Have you heard? The Western States 100 is this weekend!

100.2 miles of snow, mud, and blistering heat… and we are thrilled that several GU Crew runners will be toeing the line in Squaw Valley at 5am this Saturday, June 29th.

The Western States 100 is a special race for us because it’s one of the reasons GU Energy Labs exists! Back in the late 80s, ultrarunner Laura Vaughan needed an easily digestible fuel to help her make the trip from Squaw to Auburn, and her father, Dr. Bill Vaughan, was inspired to create the first Energy Gel. Since then, we’ve fueled some legendary champions like Ann Trason, Magdalena Boulet, and Rob Krar on their way to the top of the podium.

GU Crew at States

This year’s Western States is deep with talent, with eight of the top-10 finishers from 2018 on both the men’s and women’s sides returning (including reigning champs Jim Walmsley and Courtney Dauwalter). As the GU Crew contenders taper for the big day, we caught up with them to talk about goals, training, nutrition, and more.

YiOu Wang

We won’t be surprised to see YiOu at the front of the field this year after two previous attempts at this race. She says her goal is to win, and we’ll be cheering for her every step of the way! @ywangruns

Listen to YiOu on The Pinnacle Podcast

Notable Recent Finishes:

  • 2nd place at Black Canyon 100K 2019
  • 2nd place at Lake Sonoma 50 Mile 2019

2019 goals: My goal for Western States this year is to execute a good race and to prevent some of the issues that I have confronted in the past such as cramping and overheating. I believe that if I can run to the best of my ability and problem solve, I can be competitive in this field and earn a top 10 finish. 

Looking forward to: I am looking forward to sunrise over the escarpment, spending hours on the trails, the excitement of Foresthill, and the miles through the night. I suppose I am looking forward to the entire epic experience! 

Advice to your future self: You are prepared, you are strong, you can endure. 

On nutrition: My nutrition plan is to drink ROCTANE Energy Drink for calories and electrolytes. I plan to drink at least one serving of  Summit Tea (250 calories) per hour and more if I can. I will snack on Energy Gels, Energy Chews and aid station food to supplement… but mostly, I will be drinking my calories. 

Camelia Mayfield

Camelia’s earned a spot on the 2019 Western State starting line by finishing seventh in last year’s race. She’s notched some solid performances in 2019, but has her sights set on another Top Ten finish this year! @cameliamayfield

Notable Recent Finishes:

  • 7th at Western States 2018 (19:46)
  • 5th at Way Too Cool 50K 2019
  • 10th at Lake Sonoma 50 Mile 2019

2019 goals: Place top 10 again, stay patient and positive, and run a PR.

Looking forward to: I love the aid station volunteers and camaraderie on the trail with other runners. Of course, there is probably no better feeling than running on the Placer Track!

Advice to future self: I use a lot of positive self talk during races. I will remind myself to be confident in my training and that I have done everything I can to prep for this moment.

On nutrition: I usually carry two bottles on me at all times. One will be filled with ROCTANE Energy Drink. I will use Energy Chews and Energy Gels throughout the race. My favorite flavors are the Watermelon and Salted Caramel. I like to also eat some solid food at each aid station such as chips, pretzels, and fruit. Later in the race, I like more savory foods like soup and quesadillas. My crew will make sure to have Pringles for me. That’s my favorite go-to for long runs and races!

Corrine Malcolm

Corrine is also coming back to Western States following a Top Ten finish in 2018. You might recognize her as our host at the American Birkebiener cross country ski race last winter, but Corrine is ready to battle the summer heat in the canyons. @corrinemalcolm

Notable Recent Finishes:

  • 9th at Western States 2018 (20:01)
  • 4th at TDS 2018
  • 12th at Lake Sonoma 50 Mile 2019

2019 goals: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be top 10 again. However it’s a long time to run thinking about that, so I just hope that I can be in it, be positive, and put together a race that I’m proud of. 

Looking forward to: I’m fortunate to have a ton of friends racing and a bunch of family in town to cheer which will make WSER feel like a party and a big celebration. I’m also looking forward to the heat (hopefully we get some) and the last mile of the race that I get to share with my entire crew as we head to the track.

Advice for future self: My mantra generally in ultrarunning is “work the problem,” especially when things get hard. It’s important not to throw a pity party and instead kind of just laugh about the weirdness of this whole sport… after all, we signed up for this.

On nutrition: I’ll be going with a mixture of ROCTANE Summit Tea and Energy Gels. (I alternate by approx the hour.) I’ll also indulge in real food from my crew including mashed potatoes, rice pudding, and oatmeal cream pies (my signature snack). 

Jeff Browning

Jeff has finished 35 hundred milers, won the 2018 Hardrock Hundred, and has finished in the top ten at Western States THREE TIMES in the last three years. @GoBroncoBilly

Notable Recent Finishes:

  • 5th at Western States 2018
  • 1st place Hardrock 100 2018

Patrick Reagan

Patrick is coming to Squaw Valley from Georgia where there’s not much mountainous terrain available for training… but he has the advantage of being coached by 2015 WS100 champ (and GU VP of R&D) Magda Boulet. Patrick was chosen by the ITU as one of two male athletes to race this years WS100. @patrickreaganrunning

Notable Recent Finishes:

  • 1st at the Javelina Jundred 2018
  • 2nd at the Ultravasan 90K 2018
  • 12th at the Comrades Marathon 2017
  • 3rd at the IAU 100K World Championships 2016

2019 goals: My number one goal in hundreds is always to finish and stay present in the moment. For Western States, my overarching goal is to break 16 hours and crack into the top five.

Looking forward to: I’m excited to experience the race for the first time and get to run with friends and see loved ones along the course.

Advice for future self: Keep it sustainable, utilize topical cooling at every opportunity, and remember the importance of the finish line.

On nutrition: I’m shooting to consume 350-400 calories per hour. I’ll start with Coconut Stroopwafels and Summit Tea ROCTANE Energy Drink.  Mid race, I’ll switch to Pineapple and Blueberry Pom ROCTANE Gels with water.  Late in the race, I’ll go back to Summit Tea ROCTANE Energy Drink and add Watermelon Energy Chews. Throughout the day, I’ll eat watermelon, chips, and banana from the tables and have three ROCTANE BCAA Capsules per hour, every hour.

ERIC Senseman

Senseman earned his way into last year’s Western States with a Golden Ticket at the Lake Sonoma 50, but his race didn’t go as planned, and he finished a disappointing 78th.  He earned his way back into the race with another Golden Ticket this year, and he’s returning better trained, more experienced, and ready to roll. @sensemagram

Notable Recent Finishes:

  • 3rd at Black Canyon 100K 2018
  • 4th at Lake Sonoma 50 2018
  • 1st at the JFK 50 Mile 2017

Kris Brown

In 2018, Kris got into Western States off the lottery, but proved he deserved to be there with a 10th place finish (and a guaranteed entry for 2019). @krisbobbrown

Notable Recent Finishes:

  • 10th at Western States 2018
  • 3rd at Nine Trails 35 Miler 2019

2019 goals: In the following order… beat Senseman, beat Reagan, finish top ten again 

Looking forward to: I’m looking forward to picking up my pacer at the river, because he’s the fastest, funniest, best pacer in the world.

Advice for future self: Don’t. Stop. Moving. And don’t forget to grab a headlamp at the river!

On nutrition: I’ll be mixing it up with ROCTANE Energy Gels, liquid calories, and snacks at the aid stations.  I’ll be shooting to eat at least 200-300 calories per hour throughout the day.  I’m going to lay off the watermelon… last year, I ate too much and the fiber didn’t sit well!

Ken Michal

Salty’s Squad member Ken Michal is also making the journey from Squaw to Auburn this weekend. Nicknamed “All Day Ken”, he won’t notch the fastest time on the course, but he will certainly be in contention for having the most fun! @alldaykenmichal

2019 goals: I’ve been training for a sub 24 finish!  The conditions are looking like it’s in my wheelhouse as long as I don’t do anything too stupid before the river!  As a backup, I would love to beat my course PR of 26:49! Ultimately, I want to enjoy the day, doing what I love to do! A slot in WSER is a rare gift, and I would love to enjoy and make the most of it!

Looking forward to: Crazily, I’m really looking forward to the canyons!  After several training runs on the course, I see them in my sleep.  I’ve been visualizing them for months and can’t wait to execute!  Also hoping to be able to enjoy pushing hard after the river!  Of course, the finish line is going to be amazing, too.

Advice for future self: You’ve been through much worse on the HURT course than the WS trail can ever throw at you! You’ve got this! It’s nothing you haven’t done before! Do it because you love it!

On nutrition: My goal is to consume 200-300 calories per hour from a combination of Summit Tea ROCTANE Energy Drink Mix and Energy Gels. I will also have handfuls of solid food along the way and a sandwich on the bath road climb.

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