcome a SIGNIFICANT (i.e. 20+ miles) bad patch and finish the race in less time than anyone else ever had, save one Matt Carpenter.
    2) My good friend Kyle Skaggs also did pretty well during his first 100 mile race (Wasatch ’07) despite suffering a similar significant bad patch during the second half of the race (Erik can verify, considering he was pacing that day).
    3) Ten years ago, Scott Jurek himself proved false the absurd notion that a WS rookie cannot win the race.

    What’s my point? Well, I agree with you that running a 100 has an often underrated mental/psychological component (that “problem-solving” ability that you referred to earlier), but that there is absolutely NO WAY of knowing exactly how the unique individual Maxwell King will respond to the rigors of miles 70, 80, and 90, but that, by all accounts he’s actually one tough bastard who also just happens to be talented and fast and that it’s laughable to consider talent and speed liabilities in one’s ability to compete in a foot-race (as you have), even if that foot-race is 100 miles long.

    Most importantly, neither you nor I has any way of knowing the inner proclivities of Max King’s competitive mind, and (I think) you were arguing that those very inner workings are the overriding determinant of success at the 100 mile distance, ergo, neither you nor I can say with any meaningful definitiveness how he will do at the 100 mile distance (yet it seems you are willing to). The only thing I am willing to say definitively is that I (nor anyone else) really knows how he will do.


    P.S. Cedar Rapids, eh? Both of my sisters went to Cornell College, so I know the area pretty well. Kudos to you for following the ultrarunning muse in a geographic region that is, shall we say, NOT so conducive to multiple-hour runs! Unless you like interminable gravel roads and cornfields.

  13. @Tony besides being far more intellectual than I can possibly ever be my arguments are only logical fallacies because they don’t line up with your logic or your experience which are different from mine. It doesn’t make either person right or wrong. You are tying more assumptions about Max together than me to make a point that my logic is flawed. Is my logic flawed? What does the data suggest? Look at some of the auto-qualifiers of the past.

    There are a number of 100 mile runners that are calling into question the qualifying races for WS or even standards to get into States. There is nothing wrong with questioning that process, especially for sub-20 hour male runners. The question was asked the other day how many have elite qualifiers have failed and why have they failed? At least someone has fired an opinion out there and owns it.

    As for me the greatest factors for it taking me so long to figure it out are a) because I am little dense b) I was listening to everyone else c) yes speed is a liability, ego, can be a liability especially when you aged 20 years and gosh darn it, you’re just not that fast anymore, you eat too much, don’t train enough and you keep trying to be something that you were or never were — so the ego had to get out of the way and foot speed just got me into trouble. But the great thing is whether it takes one 30 hours or 15 hours to run and complete the race we can still achieve something that we never thought possible — at times not even 20 miles ago.

    As far as picking Scott — that’s my opinion, nothing more, but at least it’s not a tentative limp handshake, I say why I think Scott will win — that’s placing the smart bet. I’ve also said he will be chasing you and will either catch you or he won’t and if he doesn’t it’s because you’ve done something truly remarkable. I hope everyone runs their best, the 15 and 30 hour runners.

    Yes, I live in Mount Vernon, was just at the Cornell track last week — drive by it everyday and my 13 year old daughter is taking classes there this summer. I love the rolling gravel roads and the corn fields of summer, I hate the rolling gravels and the corn fields of winter. Considering where you grew up, you can understand that.

  14. @Cougarbait – (not sure if I did this “Reply To Comment” thing right…we shall see…) Good points, CB. I agree that my assumptions are flawed as well. I stated that. My main point is that ALL assumptions are inherently flawed, so it’s a bit disingenuous to attach anything BUT a “tentative limp handshake” to an assumption (or, string of assumptions…you’re right in that volume doesn’t make one’s argument more valid). However, you’re certainly entitled to an opinion and I respect the fact that you are a big enough fan/geek of the sport to even care about conversing about this kind of stuff (I wish some RDs had as much of an interest!).

    And I can definitely understand what you’re saying about Iowa. Where I grew up is the same climate as Mt. Vernon; I just had a few more hills (river valleys) and a lot less corn. Good luck in your 100 this summer!

  15. @ Greg Soderlund. Can I sit out this years race to watch all the action up front? This is going to be the most exciting race in the history US trail ultra running. Even if I was not running in this years event I would probably still travel one heck of a long way to be part of the spectacle. Thanks very much for making it so exciting for us guys.

    @ Craig and all the elite dudes. Thanks for the discussion and for your insights.

    Cheers, Paul

  16. @Mongold – Did I get the story correct about Lewis Taylor passing you at WTC two years ago?

    @Anton Krupicka – You almost did reply to right. I moved the @Cougarbait link to the front of your comment. Just reply to and then type your comment after the link.

    @Paul Charteris – Hey now, you have a spot in the big dance. You aren’t spectating. Get training buddy.

    @All – The juices are flowing today. What say you, Max? Jurek?

  17. Originally Posted By Jack
    @ craig. It’s all in good fun. BTW, all this talk about dudes is borderline misogyny…I think Jenn Shelton might rock it this year. Any bets on the fairer species @ WS?

    Oops. Forgot out you, Jack. I’m a big Jenn fan, but how do you bet against Nikki? If Susannah Beck was in this year’s race we might have a similar situation to Max’s: national class runner, a couple of short ultras, first 100 miler. It’s too bad she isn’t in the field.

  18. What a great and lively discussion CB’s post inspired. I guess everyone’s a bit fired about about this topic.

    I think CB was referring to me in his comment about standards for entry into WS and I do stand by my opinion that running a 100 mile race should be a prerequisite for entry into WS.

    Of course, since it’s not a current rule (rather it’s just my opinion) I would be psyched to see Max on the line in 2009.

  19. Here’s a link to max’s blog on runnerspace which I’ve also added above in the post: Click here.

    CB, check out his 15-hour climb of the three sisters, broken top, and bachelor. I did two similar adventures (washington and three sisters; three sisters and broken top) before my first 100 miler and thought it was great prep.

  20. I love thought provoking posts like this. Always good to see great back and forth respectful differences of opinion.

    And I agree picking anyone other than Scott Jurek at WS is like picking anyone other than Matt Carpenter at Pikes Peak.

    But until Tony loses an ultra, I would pick a healthy -him- over anybody else. But isn’t that the joy of this sport? There are literally 10 people (probably more) that could win the race on any given day. Damn I wish there were those Tour de France type helicopters overhead so we fat coach potato runner-wannabees could watch everything unfold.

  21. Good discussion, gentlemen. Obviously, its all guessing. I think Max will do awesome but I would be suprised (though I won’t fall to the floor) if Max pulls out the win. Experience is always important but this year in particular as the field is so loaded, it will be easy to lose sight on the pre-race objectives and paces out there. It seems with WS, the same top dogs always are near the top… and that won’t surprise me again.
    In my lame M#11 opinion, I’d guess on a finish of a finish of: 1. Tony 2. Jurek 3. Max 4. Mackey
    After Hardrock a few years ago, I’ll never doubt Jurek and his determination again and I think Tony will have to run a hell of a great race to beat him.
    I love the back and forth here and if I had more “wit” (what happened to that English degree??), I’d jump in.
    I hope I can make the trek down and observe it. Beware of the loud and booming AJW voice coming from behind. I have bad dreams about that sound….
    Rod B.

  22. I can’t believe I am reading Thornley’s blog to get the news 😉 Footfeathers told me today to check this out.

    There is much to be said about not betting against Jurek. History repeats iteslf and so has Scott on his course. He is for sure the guy to beat. What he has done more than anyone else is become spiritually connected to that course, which is sometimes impossible to beat. That is the reason why Carpenter is close to unbeatable on Pikes(he has lost there though, BTW) in that he is so connected to that mountain.

    For me, I suck at running in the heat and don’t plan on spending weeks on the course ahead of time to prep and acclimate. (Last I saw you Thornley was camping in that dirt patch when we ran the course in 04; it’ll be good to connect again.) I have my fingers crossed for a nice high of 80 degrees that day. If it is 110 degrees I may miss the Squaw start and sit in a snowbank all day instead of running! I don’t know what will happen to my stomach on Cal street, but for sure I won’t be eating avocado and fatty supplement drinks at ForestHill like I did in 2004. I will surely take the hot dog and beer in Auburn.

    Anton will run excellent at WS and Max will as well if he chooses to race. The only thing it seems Max hasn’t done is run in the heat but all else he has done.

    Now the other pressing matter..what do we do about naming a USATF national championship 100k race, “Where’s Waldo”? Doesn’t quite strike fear intothe heart, does it? I propose “The HeartBuster Hundred” or “Race to the Death 100k”..something more gnarly than a name that my daughter reads before bedtime 😉 (Thanks Craig for hosting..the race and the B-log.)

  23. @Mackey – You are a humble guy, Dave. I think you can bet on a 90 degree day for WS but 80 is pushing it. I’ll speak for many of us and say we’re glad you’re coming back to WS.

    I remember that run in 2004 very well. I remember you running the hill after Cal 1 – the one I said nobody runs. It would be fun to get Lyons out there for a run again. Memorial Day weekend?

    You gonna come to Oregon for Where’s Waldo? It’s as easy as the name implies 🙂

  24. Good to see Humble Dave weighing in on the MOST POPULAR BLOG ON THE PLANET!!! And Dave, just so you know, for those of us who do train on the course obsessively we do refer to the hill that you ran that nobody else ran as “Mackey Hill”. Of course, as much as Matt may own Pike’s I think you scared him in 2007 with your descent. As for me, I am hoping for 115 degrees! See you in the snowbank!


  25. Great thread. What makes this year so interesting is that it’s shaping up to be by far the toughest 100 ever. Toughest, because ultimately what makes a race tough is the level of competition. Over the years, WS100 has had some fast runners. This year WS100 has it all: fast runners, talented runners, experienced runners, more runners than ever before who have demonstrated they know what it takes to run fast time for 100 miles. They know how to race; they know how to win; they understand themselves; they understand the course. With a field this deep, smart, and experienced, the race will be a multidimensional chess game among grandmasters. Do you press from the start? Do you bide your time and stalk the leaders? Do you cover a move? Do you wait and hope they will fade? The winner will be the runner who best understands himself. I hope Max King runs. He would add yet another dimension to the race, and the race would provide him with a challenge fitting for his talent and problem-solving ability. To all of you racing for the win – race well and good luck.

  26. Yes, this is a great thread! I have to second what LaBelle said: “I hope Max King runs.” He would certainly add yet another dimension to this topic and would be my ‘dark horse’ to win it. He’s got the talent. He’s got the determination. I hope he decides to give it a go and surprises a few people.

  27. Y’all are forgetting about Wardian. He just finished in the top ten at Sables, he’s the reigning 50 mile trail champ, reigning 50K & 100K road champ, and he’s done very well at the two 100’s he’s run. If he goes to WS, he’s in the top five and contends for the win.

  28. @AJW – You’re the most popular ultrarunner that is a headmaster that lives in Idaho. I think CB told me that.

    @LaBelle – My hunch is that many are not going to know who you are. How many top tens do you have? Four? With a sub-16 second place PR (on the pre Cal St course)? You obviously speak from experience. What was it like racing King in 84?

    @Arlington Contingent – Isn’t Wardian racing the World 100K in Belgium on June 19, eight days before WS? Trason and Howard were able to pull off some amazing doubles and Wardian does race all the time???

  29. @Craig – Yeah, definitely Wardo is going over to represent Team USA, and he will run sub-7hours and finish top five, and then recover for WS. He races every weekend all year long, and before the 6-day Sables race he raced Natl. Marathon (2:22) and Shamrock Marathon (2:35) on consecutive days in one weekend. His philosophy is the more he runs tired the better he gets. Many have tried this, few have succeeded. He seems not to have broken down….yet. But I wouldn’t doubt it if he throws down the hammer at 100K one weekend and 100 miles the next–he’s that resilient and focused. And…he just loves running.

  30. This is a very interesting topic indeed. I have no doubt that if Max King sets his mind and his training to running well at States, he’ll do just that. Speaking from my own experience, I have no reason to think that a rookie can’t win Western. If I’m lucky, I have half the talent that Max King does, and I very nearly won my first year. Granted I had run Cascade Crest twice, but my first first hundred was probably my smartest run of the bunch.
    That being said, if I weren’t running and had some money on the race, my money would be on Jurek. Like Dave said, I think he has some real spiritual connection to that race. Plus there’s a mental advantage coming into a race that you’ve never been beaten in. Lucky for me he gave up all his secrets while we trained together in 2006 🙂 Now if only I can remember all of it. Seriously though, this year’s field is unquestionably the deepest ever, and it’s going to be a fantastic contest. I think that there are at least ten guys with the potential to win this year, and that’s going to make for some real excitement. Scanning down the list of names is just crazy. Nobody even mentions someone like Mike Wolfe. The guy is the co hundred mile national champ and is twice the 50 mile national champ. It’s going to be a whole lot of fun for racers and spectators alike.

  31. Getting back to the original post, any decent runner can be a top 10 finisher in a 100 IF (and its a big IF) they learn to deal with problems. OK, maybe not at WS, but in many 100’s. The key to WS is heat and downhills. Otherwise, the course is pretty tame… for a 100.

  32. @Brian Morrison – I don’t know much about Mike Wolfe … but holding hands with Skaden at the national championships? Come on fellas, we paid to see a race. Oh, and doesn’t he wear a button up white dress shirt like they did in the old days at WS? Retroman.

    @Fatboy – About time you show up around here. CB has nothing but praise for his Fatboy.

  33. @Craig I apologize for taking this discussion off topic. I ran AR and Pear Blossom and both races was amazed at Max King’s performances! If he is on at WS he will kill it, but the same holds true for a number of other runners (DK not included).

  34. @Sean – I was thinking you might just be trying to stir things up. No problem. I won’t ban you from Conduct the Juices (unless you do it again). Although you did influence me to put a comment moderation filter on those two letters.

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