Sean O'Brien 50M/50k/26M

On February 6, 2016 the annual Sean O'Brien 100K took place in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains on a warm Southern California day. A group of tough, gritty women were all vying for the coveted ‘Golden Ticket' for the top two finishers to gain automatically entry into the most prestigious 100-mile race in the country, the Western States 100. Included in that group were speedsters Devon Yanko, obstacle course champion Amelia Boone and ultra veteran Kerrie Wlad, among others.

From Race Director Keira Henninger:

The Sean O'Brien 50M/50k/26M was created after the original Ray Miller course had suffered a devastating fire in early May. The area was badly burned, and in my opinion needed time to heal. I was inspired to still bring a solid, competitive, and tough 50 mile/50k race to southern California in early winter. I also had a deep desire to still have this sort of race in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains.

The result was the creation of one of the most epic race courses to date on the West Coast. Personally mapped out and created by my close friend, Sean O'Brien, it only seemed fair to name the race after him. The race course consists of beautiful single-track on the Backbone Trail, miles of sweeping ocean views, and close to 11,000+ feet of gain in the 50-mile distance. The backcountry trails of the Santa Monica Mountains are breathtaking and some parts rarely touched.

OCR superstar Amelia Boone gave a great recap in her blog that you should absolutely read, then watch the extremely well-done recap video.

“Crossing the finish line, I welcomed a big salty hug from Devon, put my hands on my spasming quads, and heard the magic words “congrats, you’re going to Western States.”  If I thought I was playing with the big boys at SOB, I had just run my way into the Super Bowl of ultra marathons.”


Condensing a 10+ hour race down into 7 minutes isn't an easy task, but this is a fantastic highlight video from Billy Yang Films on how Sean O'Brien 100k unfolded on the road to Western States Endurance Run. All the feels at 5:49 with my girl Devon Yanko – Amelia Boone on Facebook

Billy Yang Films

369 Western States Lottery Spots, 4.7% Chance


The annual lottery was instituted in an effort to provide for the fairest means possible of choosing the starting field. Registration for the lottery is open for a period of one week in November. Applicants must provide valid payment information, but will not be charged until and if selected in the lottery. Proof of a completion of a qualifying run during the qualifying period will be required at registration.

The probability of being selected is a function of the number of applicant names in the hat versus the number of slots available to be filled. For example, the number of entrants in the 2015 hat was 2566, with a total ticket count of 6601. Based on an expected draw of 270 and using a monte carlo simulation, the probability of being selected with a single name in the hat was 4.7%.

Earning a Golden Ticket

“eyes on the prize – first or second. Western States.” Devon Yanko – SOB 2016 Female Winner

The top two (2) female and top two (2) male finishers in each individual race in the Golden Ticket Races will automatically qualify for entry into the 2016 Western States 100 event. In the case that the first, or second place participant is already in Western States (or decides to opt out), the automatic bid will slide to third place, fourth place, and subsequently down to fifth place as needed (no places below fifth will be accepted). Winners will receive their invitation via email and have two weeks from the qualifying race to complete the registration, including paying the entry fee.

6 Chances for Golden Tickets in 2016:

  • Bandera 100k, 1/9/16
  • Sean O’Brien 100k, 2/6/16
  • Black Canyon 100k, 2/13/16
  • Georgia Death Race 68m 3/19/16
  • Gorge Waterfalls 100k, 4/2/16
  • Lake Sonoma 50 miler, 4/9/16

Sean O'Brien 100k Golden Ticket Winners

1 Stephen Wassather 9:37:22 25 M 1 20-29 1 9:18 127
2 Jesse Haynes 9:55:22 43 M 2 40-49 1 9:36 141
3 Devon Yanko 10:27:02 33 F 1 30-39 1 10:06 135
4 Amelia Boone 10:42:11 32 F 2 30-39 2 10:21 6

What is The Western States?

The Western States® 100-Mile Endurance Run is the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race. Starting in Squaw Valley, California near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and ending 100.2 miles later in Auburn, California, Western States, in the decades since its inception in 1974, has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the world.

Following the historic Western States Trail, runners climb more than 18,000 feet and descend nearly 23,000 feet before they reach the finish line at Placer High School in Auburn. In the miles between Squaw Valley and Auburn, runners experience the majestic high country beauty of Emigrant Pass and the Granite Chief Wilderness, the crucible of the canyons of the California gold country, a memorable crossing of the ice-cold waters of the main stem of the Middle Fork of the American River, and, during the latter stages, the historic reddish-brown-colored trails that led gold-seeking prospectors and homesteading pilgrims alike to the welcoming arms of Auburn.

For more than four decades, Western States has been home to some of the sport’s most stirring and legendary competitions, and has spurred the capacity of spirit of all runners, of all abilities and from all walks of life, from all over the globe.

With more than 1,500 dedicated volunteers, offering the sport’s oldest and most prized possession – a sub-30-hour finisher’s bronze belt buckle or a sub-24-hour finisher’s silver belt buckle – and owning 100-mile racing’s richest and most compelling history, Western States remains one of the undisputed crown jewels of human endurance.


Flashback Friday

Amelia was featured in an Athlete on Fire podcast back in 2014 – check it out!

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