Survey Reveals Preferences of Western States Runners

94 percent of the field took part in the 10-question survey.

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An independent survey conducted by captured some interesting data from 94 percent of the 371 official starters at this year’s Western States Endurance Run.

Upon pre-race check in at Squaw Valley on June 26, 349 runners answered the following 10 questions:

— Number of 100’s completed?
— Number of years running ultras?
— Will they use a crew?
— Will they use a pacer?
— Did they attend the Memorial weekend training camp?
— Shoe brand?
— Sock brand?
— Pack Type?
— Lighting system?
— Did they pay for coaching services?

Compete results, graphs and analysis are available at, but some highlights include:

— Hoka One One accounted for 34.5 percent of the shoes on all finishers’ feet—regardless of their finish time—followed by Brooks (19.6 percent) and Altra (16.5 percent). For sub-24 hour finishers, Altra moved up a spot, accounting for 16.7 percent of sub-24 hour finishers’ shoes behind Hoka’s 34.7 percent.

— Injinji’s toe socks were the most popular sock brand for all finishers, accounting for 31.5 percent of the tally. Drymax was second with 17.6 percent, followed by Balega and Smartwool (7.6 percent each) in third.

— Almost 83 percent of runners surveyed (82.8 to be exact) did NOT pay for coaching services in preparation for the race.

— Petzl led the way for headlamps, accounting for 55.1 percent of those on finishers’ heads (the first 5 finishers were done before dark), followed by Black Diamond (30 percent).

— Some 37.4 percent of finishers used an Ultimate Direction hydration pack. Nathan (23 percent) and Salomon (21.3) percent rounded out the top three for all finishers.

RELATED: Photos of the 2015 Western States Endurance Run