Yes, forever more the 2008 Grand Slam will have an * associated with it due to the cancellation of Western States. However, thanks to the Wasatch/Grand Slam race committee for making the decision to recognize the investment (physically, emotionally and financially) 36 runners had already made toward the goal of "slamming" in '08 and offering a modified version of the slam. I would also like to thank this group for not listening to the over compensating, testosterone influenced voices of those who felt that the Western States curve ball was not enough to make this year's slam more complicated and therefor thought the entire thing should be made even more difficult by running either Cascade Crest or Angeles Crest on back to back weekends with Wasatch, please, give me a break, as if having to audible six months into training , extending the season by four weeks, running four 100 milers in eleven weeks wasn't enough. Oh yeah, did I mention that Arkansas Traveler had a less then 50% finishers rate last year and that only one of four Badwater finishers ran it to completion. Traveler has 30,000 feet of elevation change on a course so rocky i was unable to wear shoes for three days following the event. Last year Traveler was run on the same hot and humid day as the much publicized Chicago Marathon. Temperatures in the 90"s with heat indexes well over 100 made for a chaffing fest like noone had ever seen as there was no way to stay dry in the Arkansas sauna. Despite the tough conditions Race Directors Chrissy and Stan Ferguson have put together a GREAT group of volunteers that serve the runners in a way most races could only aspire towards. Needles to say, I think Arkansas is a appropriate substitution and maintains the integrity and credibility of the Grand Slam.
So, how great is this, I still get to run the Grand Slam* this year and I already know I get to go back to Squaw Valley next year. For now...on to Vermont.