Taking Carl Pegel s cue, I would like to address his request for consideration of a special 32 hour cutoff for the 60+ age group at WS. Although it is not myAug 23, 2000 1 of 2View SourceTaking Carl Pegel's cue, I would like to address his request for
consideration of a special 32 hour cutoff for the 60+ age group at WS.
Although it is not my decision to make, I would not want to encourage
special consideration for any age group at WS. I am talking as an RD
here, not a participant. No one loves this sport more than I do and I
would like to see every runner finish every ultra. I wish it were a
perfect World so everyone could finish and run a PR at the same time.
It may be important to remember that the original intention in 1977 was
to run WS in the same manner as the Tevis Cup horse race. As it was told
to me, Andy Gonzalez was able to meet the same cutoffs as the horses but
two runners (the only other runners still standing) were not. It seems
to me there were seven starters in this first "Official WS 100." Ralph
Paffenbarger and Peter Mattei requested permission to finish the Run, but
as unofficial finishers. The Run organizers agreed to their request and
went home to get some sleep, or so the story goes. In the early morning
hours, Mo Livermore and Bob Lind returned to the finish, which in 1977
was at the horse arena on the Placer County Fair Grounds. Ralph and
Peter arrived well after the 24 hour cutoff but were given "Official
Finisher Status" but no buckle, thus was born the 30 hour final cutoff.
I am well aware of the statistics as they relate to age at WS. There is
a very real degradation in the finishing rate as the runner grows older.
It's not fair and nobody likes getting older. My question to the other
listers would be: Should the Run make exceptions for all age groups and
both sexes? Should the Run look at all the statistical relations for
each age group and tailor the final cutoff for all of them? Should the
Run give special consideration to just one age group? Should the 59 year
old be confined to the 30-hour cutoff and the 60 year old allowed an
additional two hours? Can the Run be designed and administered in such a
way that it is absolutely fair for every participant? Is it fair to ask
the volunteers to extend their patience and efforts another two hours?
In the end, I recognize that cutoffs for every ultra are arbitrary but
still loosely based on the maximum amount of time that it would likely
and reasonably take for the average trained runner to complete any given
course. Many will not make the cutoffs for any number of reasons. This
is the very thing that makes the ultra distance a challenge and
attractive to so many, the very real possibility that one will not
finish. It is this very risk that keeps me coming back. There will come
a day when each of us cannot make the cutoff and that will be a very
Greg Soderlund, RD
Western States Endurance Run http://www.ws100.com
Way Too Cool 50K, Montrail/Patagonia American River 50
242 Hartnell Place, Sacramento, CA 95825 Ph : 916-638-1161
http://www.run100s.com/snu -- E-mail: gsoderlund@...
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I should point out that I m 53 and have never done WS, though I have seen it from various perspectives; aid station volunteer, pacer and safety patrol. It is aAug 24, 2000 1 of 2View SourceI should point out that I'm 53 and have never done WS, though I have
seen it from various perspectives; aid station volunteer, pacer and
safety patrol. It is a great race and certainly the "Superbowl" of 100
milers! However, as with all things, constructive criticism can be a
good thing, so here's my 2 cents.
I'm opposed to the 32 hour cutoff but do think there are other ways
to increase the finishing rate for older (and all) runners. First, I'd like
to see pacers for the whole race for those over 60 (maybe 65)
reinstated. While it doesn't physically help an older runner, I believe it
does help mentally by addressing safety concerns older runners may
have (thus reducing fatigue from the stress of worrying), particularly in
a snow year where falling is a real probability.
Secondly, and most importantly, I think the qualifying standards need
to be looked at. I personally know people who have entered on the
basis of only ever having done one 50M "trail" race with minimal
altitude change (2500') and no knowledge of the nature of WS. It is
unrealistic to expect these people, or those who enter on the basis of
a single, relatively slow road 50M, to finish within 30 hours. While I
don't begrudge them the right to enter a 100M, the fact is WS is so
popular it has to resort to a lottery. As long as a lottery is necessary, I
feel all would be better served if the qualifying standards were
tightened to better reflect a realistic barometer of finishing. I think the
50M standards should be changed to a minimum of 3 50 milers in the
past year or a sub 10 hour in the past year with at least 2 other 50+
milers run in the past 3 years, all on trail with at least 6000' of climb.
This might be a more accurate gage of potential success and could
also significantly reduce the number of entrants, which would have a
direct, positive impact on the lottery. I personally would not enter with
any realistic expectations of finishing without a recent sub 10 hour on
a difficult course. I know there are some people who run 10-12 hours
and can still finish WS but they are generally all seasoned ultra runners
who through years of experience have learned what it takes to keep
going for up to 30 hours.
Finally, moving the lottery date back closer to the race should be
considered. If entry requirements were tightened and entrants
significantly reduced, many concerns about this are eliminated. For
example, the average entrant would be more experienced and
probably not need 8 months to train specifically for WS. As one gets
older, injuries become more frequent and the current 8 months
between entry and race is a long time for many to stay injury free. If
the lottery was moved closer to the race, it's likely more entrants
would be healthy on race day. As has been pointed out, WS is an
expensive proposition for many and I think many people start, even
though they know they're injured/undertrained, because they have
invested so much time/money. This is the main reason I haven't
entered the lottery. With my history of injuries and knowing that I
would obsess/overtrain with 8 months lag time, I'd probably not make
the starting line. But as the saying goes - I ain't getting any younger!
Good luck to everyone in this year's lottery and I'll be there again next
year in one capacity or another.
- Jim Winne
On 23 Aug 00, at 22:38, greg m soderlund wrote:
> Taking Carl Pegel's cue, I would like to address his request for
> consideration of a special 32 hour cutoff for the 60+ age group at WS.