A very quick report for now. Full results can be found here.
On balance, I'm pretty pleased with my 7th place in 6hrs 49mins 33secs, some 25 minutes quicker than my time from last year (7hrs 14 minutes). The field was deep, we all know about that. I beat many top runners, and was beaten my a handful of top, top runners. The pace was always going to be brutal and it certainly didn't disppoint. Many casualties fell along the way, some were literally sat on the side of the course completely wiped out, from as early as 30 miles in. Many of the best fell, only those right on their game made the podium.
The disappointing thing for me was not really settling in to the race until about 25 miles. Perhaps the sign of a good 100 mile ultra runner, but somewhat fustrating that my recent speedwork hadn't quite had time to kick in. This certainly isn't a race where you can get away with that, you need to be right 'on it' from the gun. But taking a step back, I'm still hitting my long term goal of continued improvement, so I can't feel too down about my run.
The running itself was a real treat. The Marin Headlands is a beautiful place to run on any day, but with blue skies and unusually good visibility, it was a real joy to charge around those trails alongside so many world class runners. Highlights included the views of the Goldon Gate Bridge and San Francisco city at sun rise, cruising the singletrack through the Giant Redwood forests, and the cracking trail conditions underfoot - almost Western States dusty-and-dry.
So all in all a really enjoyable experience. Finally I must just give a special mention to friend and fellow The North Face team mate, Mike Wolfe. What a run he had to take the win in 6hrs 19mins. He completely smashed it, in what must be the performance of his career. Surely enough to claim Ultra Runner of Year given the super competitive nature of the races where he has competed?