Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About 100-Milers (But Were Afraid to Ask)

I was recently volunteered to moderate a discussion panel at an upcoming Club Fat Ass speaker event.  The topic is the Western States 100-Mile Endurance run and how to run a 100-mile run

With the Western States lottery coming up in a few weeks and a stellar panel of Western States finishers assembled to share their knowledge, interest in the speaker evening is running high.

My role as panel moderator is to ask our guest speakers some probing questions about their experience at Western States and about running 100-milers.  We want to make the evening both informative entertaining. 

I've jotted down a few of the questions I plan to ask below.  However, I thought what better way to help prepare the questions than to ask Club Fat Ass members what they would like to know?

What *would* you like to know about Western States or running 100-milers?  Please log your question (go to the bottom of the page and click on "Add new comment") below.  If you can make the speaker event in person, I will aim to ask your question of the panel.  (If you'd like an answer from a particular speaker, please specify who the question is for.)  If you can't join us in person, I'll try to ask your question and post the response here.

Many thanks for your help and questions! 

"Rain, No Train" Jackson

Panel Questions to Date 

1.  Introductions.  How many times have you started WS-100?  How many times finished?  How many 100-milers have you completed? 

2.  You've started the WS-100 more times than anyone around here.  Please share a bit of background about the Western States 100-mile Endurance run.  (Ron Adams)

3.  Everyone on the panel has completed WS-100.  What were your top 3 memories of the event?  (High points, low point or just observations.)

4.  What are your top 3 secrets for success at a 100-miler?

5.  What are your "silver bullets"?

6.  What goes in your drop bag?

7.  What do you typically eat during a 100-miler?

8.  What's your weekly training schedule look like in the weeks leading up to a 100-miler?

9.  With all of that running, how do you keep from getting injured?

10.  I've been instructed to include some blood and gore stories.  Can you think of any?

11.  Night running.  What's it like?  How do you train for it?

12.  Crew.  Did you have a crew?

13.  Pacers.  What are your thoughts on pacers and pacing?  Mules?









Ean Jackson's picture

Notes on the Western States 100 Evening

It was a great evening of storytelling!  An hour and a half could have easily been stretched on to twice that.  We only managed to get through about half of the prepared questions (above), so there may be another opportunity for a speakers evening chat on training for 100-milers.

Here are some of the notes I took from the panelists:

- there were 7 panelists: Wendy Montgomery, Andy Nicol, Karl Jensen, Gilles Barbeau, Ron Adams, Glenn Pace and Enzo Federico.   While each of the panelists had completed the Western States 100, they had also completed from 1 to 21 other 100-mile runs 

- we learned a lot about the background of Western States 100-mile run:  the geography, the history, the people, the Western States trail itself and how it compares to what we know in BC.  Ron Adams shared a google earth profile of the course.

- each panelist shared their highs and lows at Western States.  Some of the lows were very low.  The highs beat out the lows by a long shot, however.  We also heard stories from Glen and Enzo about how it's possible to go from the depths of despair to finishing strong...all in the same race

- there was a great discussion about training and what it takes to complete a 100-miler.  The impact of family, work, age, natural speed and injuries were discussed, as were personal motivations (some of the panelists were out simply to finish, others to be top Canadian or overall finishers) 

- the panelists shared their views on food.  Karl summed it up with "It's a war of calories!"  The panelists generally agreed that it is best to eat and drink what the event provides and not be dependent on special potions

- we explored the term "buckle envy".  Enzo took the prize for his Leadville 100 dinner-plate-sized buckle and there were a few very attractive silver buckles on display, as well

- Some of the panelists ran Western States with a pacer and others didn't. John Macray spoke about what it's like to be a pacer and each of the panelists shared their perspectives on pacing.

- Some of the panelists had a crew at Western States and other 100-milers. Lucinda spoke about what it's like being a crew member. "Bring something to knit!" was her advice on how to cope with the long pauses between aid station crossings.  The panelists agreed that they should be accountable for their own well-being and should not blame the crew if something isn't perfect

- the panelists spoke about running in the night, the lighting devices they used and how the dawn and sunlight impacted their running on the second day

A surprisingly large number of the people who attended have submitted their applications for Western States in 2007.  Good luck to you all!

Thank you to Paul Slaymaker and the staff of Runners Den for hosting the evening.  Thanks, also, to Paul and Sibylle Tinsel of Club Fat Ass for the great prizes they provided.  'Hope to see you at the next speaker evening sometime after Christmas!





Foiled Again!!!

Long story short.  I spent 5 hours in the rain on my motorcycle driving in a circle.  Sounds like it was a great time.  Not to bummed though.  I've already had the chance to run and learn from this great group of runners first hand.



I'd ask about training.
How many hours a week does it take: Sub 20, 24 and 30 hours?

Key workouts, recover, pre WS100 races?

Any x-training?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.