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2014 Western States 100: Taper Chat with Danny Ponder of Oklahoma

Enjoy our pre-race elevate the legs Western States 100 chat with Danny Ponder of Oklahoma.


Danny Ponder #308


What is your running background and what do you most enjoy about trail running?

I ran the mile in high school my senior year to get out of class on Fridays and ran 17s for the three mile run that was part of my annual fitness test while in the Marines for four years. But my running didn’t really takeoff until some co-workers invited me out to run two miles at lunchtime. I couldn’t complete the two miles without walking. Then two miles led to five and 24 years later I’m running 100 milers.

At the end of May, you put together a 40M win at Flint Hills Trail up in Kansas! What were a couple of your strongest memories from the adventure?

I remember the way the trees canopied about 90% of the course, providing much needed shade for the warm steamy day we had. Also, the name of the race Flint Hills doesn’t really fit the course as it is very flat except for one small grade before the turnaround. I was able to run the race nonstop.

You mentioned being very excited for this upcoming 100 mile scamper from Squaw Valley to Auburn. As your first Western States, what passes through your mind as you reflect upon this adventure?

I finally got drawn in the lottery and being the lone Oklahoman getting in this year, I want to be a good representative for Oklahoma trail running. Maybe I will be able to pull a few road racers off the roads and on to the trails like someone did for me.

As a low-lander, what was your training approach to prepare for Western States, a mountain race, that includes significant amount quad-busting terrain?

My house is on a hill, so I can’t take off without running a hill or two. And if I go east it gets extremely rolling for miles and that’s where I will get a long run in. I will also crank up the elevation on the treadmill and I do weighted squats three times a week. But most likely I won’t be running too many climbs at WS100 and just take what the course gives me.

Fun Q – Which animal best characterizes that way you plan on running Western States?



Special thanks to Danny for sharing with the EB tribe and we wish him all the best in his upcoming Western States adventure!

Up next…Jeremy Day, Shannon McFarland, and  Ryan Holler of Arkansas .

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

[Coyote photo: Credit Justin Johnsen @]

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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