Ethan Veneklasen

I ran as a kid, but my running career really started in earnest in 2002.

A friend called and asked if I would run the San Francisco Half Marathon with her. My response, “Are you high? I haven’t run more than a mile since middle school!” Three days later (having gone out and bought a pair of running shoes), I ran my first half-marathon. It wasn’t particularly fast (1:43), but I felt like I had really accomplished something!

Two days later, I saw a documentary about the Western States 100 on television. I was utterly transfixed. The next morning, I attempted to sign up, only to find out that the race required a 50-mile qualifier. 10 weeks later, I completed my first 50-miler, the Dick Collins Firetrails 50 and immediately put my name into the lottery. Miraculously, my name was drawn and 11 months (to the day) later, I ran (and finished) the 2003 Western States 100 Endurance Run. 

Perhaps more important than finishing my first 100, Western States is where I met my wife, 4x Western States runner-up, Emma Winfield. Having a spouse that shares my passion for the trails keeps me both inspired and grounded. From her, I learned the joy of running for the sake of running (rather than just as training to race).

That said, I love to race! Trail or road, pin a number on me, shoot a gun and it’s “game on”! I seem to excel at the 50K and 50-mile distances, but I’m still trying to nail down this 100-miler thing (I expect to be chipping away this for many years to come). As a master’s runner, I love the fact that I am continuing to get faster, even as I get older. Distance is a great equalizer! 

I have four fantastic step-kids, three dogs: Snoop (golden retriever), George, and Layla (both pugs). Our home is never a dull place! 

In my free time, I enjoy co-hosting UltraRunner Podcast with Eric Schranz. I learn something new from every one of our guests and love the diversity and inclusive spirit of our community.

I have been experimenting with nutrition for many years and I am so happy to have found VFuel. It delivers a smooth release of energy (without spikes) and it really works well with my picky stomach. At least as importantly to me, it tastes FANTASTIC (I LOVE the Peach Cobbler and Mountain Berry in particular)! As I have continued to improve, VFuel has been a vital part of my training and race-day nutrition program.  

Hometown: Pleasant Hill, CA 


Social Media: Follow Sage on Twitter! Like Sage on Facebook! 

Favorite Beer:  Heady Topper Double IPA, from The Alchemist (Vermont)

Guilty Pleasure:
 Red Vines

Other Hobbies: 
Watching luge, knitting scarves and whittling

Best thing about VFuel:
  It really works with my finicky stomach. Best flavor: Chocolate Fudge Brownie! I could eat it for desert!!!

Best recovery meal: 
Vegan pizza with Kalamata olives!!!

Favorite trail running memory: 
  Running around the track to finish the 2003 Western States 100. That experience changed my life in so many ways!

Running Accomplishments

2015 Overlook Endurance Run 50K, 5th place
2015 Loco Go Big or Go Home 50K, 2nd place
2015 Beacon Rock 50K, 12th place
2015 Miwok 100K, 37th place
2015 Lake Sonoma 50, 87th place
2015 Chabot Trail Run 50K, 9th place
2014 Skyline to the Sea 50K, 10th place
2014 Cascade Crest 100, 39th place
2014 Bishop High Sierra 50, 12th place
2014 Mokelumne River 50K, 3rd place
2014 American River 50, 22nd place
2014 Way Too Cool 50K, 39th place
2013 Headlands  100-50 Miler, 7th place
2013 Skyline 50K, 20th place
2010 Quad Dipsea, 40th place
2007 Dick Collins Firetrails 50, 86th place
2007 Redwood Park 50K, 15th place
2006 Mt. Diablo 25K, 41st place
2005 Way Too Cool 50K, 54th place
2004 Vermont 100, 58th place
2004 Skyline Ridge 50K, 9th place
2004 Quicksilver 50K, 11th place
2003 Muir Beach 50K, 5th place
2003 Quad Dipsea, 34th place
2003 Mountain Masochist 50, 83rd place
2003 Headlands 50K, 64th place
2003 White River 50, 90th place
2003 Western States 100, 108th place
2003 Mount Diablo 25K, 18th place
2003 Pirates Cove 50K, 16th place
2002 Quad Dipsea, 76th place
2002 Dick Collins Firetrails 50, 38th place