Having previewed our female contenders on Monday, today it’s the turn of the men’s WSER100 preview. While there’s a healthy dose of Aussie males entered this year (eight to be precise), with the greatest of respect to those lining up, they’re unlikely to be troubling the top 10. However, the likes of Stephen Redfern could be challenging for a top 20 place for sure.
Stephen is a perennial racer who appears to have the recovery powers of magician and he keeps getting better and better each time he races. Just two weeks ago we won the Hubert 100 miler in a shade under 19.5 hours, finished fourth at the Canberra 50km, second at the Canberra 24hr race and was third at Cradle Mountain in February. Stephen is tough as old boots, so expect him to keep grinding away while others fall by the wayside.
So who are the big guns aiming for the win?
Once again the name on most people’s lips is Jim Walmsley and at least you know what you’re gonna get with Jim… all… or nothing. Will he? Or won’t he? Despite many a person offering advice to Jim as to how to win Western States, you kind of get the feeling that he doesn’t care much for that and will simply race his way. We all know Jim can pretty much smash anything up to 100km, but the miler has been the illusive distance for him thus far. Do we want to see Jim win? Of course, it would be great to see him run to his true potential on this course and tear it apart. Here’s hoping we get to see that this weekend.
Le vigneron, François D’haene is back for another crack at WSER100. He’s raced here once before, back in 2015 where he finished 14th, and to be fair, this type of course is not usually one you’d associate with the big man. But there’s no doubting that with the right specificity in training and a bit of time spent in the sauna for the last month, François could be on the winners stand come Sunday morning.
Following his third place at WSER100 in 2015, Jared Hazen’s a young gun ready to roll once again. Post that great result at this race a few years ago, he’s been pretty much on the podium of everything else in the US. This includes a brace of second places at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile and the Way Too Cool 50K Endurance Run. In 2017 he also grabbed second the Stagecoach line 55km as well as winning the HARRC’s Tuscarora 50K Trails Ultra. He might not be the most well-known of runners, but if things go right for the young lad, we could see him picking up a win here.
Salt Lake City’s Mark Hammond finished third here last year in a time of 16:52 and while that time probably won’t see him win WSER100, he’s always going to be there or thereabouts. Mark’s already tackled one miler already this year, that being UTMF where he finished eighth. He also grabbed a win at the TDR Trail Trashed 50miler. Last year he also finished second at the highly prestigious Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile UltraMarathon too.
Jeff Browning and Ian Sharman are two names you can pretty much pencil in from the very start as top ten finishers. Both have tremendous records at this race, with Jeff finishing fourth last year and third in 2016. Ian is banking on his ninth top 10 finish this year and there’s not many who would bet against that.
Dan’s dark horses to watch
German runner, Florian Neuschwander has a 6:49 100km to his name, along with a smoking 2:52 50km, which he ran back in 2017 at the Ebershauser 50 km Lauf. Earlier this year he won the Sean O’Brien 100 km to secure his entry into WSER100.
Kris Brown is unbeaten this year, having claimed wins at the Canyons Endurance 50 Km Run, the Ruck a Chuck 50K and the Sean O’Brien 50 km. Last year he also won his only miler to date, the San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run.