Dear ,

Hope you are well. After a successful gathering at our Memorial Weekend Training Runs last weekend we are now full steam ahead towards the race. It felt so good to be together again and doing what we love to do.

We feel very confident that we will have a safe race at the end of June. As I told you previously we made the commitment a few months ago that 100% of our volunteers will be vaccinated. At the training runs, we learned from the COVID questionnaire that over 90% of runners were either vaccinated or had prior infection. If that carries over to you race entrants, that's a lot of immunity. As COVID infections have continued to plummet, on June 15 the state of California is expected to completely re-open and there will be very few restrictions on gatherings. I again want to thank you for your patience. If we had made mitigation decisions months ago we would have had a very different race from what we can now look forward to.

In this update email I will describe the mitigation measures we will implement in addition to a couple other items of information. You can expect one final update in the final days before the race.

Crew and Pacers

These will be very close to normal. All aid stations that are normally crew accessible will be open to your crew. We do ask that you limit the number of crew vehicles to one per aid station. The only changes with respect to crewing is there will not be shuttle buses at Robinson Flat and Michigan Bluff.

At Robinson Flat we have a complex parking situation due to space limitation. All cars will be stopped at Sailor Flat which is 1.4 miles away from the aid station. Some cars will be allowed to go up the road past Sailor Flat and park at the top or on the side of the road on the return. When those spots are filled, cars will be parked at Sailor Flat. It's a 1.4 mile mostly uphill hike to the aid station. As spots open up, cars will be allowed to drive up the road and fill them. Since this is at 30 miles there is plenty of time to get there from Olympic Valley.

At Michigan Bluff the hike is about a half-mile and generally downhill to the aid station. It is difficult to crew at both Michigan Bluff and Foresthill even when there is a shuttle and will be even more of a challenge this year. I would suggest not planning to have your crew meet you at both locations.

Pacers will be as normal, except they will be asked to fill out a COVID questionnaire asking if they have any symptoms or have had a recent exposure to an infected person.

Please be sure you, your crew, and your pacers are familiar with the Performance, Pacer, and Crew Rules.

Runners

We have had ongoing discussions with our medical experts about what we should do with you, the runners. We have decided that the following measures are safe and appropriate for our event.
 
At registration, all runners will be required to complete a COVID questionnaire checking their current health status. No proof of vaccination or COVID testing will be required unless someone's questionnaire responses indicate they may have COVID or recent exposure to an infected person, the runner may be required to provide follow up information or have a COVID test. We will have rapid COVID tests available at Olympic Valley if any testing is needed. If anyone wants to get tested prior to arriving at Olympic Valley, we can provide information on COVID test sites in nearby locations like Sacramento, Reno, and San Francisco.

Pre-race Agenda

The race week agenda is on the website. Again, with California opening up on June 15 we expect it to be fairly close to normal. We'll have clinics, an expo, a flag raising ceremony, etc. The two major exceptions are there will not be an Uphill Challenge and the pre-race briefing will be held outside at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Aid Stations

The aid stations will be touchless: aid station personnel will glove/tong/spoon nutrition to runners and pacers, and fluids (water/GU/soda) will be poured touchless into your bottles/bladders/cups.

WSER is cup free. GU Energy will provide you with a reusable cup on Friday at registration. Please carry it with you to use at the aid stations, or be prepared to use your own bottles. 

In an effort to keep gel wrappers out of the landfill, WSER is participating in the Terracycle program. Each aid station will have a receptacle to collect empty packets of any brand so we can upcycle them. The flexible film packaging is shredded and pelletized and is then used by manufacturers to make new products such as reusable shipping pallets, picnic tables, park benches, bike racks and playgrounds.

On The Trail

You will be following pink ribbons and pin flags the whole way. If you see any other color or combination of ribbons we did not put them there. For the night sections we will be using the same pink ribbons with small pieces of highly reflective red/white material at the bottom and pink pin flags with reflective stripes. Generally, there will be 5-8 ribbons/pin flags per mile, not including turns/intersections. A little less in the first half, a little more in the second half when runners generally slow down. There will also be small directional yellow signs at key intersections to help you.
Cutting switchbacks is not allowed. Littering is not tolerated. While we realize you may inadvertently drop something from your pack, please be very careful. It is incumbent on all of us to be respectful stewards of the trail.
 
If you are close to the cutoffs coming into an aid station, we will be utilizing the following protocol to help you manage your time.
 
30 minutes----3 short blasts on air horn
20 minutes----2 short blasts on air horn
10 minutes----1 short blast on air horn
5 minutes----Verbal warning to all those still in the aid station
Aid station closed----one long blast on air horn
 
You must leave the aid station before the cutoff.
 
If for whatever reason you decide to drop from the race, please be sure you have your wristband cut off by an aid station captain. If you are unaccounted for we will attempt to contact you and/or your emergency contact. If we are not successful in these attempts, we will need to contact Search and Rescue. So it is imperative that we get your wristband if you have to call it a day.

River Crossing

With a low snowpack and warm spring weather, we will be crossing the American River at mile 78 via a cable strung across the width of the river with volunteers standing in the water to help you get across. This is often one of the highlights of the race for many. The water levels are controlled by an upstream dam. If you get to the crossing early you may find water up to your armpits. The water level will continue to drop and most people will be crossing at waist level or less. Please follow the directions of the volunteers and hold onto the rope!

Enjoy the last bit of training and the taper.


Craig Thornley
Race Director

Sponsor Offer
Our sunglass sponsor Goodr is offering a 20% off discount for anyone who enters WESTERNSTATES at checkout. Good through July 1st.