Western States mania part deux: The rise of the Europeans
As a typically biased Englishman, it’s great to see just how much European competition there is at Western States this year. Bryon Powell, editor of irunfar.com has done some great interviews with the elite athletes racing over at Western States this year, which you can read here. This first part carries interviews with Brits, Jez Bragg, Ian Sharman and Nick Clark. As well as Mr. Pin-up boy himself, Kilian Jornet and finally leading Japanese trail runner, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki.
Thinking about this some more, and reading the interviews, I can see Nick Clark really challenging for a top spot this year, he appears to be in great shape. Ian, while setting that Rocky Raccoon record, has by his own admission a few years to go on this whole mountain running trail thing, but he’s still sure to surprise a few I think. Of all the top runners, he’s probably got the quickest speed over the flats, and if he’s there or thereabouts with 60kms to go, he could challenge too.
Bryon has also done interviews with the leading yanks too, which you can also read here. Quite a few of the American contingent are gunning for Dave Mackey, some saying that because of the snow, Western States will effectively be a 100km race. To put it mildly, I think that’s a load of old tosh. Since when does a 160km race become a 100km race? I tell you, once the guys have completed 60kms across the snow and its in their legs… doh… which means that it’s still a 160km race n’est pas? Nice logic hey… My God.
Anyway, only time will tell and this time next week, over here at Ultra168, we’ll be glued to the compute screen, pressing refresh once every 10 minutes or so to see how our own Andrew Vize is getting on. While he won’t be challenging the top end, he’s certainly gunning for a time that will see him push the top 20 we feel.