Ice & Fire: Western States 100 Men’s Race Preview

Two-time champion Hal Koerner will be in the hunt for a third Western States title this weekend. Photo: rougevalleyrunners.blogspot.com

Nick Clark is a British national living in Colorado. He finished fourth at the 2010 WS100, nipping at Jornet’s heels in the race’s final miles. He’s had a wicked year of running since then, including first place and a course record at the gnarly Jemez 50, so he returns this year in top form.

Oregon’s Hal Koerner won the 2007 and 2009 WS100 and has an anthology of race wins in his 12-year ultrarunning career. He dropped from the race last year, having started with a bum ankle. He’s completely recovered, has raced well in the last year, and is probably seeking sweet racing revenge.

In 2009, Britain’s Jez Bragg, already well known in the Euro ultra circuit, entered the U.S. limelight when he placed third at the WS100. Bragg was unable to start the 2010 race due to injury, be he did recover fast enough to win the 2010 Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc and a host of other European races in the last year. Bragg’s got his mojo back, and he’s bringing it this weekend.

Ian Sharman, another British citizen who calls California home, was an elite-level marathoner and ultramarathoner for a few years when he stormed the ultrarunning public eye by running 100 miles in 12:44:33 at the 2011 Rocky Raccoon 100. This “Intercontinental Missile” finished eighth at last year’s WS100, his first 100-mile race. In an interview on iRunFar.com, he said of that race, “I had some bad patches with my hydration going wrong. Luckily, it got better toward the end. I was happy with it, and it was very much a learning experience.” Sharman’s, thus, relying on previous experience and serious leg speed for success this year.

Dave Mackey, who is currently living in California, took second at the 2004 WS100. He’s been on fire this season, garnering wins at the prestigious American River 50 Mile Endurance Run and the Miwok 100k. Look for a swift finish from him.

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