In looking at my race plans for the remainder of 2008, I have decided to forgo another 100 mile race this year. Instead, I have decided to run the JFK 50 and go for a 50 mile PR. To date, most of the ultras I have completed have been on very rocky trails with significant elevation change. While I love this sort of technical terrain, I am curious to see how I fare at some races with more gentler terrain. My physical fitness and mental toughness are at all time highs and I want to really try and race an ultra to see what I can do. Plus, my plans for 2009 include a 100 mile race on gentler terrain so JFK seems like a logical choice. JFK is the oldest (correct me if I am wrong) ultramarathon and will be celebrating its 46th year in 2008. It is definitely a race that I want to do at some point so I figure why not now. I still plan to do Annette's New River 50K in October and may do some other 50Ks in the fall as well. I am still kicking around Hellgate but may defer that to another year.
Western States is this weekend and as many have written, looks to be one of the most competitive fields ever. Karl Meltzer has done a great preview on his blog so I won't bore you with a detailed prediction. I agree with most on the men's side and see the podium as follows:
1. Tony Krupicka
2. Hal Koerner
3. Brian Morrison
Tony has shown he can dominate the 100 mile distance and while I don't think he will "dominate" per se, he does get the top spot. I think Koerner runs another great race and likely leads midway, but ultimately grabs the bridesmaid spot. Morrison had States won two years ago but collapsed on the track and was DQ'd when his crew helped him across the line so that he could get medical attention. last year he DNFd so if anyone has "unfinished business" it is him. Maybe I am sentimental but I think he grabs a podium spot. I also like Andy Jones-Wilkins for another top-10 finish and the masters course record. He will have a battle with the likes of Meltzer and Jorge Pacheco. Again, maybe I am too sentimental but I see AJW's experience ruling the day.
The women's race is equally as stacked with speedsters. It is hard to bet against Nikki Kimball with her repeated success in Auburn. I think Meltzer nailed the order on this one.
1. Nikki Kimball
2. Kami Semick
3. Jenn Shelton
Actually, I hope I am wrong on both the men's and women's picks (sorry Tony and Nikki) because all of these picks are fairly obvious. With such deep fields in both races, it would be cool to see some surprises. You can follow along on the webcast here. Regardless of the outcome, it is surely to be a heck of a race.