Late last night we were told by a member of the WS 100 board that this years race had officially been canceled. It had been hinted at earlier in the day, but even so the news hit runners with a feeling of disbelief. I still can't put words to how I feel after pouring so much of myself into preparing for this event over the past five and a half months (as well as for the Grand Slam which is now also up in the air) The amount of time, money and emotion that has been spent by myself along with the 369 other runners will yield... nothing, nothing but a T-Shirt from a race that never happened.
One of the hardest things for me is that there is no one to blame for this, no place to target anger or frustration. I know being angry or frustrated about a race being canceled may sound petty to some, especially when people are fighting to save their homes, and I will be the first to agree that is where our thoughts and prayers should be. Still it hurts and in a way you feel cheated, and I don't know about you but when I'm hurt and cheated my nature wants to place blame (it's something I'm working on). The race was rightfully canceled because of over 800 wildfires that are burning out of control in Northern California, three of which burn within a mile and a half from the trail. These particular fires are not even being faught as they are in very remote back country and there are more pressing fires that are threatening entire communities. The smoke from these fires blankets California from San Francisco to Reno, Nevada and has reduced visibility to, in some cases , less then a mile. The air is so bad you can taste it in your food and at the end of the day, your clothes smell as if you've been at a camp fire. Even walking around Squaw Valley today it would burn your eyes something fierce. The authorities are telling people to stay inside.
The whole situation is just further proof (as if I needed any) that we can prepare and prepare, but ultimately we are not in control. Although it hurts, there was no other choice for the Western States 100 Organization,.There's nothing that anyone can do, it just is.