|monkeyboy kamp. 2 weeks out. 2008|
i find myself, along with one other runner i know of, in the unique position of having been on the entry list for the 2008 western states 100 and also the 2020 event that was just recently canceled due to considerations related to the global outbreak of SARS-CoV2 virus known worldwide as the coronavirus disease.
the 2008 cancellation was acute. it was due to a wildfire that affected the course that was the result of lightening strikes a week out from the race. the cancellation was due to poor air quality, safety considerations of volunteers and crew members and the potential need for fire and ems resources to be allocated away from the public need in order to support the event.
for me, personally, this was devastating at the time. the car was packed and i was minutes away from leaving eugene when both my pacer and one of my training partners called me to tell me hold tight and not leave for squaw valley just yet. like so many others that year, i was looking at clear skies, feeling fit and rested and anticipating my first 100 mile run after 3 years of buildup and setbacks to get me to the starting line. it wasn't yet real and my considerations were self centered. reality was the smoke in squaw valley was thick, the considerations listed above were too great to safely hold the event and it was canceled for the first time in the 34 years of the event.
in 2020 the sport, the event itself and the reason for cancellation have global considerations far outreaching the acute local affect of 2008. To date, the virus has killed more than 25,000 people worldwide in a very short time and globally were are a planet being guided by CDC and WHO guidelines to mitigate exposure and try to ease the strain on limited medical resources that are already overwhelmed world wide. western state will be back. as an entrant, i now can shift my running from "training" to health and wellness so i can devote more time supporting my community as a health care provider without the daily emotional strain whether or not i will have the time to get a run in...which has been a new global reality for runners that have been affected by the outbreak of this virus.
the current race director of western states was also scheduled to be a participant in the 2008 race and knows what cancellation feels like. A large representation of the current Board also was a part of that process. i feel this decision was made from a place of experience and very complete consideration on all parts and i support it, especially the timing of it.
2009, like 2014 after a post race wildfire directly affected the course, was a celebration. what is happening globally is life and death. there is a shift in our global economy, healthcare system and day to day life that far outweighs whether or not we get to run from squaw valley to auburn the last weekend in june this year. i'm looking forward to being a part of the next celebration in june 2021. be safe. look out for each other.