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Steve Marchi 1955-2014

Steve Marchi, a longtime river crossing cable captain at Rucky Chucky, passed away over the weekend.


Steve receives his Friend of the Trail Award in 2009

Steve, who was one of the prime contributors to ensuring the safe passage of all runners via a safety cable held by a line of volunteers across the American River just below a series of treacherous Class 4-6 rapids, was 59 years old.

Marchi’s wife, Jodi, informed race director Craig Thornley of Steve’s passing.

Steve had a long and notable career at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, where he worked from 1977 until his retirement in 2013. He was an active volunteer, giving his time not only at Western States, but also at local food banks.

“Steve set a wonderful example of how important all volunteers are to the success of our race,” said John Trent, president of the Western States Board of Trustees. “He not only braved frigid water through the day and into the early morning hours of the next day on race day for more than a decade, making sure that runners from all over the world could safely cross the Rucky Chucky river crossing, from what I understand he also actively recruited all his friends and neighbors to join him at the river crossing to do the same.

“Steve passed the spirit of our race onto many, many others, and for this our entire race owes a debt of gratitude to him. On behalf of the entire Western States board and our nearly 2,000 volunteers, I wish to express our sincere condolences to Steve’s wife, Jodi, and his sons, John, and Alex, for their loss.”

Friends and family are invited to a visitation on Thursday, June 12 from 6 to 10 p.m. and a funeral service at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 13 at Graham-Hitch Mortuary in Pleasanton.  In lieu of flowers, Steve’s family wishes that donations may be made to the Alameda County Food Bank or Open Heart Kitchen.

To read more about Steve’s life, go to: Obituary from Contra Costa Times


2014 Runner Update #2

The following was emailed to 2014 run participants on 4/29/2014

Presented by


Dear 2014 WS Entrant,

Hope your training is going well… Just 60 days until Dr Lind fires the shotgun in Squaw Valley to start the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run! This is your second Runner Update.

Preparations are going well from our end. The biggest challenge and effort has been getting the trail open after the American Fire burned approximately 19 miles of the Western States Trail last August. This has been an incredible collaborative effort on the part of the WSER trail crew and our dedicated partners: the Western States Trail Foundation (The Tevis), the US Forest Service, and the talented eight-member AmeriCorps crew, together with the many enthusiastic, skilled volunteers whose love of the trail inspires their hard work.


Pacific Slab Bridge Stringers

The fire burned two bridges that we use in the race. The smaller Pacific Slab bridge just west of Last Chance will be replaced this coming weekend. The Swinging Bridge over the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River will not be replaced until after the race. We will be fording that river with the aid of a cable. The crossing is not as long as the Rucky Chuck crossing at mile 78, but you will get wet. It is likely to be top-of-shorts level or less come Race Day. At mile 46, in the heat of the day just before you climb the steep switchbacks to the oasis known as Devil’s Thumb, this will be refreshing…and a special memory of Western States 2014.

To find out about upcoming trail work opportunities, please visit the joint trail work website wstrail.org.

Bib Numbers

Last weekend I assigned the bib numbers. I tried to give everybody the bib number they requested. Your number will not change so go ahead and use it on your crew shirts or drop bags.

Service Requirement and General Information Form

Your service requirement forms must received by May 15, 2014. Please check the confirmation page to ensure that your form has been received. Please don’t wait until the last minute, or make us contact you to ask where it is. This is a requirement of the WSER board, and has been so since 1998.

Please also take a few minutes to fill out the General Information Form so that Tropical John Medinger will have something to say about you as you run around the track at Placer HS on June 28 or 29.

Race Program

The 2014 race program will be available as a pdf download about two weeks before the race. You will receive your hard copy up at Squaw Valley when you check in. This will include a list of all runners, aid station information, shuttle service, etc.

Research and Medical Conference

In addition to trail stewardship and putting on a world-class 100 mile endurance run, the Western States Endurance Run Foundation is committed to supporting and promoting medical research to increase understanding of the effects of endurance sports on the human body. There will be several research studies this year. Details on participating in this year’s research studies will be sent out about six weeks before the race.

It’s not too late to register for the first Medicine and Science in Ultra Endurance Sports conference, which will be held on June 24 and 25 in Squaw Valley. Registration is $300, and medical professionals can get CME credits for attending. If you know somebody who might be interested in attending, please forward them the information.

Training Run Weekend

After the Cal St Memorial Weekend Training Run on Sunday, May 25, we have a special evening planned. Gordy Ainsleigh, Shannon Weil, and Dr. Bob Lind will talk about the birth of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. The discussion will be facilitated by 25-time WS finisher Tim Twietmeyer and 10-time finisher John Trent. Details can be found here.

Shannon Gatorade WS100 1979

Shannon Weil 1979

If we don’t see you at the training runs, we’ll #seeyouinsquaw.

Train Smart,

Craig Thornley, Race Director


Lottery Ticket Increases 2^(n-1)

On January 25, 2014, the board of trustees changed the policy for number of tickets in the lottery for each consecutive year an applicant applies for the lottery, fails to be selected and otherwise does not gain entry into the race. Instead of a single additional ticket in the hat, the ticket count will increase by 2^(n-1) where n is the number of years applied. This will be in place beginning with the upcoming 2015 race lottery (held in December 2014).

  1. First year applicants will have 1 ticket (2^0).
  2. Second year applicants will have 2 tickets (2^1).
  3. Third year applicants will have 4 tickets (2^2).
  4. Fourth year applicants will have 8 tickets (2^3).
  5. Fifth year applicants will have 16 tickets (2^4).
  6. Sixth year applicants will have 32 tickets (2^5).

This new policy increases the probability of being selected for consecutive lottery losers more significantly than the previous linear model (1,2,3,4,5, etc). As before, if an applicant gains entry into the race either by being selected in the lottery or any other means (MUC, UTWT, Sponsor, Race Admin, etc) the ticket count will start over when they apply for the lottery. Also, as before, in order to gain extra tickets, the applicant must qualify and apply for the lottery each year.

Please see our lottery page for more details.

2014 Runner Update #1

The following was emailed to 2014 run participants on 12/13/2013

Presented by


Dear 2014 WS Entrant,

Congratulations on your entry into the 2014 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Whether you were a top ten 2013 runner or a lottery winner with five tickets in the barrel, you have the opportunity that 2700 people wanted: to start at Squaw Valley at 5:00 a.m on June 28th, climb up 2500 feet to Emigrant Pass, and then run to Auburn.


This is the first of several emails you will receive from me between now and June 28. These are to help answer general questions and to update you on the latest information regarding course conditions, shuttle services, etc. They will also be posted on the wser.org website in the news section so you can refer to them later. I will also be posting regularly on our Facebook Page.

The American Fire
As you are probably aware, the August American Fire burned 27,000 acres in the Tahoe National Forest, affecting several miles of the Western States Trail. The USFS has been proactive working with Western States Endurance Run Foundation and Western States Trail Foundation (the Tevis) crews to go into “the black” this fall to prepare the affected sections of the trail for the winter. While there is still considerable work to do next spring, I am pleased to report that we will be using the historic trail for the race. One new challenge will be crossing the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River (Deadwood Canyon) just below Devil’s Thumb. The Swinging Bridge at the bottom of Deadwood suffered damage which will require substantial work next spring/summer. For the race it is looking like we’ll be crossing the river just downstream of the bridge either with the help of a cable or boats. Details TBA.

Participant Guide
Please read the online participant guide which contains information that you must be familiar with, including medical and other risks; performance, pacer and crew rules; aid station and drop bag information; race week agenda; lodging info; and a course description.

Service Requirement
Since 1998, WSER has required eight (8) hours of volunteer service by each entrant. Performance of this requirement can be in the form of trail maintenance or volunteer services at any official running event. Please submit this form to us by May 15, 2014.

Western States Store and WSER Logo
Branded merchandise is available at the WS Store. It is always available online and they will also be physically set up at training runs and the start/finish line. They will have crew shirts available before the race.

If you are planning on making your own crew shirts, you may use the WSER logo as long as you don’t sell the shirts. Please respect our intellectual property.

Training Runs
There are four training runs scheduled before the race which offer an opportunity to get time on the final 70 miles of the course. On Feb 15 we’ll run the last 20 miles. On Memorial Day weekend we have three training runs on three successive days over the final 70 miles. These runs are open to anybody. If you are planning on doing them, sign up early at ultrasignup as each of them fill to capacity long before Memorial Day.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to send me an email.

Train Smart,

Craig Thornley, Race Director


2014 Lottery Results

The 2014 Western States Lottery was held on Saturday December 7, 2013 at the Placer High School Auditorium. Around 250-300 people braved the snow and ice to attend.

This year we had 127 automatic spots that were either designated pre-lottery or are reserved from the 400 total we will accept into the race.

  • Top Ten 18 of the top ten men and women are returning
  • Raffle 14 from previous two raffle drawings
  • Race Admin 29 aid stations and other race administration roles
  • Special Consideration 2
  • Foreign Consideration 12 – We accepted 12 foreign entrants pre-lottery for global representation
  • MUC 23 (out of 30) – There are five races where top three men and women can qualify. We are estimating that not all will be taken.
  • UTWT 6 – Ultra-Trail World Tour spots for elite athletes
  • Gordy 1 – The founder of the race from 1974
  • Board of Trustees 3
  • Tenth Finishes 4 – Andy Jones-Wilkins, Erik Skaden, John Nichols, Tom Green are all going for their 10th finish
  • Sponsors 15
4307 Tickets Loaded into Barrel

4307 Tickets Loaded into Barrel

We pulled 270 names from the barrel of 4307 tickets and 2704 unique names in front of the live audience. This is how many were chosen from each ticket group.

  • 101 one ticket holders selected
  • 78  two ticket holders
  • 45 three ticket holders
  • 27 four tickets holders
  • 19 five ticket holders

We then did a special drawing from members in the audience for an additional 3 spots. These went to Deno Dean, Dawn Hitchcock, and Tina Frizner.

Here is the video of the Lottery from start to finish.

Here are the results of the Lottery in order drawn.

Congratulations to all accepted runners.

Next year’s lottery will be held on December 6, 2014 at Placer High School in Auburn.