What does Wimbledon, the US Open and Fenway Park all have in common ……? Well according to Andy Jones-Wilkins, the Western States 100 is the ultra running equivalent and all other hundreds cant compare! Whilst we are rather partial to the performances of our friends from Europe, you cant go past the fact that the domination of the Ws100 has been firmly held by Uncle Sam over the years and so I set out to get some insights into why home grown talent prospers on the famous trail.
It is a tradition to go to the top of Emigrant Pass on the Thursday before the race to raise the Star Spangled Banner and sing a few songs, recognise a few legends and generally burn off a little nervous energy. Well this year had to be different due to the huge snows so the ceremony was moved to the relatively lower slopes of the mountain at 8300 feet. I decided to make my last training run on the course part of this ceremony and to try and track down some local runners to quantify why they think the Americans will dominate again this year.
So it was a sheer delight to start out on my run up the mountain and bump into none other than the legendary Andy Jones-Wilkins. He is a real favourite amongst the Ultra168 team due to his straight talking no-nonsense blog and of course that fact that he has finished 6 times in the top 10 at the “Big Dance”. We shared the trail for a couple of hours and I was able to bleed him dry of information and even convince him to consider running the GNW100 in Australia. The following video will tell you his three tips for finishing the race successfully, along with his predictions for the podium, and as is his way, there is a surprise omission in there!