For the first time in its 35 year history, the Western States 100 mile endurance run didn't happen.
Ground fires near the course -which runs from Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA - and also poor air quality led race organizers to cancel the event.
This turn of events was devastating for the entrants. Most had trained, saved money, and prepared for this race over many months. And some, like my friend Wayne Gregory, made the trip all the way from Sydney, Australia...to find out he didn't have a course to race on.
I'm not about to get into the pros and cons of what has transpired. Some simply accepted it as fate, while others ranted and said ugly things on web posting boards about the race organizers.
Personally, I would have hoped that an impromptu event - possibly a 20-mile loop out of Squaw Valley five times around - could have been implemented. But I wasn't there, and don't have the knowledge nor authority to make such decisions.
Western States is the grand daddy of ultra racing...it's the first, and the most prestigious. It's so popular strict qualifying races, and then a lottery, are necessary to choose the entrants each season.
I have crewed a runner on the course, and have also entered the lottery - and was rejected - on two separate occasions. So, for me, Western States looms out there somewhere in the future.
I am very compassionate toward those who had their dreams stripped away. Let's all journey forward and expect that another great day will dawn at the Western States 100.