|Somewhere out on the WS100 Course, June 1993.|
Not only is this still largely relevant to WS100, but practically every other major 100 in the US, right now. Times have changed, and things need to be rethought.
Yes, its that time of year when thousands of anxious WS100 hopefuls agonize over whether or not they're in the magic circle. Are they 3-time losers in the 2nd degree? Nominated and EZ-Passed due to Extraordinary Accomplishments or somesuch? Busted out a 50-miler somewhere on a 2% downhill course?
Probably not. So lets go down to the killing floor, and go to work. Here are some ideas.
- COMPLETELY ELIMINATE the 50-mile race requirement. This is dead meat, and has been festering like a zombie with bad manners for way too long.
- The new baseline qualifier would be a *FIVE prior 100-mile finishes* requirement. Yes, this is harsh. And pay phones are gone forever too.
Five?? Lawd have mercy!! That is so *elitist*! Damned right.
If WS100 is truly the Big Show, this would clear away a lot of junk and false hopes. For instance: if you ran the Rock'n River 50M 50 last month as a WS-qualifier, who are you kidding? The race is AMERICAN RIVER 50 spelled backwards [05 REVIR NACIREMA, for those keeping track], and most closely approximates the Bath Rd to Foresthill section, or perhaps the last kick into the Placer HS football field. The long-departed Nugget 50 of Ancient Times would be a far more accurate rendering of How Much Your Dick Would Be In The Dirt.
I did WS in '93. Didn't have a good year [28:40], but learned a lot out of it. Did better at AC 90 days later [27:10] and never looked back.
I think the WS req's are too easy. Times have changed, WS hasn't. The talent pool in '83 or '93 was overall tougher than now. Maybe not faster, but tougher.
Why's that? As the sport increased in popularity, it reflects the society around it. And the society is increasingly suburbanized. And they expect certain things.
- Why the blister fetish at WS?
- Why the endless hoo-rah about how tough the race is?
- Why the Nurse Tents?
Yes, I'm a cranky dick, and this was not my experience when I got into ultras in '89. Things were leaner, tighter, and the runner was expected to step up. I came into the sport from ski-mountaineering, backcountry travel, and self-taught bodyboarding. You self-insert, and self-extract. Period.
And while we're at it, junk the lottery at Miwok 100k. Nothing like jerking people off long-time, instead of a quick-fill and be done with it. Announce that you'll be taking entries postmarked at X date, toss the priors and afters, and that's it until it fills.
I know. I used to be an RD. You're not in it to be popular, or a Nice Guy. And you'll get blamed anyway if somebody DNFs.