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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

DIANA FITZPATRICK ELECTED PRESIDENT OF WESTERN STATES

Diana Fitzpatrick was elected president of the Western States Endurance Run Foundation’s Board of Trustees in the organization’s annual vote for board officers.

Fitzpatrick becomes the first woman to serve as president of the Western States Endurance Run Foundation. She is the ninth president in the history of the Run.

Since joining the board in October 2012, Fitzpatrick has helped lead several ground-breaking initiatives for Western States. She played an instrumental role in guiding the implementation of Western States’ drug testing program in 2017, helped craft the policy that has afforded female participants a pregnancy deferral for up to three years and developed the framework for the Run’s transgender athlete policy. All three policy initiatives have been lauded throughout the sport. In 2018, Fitzpatrick, then 60 years old, made race history when she became the oldest female in Western States history to break 24 hours and earn a coveted silver belt buckle. Fitzpatrick’s time was 23:52.

Diana Fitzpatrick

An attorney who lives with her husband, Tim, in Larkspur, California, Fitzpatrick has long been actively involved in the running/ultra community. She and Tim coach the cross country teams at Marin Catholic High School. Fitzpatrick has also served as a volunteer running coach for inmates at San Quentin Prison.

“Diana’s track record speaks for itself,” said John Medinger, who had served as Western States president since 2016 and now that his presidency is over, still retains a spot on the board. “She would be the first person to try to deflect this sort of praise, but she is without question an influential and extremely important voice in our sport. She knows how to sweat the policy details and she also knows how to connect with people about the 47-year-old story that is Western States. She is going to lead Western States into innovative and exciting directions. The race is in very good hands.”

Fitzpatrick said she was “humbled” to be chosen president.

“I am honored, humbled and excited to take on this new role,” she said. “The goal will always be to continue forward as a team and let our passion for this event take us to new heights.”

Added Race Director Craig Thornley: “Diana hasn’t shied away from the challenging issues in our sport. She’s encouraged the race to be proactive and progressive in all aspects of our mission. She brings a wealth of experience and insight to the job as a key board member, creator of some of the most impactful policy we’ve ever implemented, high-level runner, coach, and race director (for several years Fitzpatrick and her husband were RD’s for the successful Headlands 50K).”

Fitzpatrick’s election as president adds another chapter to the prominent role that women have played throughout Western States’ 47-year history. Mo Livermore, who has served on the Western States Board since it was first formed in 1977, is one of the pioneering female figures in the sport of ultra running. Livermore along with friend Shannon Weil were co-race directors at a time when there were few female race directors in any running events in the world. The two served as co-RD’s from 1978-81 as Western States surged in popularity. Livermore then served as race director in 1982 and 1983. Before Livermore and Weil, it was Drucilla Barner, secretary of the Western States Trail Foundation and associate of Tevis Cup founder Wendell Robie, who encouraged Gordy Ainsleigh to make his run from Squaw Valley to Auburn with the horses of the Tevis Cup in 1974.

Livermore said: “It’s always a pleasure to work with Diana, whose appreciation and understanding of the foundational values of Western States blend authentically with her respect for each athlete and the particular issues each may confront. Her comprehensive analyses yield a standard of excellence which inspires, and her kind, thoughtful approach helps lead the Board towards decisions which reflect both the imperatives of the present and the challenges of the future.”

The other officers elected during Sunday’s vote in Auburn, California, were: Vice Presidents – Topher Gaylord, Tim Twietmeyer; Secretary – Allyson Thomas; Treasurer – Karl Hoagland. Hoagland will take over from Dr. Gary Towle, who after 38 years as the organization’s treasurer, will still remain a member of the board.

The board also announced that Dr. Andy Pasternak, a physician and ultra runner from Reno, Nevada, will now assume duties as WSER’s medical director. Pasternak has been the long-time medical director at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100-miler, and has served on the boards of Nevada State Medical Society and Washoe County Medical Society. He has also been the doctor, along with his wife, Dr. JoAnn Ellero, for the Peachstone, or “Cal 2” aid station at mile 70.7 of Western States. Pasternak succeeds Dr. Robert Weiss, one of the country’s leading kidney disease researchers/practitioners from UC-Davis.

Presidents of the Western States Endurance Run:

1978-1986, Curt Sproul
1987-1991, Doug Latimer
1992-1996, Tony Rossmann
1997-2000, Charles Savage
2001-2005, John Medinger
2006-2010, Tim Twietmeyer
2011-2015, John Trent
2016-2019, John Medinger
2020, Diana Fitzpatrick

HOKA ONE ONE NAMED PRESENTING SPONSOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WESTERN STATES CONTACT: Craig Thornley, WS 100 race director, rd@wser.org.

HOKA ONE ONE CONTACT: Gordon Wright, Outside PR, gordon@outsidepr.com

HOKA ONE ONE NAMED PRESENTING SPONSOR OF WESTERN STATES 100

The world’s oldest 100-mile trail race announces presenting sponsorship agreement with HOKA ONE ONE®, including “Golden Ticket” races

AUBURN, Calif. – HOKA ONE ONE® has been named the presenting sponsor of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, WSER President John Medinger announced.

“As one of the leading premium running brands in the world, HOKA has a recognized place in our sport as an innovative voice for competitors of all abilities,” Medinger said. “In the past few years, HOKA has shown what a tremendous reach it has not only for trail runners, but in telling the human stories that are so integral to the heartbeat of our sport.”

“Every year part of Western States’ job is to provide the canvas that will help tell 369 individual stories. Our partnership with HOKA will unquestionably help us bring those 369 stories into greater focus.”

Added race director Craig Thornley: “We are extremely excited that HOKA has made such a strong commitment to our mission as an organization, which is to serve the ultra community as one of the thoughtful leaders in our sport and culminates each June with putting on the highest-quality, yet intimate 100-mile experience we can possibly present for all of our runners. As we visited with HOKA, it was clear that our historic mission clearly resonated with their values as well. This is an agreement that is going to greatly benefit the experiences of our runners.”

“HOKA was born in the mountains and gained an early foothold in the trail ultrarunning community, so it is only natural that we would help put on the original trail 100-mile race,” said Mike McManus, Director of Global Sports Marketing for HOKA ONE ONE. “The Western States Endurance Run is an iconic event with an incredible community behind it, and one where some of the best-known legends of ultrarunning are born. We are beyond thrilled and proud to be the presenting sponsor.”

Also as part of the agreement, the traditional “Golden Ticket” series of races will be re-branded the “HOKA ONE ONE Golden Ticket Races.” The series, which allows the top two female and male finishers in each race to gain entry to that year’s Western States, for 2020 will consist of January’s Bandera 100K in Bandera, Texas; February’s Black Canyon 100K in Spring Valley, Arizona; March’s 74-mile Georgia Death Race in Dawsonville, Georgia; April’s Lake Sonoma 50-miler in Lake Sonoma, California and The Canyons 100K in Foresthill, California.

ABOUT THE WESTERN STATES 100-MILE ENDURANCE RUN: The Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, first held in 1974, is the world’s oldest 100-mile trail run. Held on the last weekend in June in Olympic Valley, Calif., Western States brings together runners from across the globe and from all 50 states on an iconic trail through the historic California Gold Country for what is considered the country’s most competitive 100-mile trail race.

About HOKA ONE ONE® 

HOKA ONE ONE® produces premium performance footwear for athletes of all types. Born in the mountains, HOKA ONE ONE shoes were initially distinguished by their oversized midsoles; today they are designed with the same enhanced cushioning, inherent stability and problem-solving inspiration to meet the running, walking, fitness and outdoor needs of a wide variety of users. With a bold and often unexpected approach, HOKA ONE ONE empowers athletes of all levels to feel like they can fly. For more information, visit hokaoneone.com or follow @hokaoneone #timetofly.

WSER/WSTF Volunteer Steward Program Announcement

The Western States Endurance Run Foundation (WSERF, organizer of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run) and Western States Trail Foundation (WSTF, organizer of the Tevis Cup), in partnership with the American River Ranger District and Truckee Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA), wish to announce the creation and implementation of a new model to maintain and improve the trail(s) used by both events.  The new Volunteer Steward Program, modeled after successful approaches used to maintain the Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail, will rely on relatively small well-trained and highly committed groups of volunteers to maintain and improve the Western States and Tevis Trail system.

Although the courses for the Western States Endurance Run and the Tevis Cup vary in certain areas, they share the same trail over the majority of their 100 mile reach.  Both organizations have a long history with respect to use of the trail system, and have individually and in partnership built and maintained much of the trail that exists today.  Therefore it makes sense to draw from the resources of both organizations to create a focused and efficient system for trail maintenance and improvement.

This new system of trail management will be lead by John Catts (WSER finisher and volunteer, and equestrian), with support from Nicole Wertz (Tevis Trail Manager).  To facilitate trail management, the Western States trail system has been segregated into eight Trail Sections.  Each Trail Section has a designated Trail Section Lead, and these Section Leads are currently in the process of assembling their respective Trail Section Teams.  With a defined management structure and designated Section Leads our goal is to work closely with the USFS and ASRA to identify trail maintenance needs, and work with the USFS and ASRA to both maintain the trails and plan and implement special projects.

The Trail Sections and Trail Section Leads are as follows:

  • Robie Equestrian Park to Watson Monument – Jim Mather
  • Watson Monument to Red Star Ridge Aid Station – Craig Thornley
  • Red Star Ridge Aid Station to Robinson Flat – Kynan Matz
  • Robinson Flat to Pacific Slab Mine – Mark Falcone
  • Pacific Slab Mine to Foresthill – Chaz Sheya
  • Foresthill to Rucky Chucky/ Poverty Bar – Tim & Austin Twietmeyer
  • Rucky Chucky to Browns Bar Trail at Quarry Road – Jay Marsh
  • Browns Bar Trail at Quarry Road to Finish Lines – Kassandra DiMaggio & Andy Mayo

  Although a number of our Section Leads have current chain saw and first aid (with CPR) certification, we have set up training classes to keep our Section Leads and their core team members current with their training, and to provide training for those not yet certified. We have encouraged our Section Leads to participate in trail crew leadership workshops.  With a higher level of training and skill our Trail Section Teams should be able to more efficiently respond to trail related issues, and help plan and implement both regular maintenance and special projects over a greater portion of the year. 

With respect to entrants selected to participate in the Western States Endurance Run, and their mandatory volunteer requirement, the WSERF and WSTF want to continue to encourage participants to give back to our community, so the volunteer requirement will remain in effect.  Although there may be fewer opportunities to fulfill an 8-hour volunteer requirement on the Western States Trail system, there will likely be a one or two trail work opportunities each year that will be advertised on the WSER (wser.org) and Tevis Cup (teviscup.org) webpages.  These events will likely be special projects where we need greater numbers of people to move or place materials.  We will still organize the Robinson Flat Trail Work Campout and Celebration (June 21/22, 2019) to complete trail work in the High Country in advance of WSER and the Tevis Cup. And you are encouraged to join one of our Trail Section Teams by contacting a Section Lead or John Catts (trails@wser.org).

In addition there are many other opportunities to help our trail community, by volunteering your time to either do trail work or work an aid station or vet check (see the WSER and Tevis volunteer pages).  As an example The Canyons Endurance Run has already planned local trail work days on April 13/14, May 11/12, and July 6/7, with signup at ultrasignup. Because this is a shift in how the WSER and Tevis Cup trails have been maintained in the past (a handful of core individuals and a number of large volunteer days), it will take some time to optimize our new Volunteer Steward Program. So please feel free to join a team, provide constructive feedback, or participate in our Robinson Flat Campout to learn how you can help.