Western States Endurance Run Cancelled!

The Western States Endurance Run scheduled for this weekend will be canceled! iRunFar has learned from a very reliable source that after extensive meetings with the Forest Service the WSER board will, in fact, officially cancel the race and that a press release to such an effect should be posted later tonight.

Earlier this afternoon, the iRunFar staff heard rumblings from multiple, independent sources that the race was in serious jeopardy of being canceled, but rather than disseminate rumors ’round the world wide web, the decision was made not to post anything here before the Western States board made a final decision. That rumor was later confirmed in an email to race participants that was also posted on the WSER “Latest News” page. What was once rumor will soon be fact. Needless to say, many are WAY bummed about this. However, the board is a good group of long-time ultrarunners who would not have canceled the race had it not been necessary.

Update 6/25 11:25 p.m. EDT: While the decision to cancel the race is now OFFICIALLY official (no, entrants, you will NOT get a refund), read on for some important questions that remain unanswered.

One interesting question to come out of this is – does anyone win the 2008 Montrail Ultra Cup? According to the Ultra Cup website, a “[p]articipant must finish the 2008 WS 100” to be eligible for the Ultra Cup prizes, which total $10,000. Looks like the folks at Montrail will have something to think about over the unexpectedly quiet weekend. Any one know a good attorney? How do you think the MUC should be decided?

Also, should there be no postponement of the race (and we here at iRunFar don’t think there should be), should the Board simply carry over every 2008 entrant’s slot to next year? Should folks need to requalify? What about the decision re the two-time losers who were granted a slot in either 2009 or 2010? Looks like the WSER has much, much bigger questions to answer in the coming months than does Montrail!

There are 11 comments

  1. I am a runner. &quot

    holy crap batman!!!!!!!! Too bad so many folks are in super peak form right now and all the races are full (VT100, TR100) I doubt folks will flock to Laramie wyoming. Maybe headlands should step up and open slots just for Montrail Ultra cup contenders and do it there. Too bad on the folks losing out on air fare and major bucks on gas to get there.Can't they do a double out and back on the first 25 miles of the course or something???

  2. Chase Squires

    What about the entry fees as well, refunds? Doesn't seem fair we should lose it all, I like your idea of everyone who was in this year is in next year, and I say we do that with no entry fee. I've heard the race carries enough of a profit to pay its race officials, so perhaps that money could be used to cover anything extra for next year … Or, you do it in September, that would still cost me another $350 in airfare, but …It's no one's fault. But it just doesn't seem like the runners should be left holding the bag for non refundable airfare, prepaid hotels, scheduled vacation AND the entry fee. Discuss?

  3. Mickey

    I have run several marathons but am very new to the ultras and I can't imagine what everyone feels like right now. All of that training, preparation, etc. That would be a blow.

  4. Trail Goat

    Loomdog,I'd hate to be the RD for the Tahoe Rim and Vermont 100s this weekend, as they will surely be beseeched by forlorn WS entrants looking for a slot in their respective races. I've got no clue what the Wyo course looks like, but I've loved running around Vedauwoo at the Rockie Mountain Double Marathon and Wyoming Marathons between Laramie and Cheyenne.I can't see how a double out and back would be permissible under the WSER's grandfathering into the Granite Chief Wilderness area.Chase Squires,WSER's official race policy is no refunds. I'm no RD, but I know that there are significant race costs that WSER cannot recoup. That also means, that this year's entrants likely need to be charged most, if not all of an entry fee again next year.While I don't know the exact language of WS's grandfathering into the GC Wilderness Area, I'd giuess that it's fairly specific and would not allow such a rescheduling…. plus you'd still have the significant issues of permits, a second set of race costs, etc.I know it sucks to be out sooo much money, but it's a gamble that one takes… even if it's rarely considered. WSER is not the first major trail 100 to have been canceled. I think it's happened at Wasatch, Hardrock, Angeles Crest, and happened more recently to the San Diego 100.Mickey,You are now in the running for understatement of the year honors. For the runners, this does, indeed, "blow." I called a few friends to let them on the news before it became official and it was hard to tell them. A number of them are in the best shape of their lives – having trained, literally, 100+ miles a week at times over the last few months – and the remainder trained very hard as well. Blows, indeed.

  5. Meredith

    I am a little numb right now and just emotionally spent. I am in shock that the race was cancelled, but seeing the conditions there, it was the only decision to be made, no matter how much i wish it were not. I transferred my airfare to a November 100 i am registered for and cancelled my hotels. Even so, i am out a lot of money. I wonder if they would give us the choice of 2009 or 2010 for WS, cause 2010 would be my preference, as i doubt i can run it next year. What a shock. My poor friend was in the air all day and had no idea the race was threatened to be cancelled. SHe just landed in CA and got my gazillion messages. She is so upset and she has been trying for 3 years to get into the grand slam :( she is at a loss right now. Ugh.

  6. swolfe

    like a lot of you, i am out of a race and expenses. i am upset, numb, etc. consider this. it seems a little selfish to consider running a race when a few thousand people are in danger of losing thier homes. there are 840 fires in california right now. i know this. nobody loves this race more than the board and the folks who put this thing on. i think the reasoning for such a last minute cancel is because they exhausted every possibility to make this event happen. they are sharing in the loss. keep in mind, folks, that the journey to get to the line the past 6 months is what this is all about. congratulate yourselves that you have put yourself in great shape to run a great 100 miler. i can't speak for everyone, but that is why i do these. it's cliche to say, but it's the journey…not the destination. best of luck. scott wolfeeugene, oregon#412 2008 Western States 100

  7. AnthonyP

    Sorry to all of those who were ready to roll this weekend. The cancellation opens up a ton of issues that you pointed out in your post. It will be interesting to see where they end up on them.

  8. #406

    Speaking as a rookie to the race, but not to the trail, and saddened less by the cancellation (though saddened greately) than by this most recent manifestation of the "rock star" ethics that have recharacterized trailrunning: Erik Skaden's published plea http://www.auburnjournal.com/detail/87439.html for special consideration and invitation to a small subset of elite male ultrarunners to race for "Northern California 100-mile champion bragging rights") …Upon the cancellation I came to some new understandings:1) I had invested much more than I realized in my own form of bragging rights: having prepared reasonably well for the race without turning that preparation into a profession or completely putting the rest of my life on hold, or lapsing too often into thinking that faster runners necessarily work harder or have more skin or heart in the game than slower runners (they are, really, just faster). I am saddened by having lost the opportunity to brag, if only to myself. But seriously, but how sad is that? So now I have an opportunity to get the purpose right again. I cannot find words now for that purpose, but I know what it isn't.2) How startling it can be when something you repeatedly say to yourself has such material confirmation, in this case: it's just running – get over it.3) New sympathy for something I had repeatedly heard from wannabes like me but didn't understand: I don't want to run a different hundred; I want to run Western States. Now I know what it means that to be focused only on the distance is to miss the whole trail.4) I think that the trail needs our care and attention at least as much as we need to be on it to feel whole.And just in case there was any doubt about refunds or special considerations, from the application form itself:"I understand that entry fees are necessary to meet the costs of preparation months in advance of the Run, and that if the Run is cancelled because of fire, drought, storms, Acts of God or other circumstances beyond the control of race management, the entry fee will not be refunded and the Western States organization and its sponsors will not be held liable."So, we're all out, and maybe a buy for 2009, or maybe nothing, or maybe something in the middle, or maybe the iron is even hotter for striking a fresh start with new and better lottery rules. "Fair and equitable" can take many forms and rarely if ever means that we all agree.

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