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BOULET, TEKLINSKI AND YANG NAMED TO WSER BOARD

The Board of Directors for the Western States Endurance Run has named three new members to the board, WSER President Diana Fitzpatrick announced.

The new members of Western State’s Board of Directors are: Magdalena Boulet, Kara Teklinski and Billy Yang.

“We are so pleased that Magda, Kara and Billy will be joining us,” Fitzpatrick said. “They each represent unique skill sets, backgrounds, perspectives and personal and professional achievements that will help advance our race in new and exciting ways. All three possess not only an abiding passion for our race, but perhaps more importantly, bring perspectives, experiences and skills that will help further Western States’ mission in setting the standard for 100-mile runs.”

Boulet, who serves as senior vice president of innovation, research and development for GU Energy Labs, is one of the most accomplished and respected runners in American history. In addition to being a member of the 2008 United States Olympic Women’s Marathon Team, she is a past Western States champion, winning the race in 2015. An immigrant from Poland and a graduate of UC-Berkeley, where she excelled as one of the nation’s top 10,000-meter runners, Boulet became a United States citizen on Sept. 11, 2001. Boulet, who lives in Oakland, California, has been named one of the 15 Most Powerful Women in Running by Women’s Running Magazine.

Teklinski, who serves as the business manager and chief of staff for Roche/Genentech Product Development Global Clinical Operations, has played an integral role for many years in enhancing the race’s digital footprint. She has helped bring industry standard excellence and innovation to Western States’ live tracking of runners, which each race day is viewed by millions throughout the world. Her work extends each December to the massively popular livestream of the Western States lottery. Teklinski, who lives in Mill Valley, California and has been a Western States volunteer since 2010, has vast experience in supporting global launches of products and in leading cross-organizational projects.

Yang, who owns Billy Yang Films, has been a longtime chronicler of ultra running through his many films on the sport, as well as through his highly regarded podcast, the Billy Yang Podcast. Yang’s “Life in a Day” from 2017, which movingly tells the story of several of the race’s female competitors from the 2016 race, is considered one of the best films ever made about Western States. Yang, who lives in Los Angeles, came to America in the early 1980s when his father moved the Yang family from Seoul, South Korea. In addition to film and digital storytelling, Yang has an extensive background in marketing and product and brand activation.

The new members succeed three longtime board members who are now emeritus members and are part of the race’s Advisory Council. The group includes John Medinger, a longtime voice of the sport who is the only individual in the race’s long history to serve two separate times as president; Antonio Rossmann, whose more than 30-year tenure on the board included an historic legislative lobbying effort that maintained the use of the federally protected Granite Chief Wilderness in perpetuity for the race; and Donn Zea, whose versatile career on the board included key initiatives in trail stewardship, the strengthening of collaborative relationships with international events that included the Ultra Trail World Tour and governmental affairs.

2020 WSER and Training Runs Cancelled

To the Western States Community:

Due to the continuing public health threat of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Board of Trustees for the Western States Endurance Run has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Western States Endurance Run. In accordance with this decision, we are offering an entry spot for the 2021 race to all runners entered in this year’s race and a wait list spot on the 2021 wait list to all people on this year’s wait list. The 2020 Memorial Day training runs are cancelled and all registrations for those events will roll over to the 2021 Memorial Day training runs. More details on entry and registration for 2021 events will be provided later.

We have made the decision to cancel after careful deliberation, knowing that our foremost responsibility is to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our 2020 entrants, our volunteers, our broader running community, and society at large. The current situation in the United States and throughout the world is one of disruption and uncertainty. We feel that moving forward with plans for a race in June is not aligned with what our government, medical experts, and society is asking us to do. While painful to do knowing the hopes and dreams that surround this event, we feel it is the responsible action to take in light of what is going on in the world around us.

We took into consideration the following in making our decision to cancel:

  • We considered our social responsibility in this global crisis to not continue to foster an environment where the training needs of our entrants are in direct conflict with current shelter in place rules in the U.S. and abroad.
  • With more travel bans, shelter in place rules, and lock downs, it seems increasingly unlikely that people from around the world will be able to assemble in Squaw Valley on the weekend of June 27.
  • We determined that we will not be able to secure all the necessary permits and approvals in time to postpone the race until the fall.
  • We took into consideration how disruptive this pandemic has been—its financial impact, work and job stress, family and health concerns, kids at home—making it difficult or impossible for many to focus on training for Western States.

By making this difficult decision to cancel the race now, we hope to relieve some of the pressure people are feeling during this time of stress and uncertainty. We also hope that having an entry secured for 2021 offsets some of the disappointment about not being able to run the race this year and creates a brighter light for the future.

We thank you for your patience and kindness during this difficult period. We hope you all remain safe and healthy and we look forward to gathering with you in Squaw Valley in June 2021.

Sincerely,

Diana Fitzpatrick, President, Western States Endurance Run
Craig Thornley, Race Director, Western States Endurance Run
Members of the Western States Endurance Run Board of Trustees

COVID-19 Update #3

To the Western States community:

We continue to monitor the latest developments regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 throughout the country and the world. As an organization, our commitment to everyone involved with Western States remains the same: We will do everything in our power to put on a race this year provided we feel it can be done safely and responsibly. The situation continues to be extremely fluid and dynamic. The past week alone has seen several states enact strict limitations on businesses, gatherings and the delivery of essential services. Some states and numerous cities, towns and municipalities have implemented “shelter in place” restrictions.

We want you all to know that we are working on race solutions for many of the challenges that are inherent to this time of uncertainty. All options are on the table. We continue to plan for our runners to assemble during the weekend of June 27-28, but realize that we need to be proactive as well. In the event that the coronavirus situation does not improve, we are also exploring the possibility of postponing the event to the fall or guaranteeing a spot in the 2021 race for all 2020 race entrants. We are approaching our May training weekend in the same manner. We are hopeful the training runs will be held, but are also looking at options such as consolidating the training weekend or adjusting their place on the calendar in the event we choose to postpone to the fall. We are also aware of the community’s concern regarding qualifiers for Western States. We have a committee tasked with exploring a number of options that we hope will demonstrate fairness and an equitable understanding of how the 2020 ultra calendar has been thrown into disarray because of COVID-19.

The past few days have also brought into sharp relief what a world dealing with coronavirus looks like. People throughout the world are doing all they can to minimize contact with others, to practice social/physical distancing and to avoid large gatherings. We ask that in order to stay ahead of the curve that you continue to be aware of the latest US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines in order to ensure your health and safety and the health and safety of those around you. For our international runners, this means that you understand and are following any public health restrictions or guidelines that are in place in your particular country; for runners in the United States, please abide by shelter-in-place requirements or restrictions on movement if your state or city has implemented them.

Our goal in this unprecedented time remains the same. We will do everything we possibly can to keep our community safe, and to hold our race in 2020. We will continue to update you and be as transparent as possible as we figure out the best path forward for our runners and community. Thank you for your patience and trust in these unsettling times.

Sincerely,

Craig Thornley, Race Director
Western States Board of Trustees

COVID-19 Update #2

To the Western States community:

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak throughout the country and the world has been extremely dynamic over the past few days. The decisions we make in the coming days and weeks — individually and as a community — will have profound impacts on the intensity and the duration of coronavirus that all of us experience.

On March 15th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidelines recommending that organizers of in-person events — including sporting events — with 50 or more people cancel or postpone those events for the next eight weeks. We are very aware of the potential impact the postponement and cancellation of races will have on our runners and broader community. We plan to address issues related to WSER qualifiers, Golden Ticket races, and other things — including the feasibility of holding the race itself — as the situation develops and becomes more clear. For now, we will continue to make decisions based on the health, safety and well-being of our runners and broader community and in accordance with governmental rules and guidelines. For more information on COVID-19 and the ultrarunning community, see Corrine Malcolm’s extremely informative article in irunfar, COVID-19: A Trail Running and Ultrarunning Community Guide.

We thank you for your patience and consideration during this time of uncertainty.  We will keep you informed as things develop and we figure out how to address issues raised by this public health crisis. Our community is stronger together and we will need to draw on that strength and resilience in the coming days and months as we navigate these unchartered waters together.

Sincerely,

Craig Thornley, Race Director
The Western States Board of Trustees

WSER and COVID-19

To the Western States community,

We continue to understand and share the concerns of people throughout the world regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and remain committed to your health and well-being.

We recognize that the situation is dynamic and evolves each day, with new information and understanding that informs the health and safety protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Placer County Public Health. To the greatest extent possible, Western States will be implementing preventive measures and controls to ensure the health and safety of our runners, race volunteers, crew members and spectators. We continue to review and adapt our planning strategies as more is learned every day. All decisions regarding our event will be made in concert with advice and input from our partners in the health community, most notably Placer County Public Health and the State of California.

We do not anticipate cancelling or postponing our event at this time.

Since the situation is so dynamic, however, we will continue to regularly evaluate this decision based upon what the scientific community learns about coronavirus and what public health officials believe to be in the best interest of the communities they serve.

This is a challenging time for all of us. Perhaps the most important challenge of them all is to keep yourself and those around you healthy. We ask that you follow the protocols and information that are presented through the CDC’s website regarding good hygiene, travel abroad restrictions and what to do if you feel you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

Thank you for your support of Western States.

Sincerely,
The Western States Board of Trustees