News & Opinion | June 25, 2018 5:00 am

Jim Walmsley Looking to Prove Himself in Full, 100-Mile Race

The 28-year-old running phenom sets his sights on the Western States 100 record.

James Walmsley
James Walmsley at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile 2018. He beat his own personal best by nine minutes. (Flickr)

James Walmsley is fast, cocky and more than a bit reckless. He is famous for his potential great, but ultimately unsuccessful performances in two endurances races, the Western States 100-Mile Run in 2016 and 2017. In the 2016 edition, Walmsley booked it from the start, sometimes running as much as 45 minutes under Timothy Olson’s course-record pace. Even though he was an almost completely unknown runner, he was dismantling the best time of the country’s most famous ultra-marathon. But then he took a wrong turn at mile 92 and ran two miles off course. He ended up walking, exhausted and discouraged, and finished in 20th place. In 2017, he wanted to prove that his race the year before had not been a fluke. He again attacked the course from the very beginning, but by mid-afternoon, temperatures hit the high nineties and at mile 52, Walmsley’s stomach gave out. He vomited profusely at the aid station at mile 62 and dropped out at mile 78.

This year, on June 23, Walmsley will race Western States for a third time. He is now both well-known and seasoned, having set course records at several of the country’s top ultras, including the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, where he broke his own record by nine minutes, according to Outside Online. The question is has posed to the sport is why he can’t race 100 milers hard from the gun.

“He hasn’t stuck it yet,” said Bryon Powell, the editor of running website iRunFar to Outside Online. “He’s going for the 1080 flip that no one has ever done, but he hasn’t landed it.”