Due to concerns for runner and volunteer safety, the Western States 100 mile trail race has been canceled. It’s a huge disappointment for all of the runners who are making their way out there right now, and hopefully they are given an opportunity to run next year. This race is extremely limited in the number of people that can be allowed onto the course.
Since the beginning of more than 840 wildfires statewide, 312 wildfires in northern California and more than 3,200 lightning strikes in the Tahoe National Forest alone on June 21, the race’s organizers have worked closely with a variety local, county and state agencies in determining the best course of action for our race. It has become apparent that given our race’s paramount concern – the safety or our runners – holding this year’s race would pose too great a risk to our runners, to our aid station personnel and to our volunteers. Given the close proximity of at least two fires that are within two miles of our race course and a critical access road, as well as the deteriorating air quality stretching from our start in Squaw Valley to Auburn, Calif., the board has determined that cancellation, rather than postponement or the use of an alternative course, represents the safest and most prudent decision for our 2008 event.
This year’s lottery was held in December, and Jamie Anderson was the only Trail Monster to get a slot in the race. He’ll lose his entry fee, which isn’t a huge deal, but if he loses his chance to run in the race then he is going to be really bummed out. At least he’s already registered for the Vermont 100 next month.