A great race, and definitely the best 100 miler in the US. It's point-to-point, has a huge net downhill yet a lot of climbing, heat, mountains, and lots of runnable terrain.
It could be even more competitive, but it's pretty hard to get into. Only 10 spots each for men and women are open for qualification, and you have to run a hard ultra in the first half of the year plus get top 2 in that race to get that. Top 10 get a spot the following year so there are lots of regulars there. Big international names can get in easier through the UTWT, but not sure the process there. Other than that its a very low chance lottery that takes many years.
I do think this year will be more competitive than the last few have been where Walmsley ran way out front. There seems to be some more speedy guys, but they usually don't nail their first 100 miler so that will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Prediction: Walmsley FTW. If not I could see a more experienced guy like Jared Hazen taking advantage of the carnage to get the win.