The Western States Endurance Run, the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-miler, has been cancelled for 2020 due to coronavirus. The race, which was scheduled to take place between Squaw Valley and Auburn, Calif. on June 27 and 28, made the announcement today via Twitter. All associated training runs have also been cancelled.
The 2020 Western States and training runs have been cancelled. https://t.co/voDgQY9yFL
— Western States 100 (@wser) March 27, 2020
WSER joins hundreds of road and trail races being cancelled or postponed around the world as a result of the global pandemic, which has affected more than 550,000 people and claimed 25,000 lives worldwide. The U.S. now leads the world in numbers of COVID-19 cases, with 85,000+.
The race site posted a message explaining the decision to cancel (as if any was necessary): “We have made the decision to cancel after careful deliberation, knowing that our foremost responsibility is to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our 2020 entrants, our volunteers, our broader running community, and society at large. The current situation in the United States and throughout the world is one of disruption and uncertainty. We feel that moving forward with plans for a race in June is not aligned with what our government, medical experts, and society is asking us to do. While painful to do knowing the hopes and dreams that surround this event, we feel it is the responsible action to take in light of what is going on in the world around us.”
The race also announced that it would honour all 2020-qualified entrants at the 2021 race, in effect simply shifting everything ahead by one year: “In accordance with this decision, we are offering an entry spot for the 2021 race to all runners entered in this year’s race and a wait list spot on the 2021 wait list to all people on this year’s wait list. The 2020 Memorial Day training runs are cancelled and all registrations for those events will roll over to the 2021 Memorial Day training runs. More details on entry and registration for 2021 events will be provided later.”
In 2019, Jim Walmsley and Clare Gallagher won the men’s and women’s races, Walmsley beating his own course record from the previous year (in 14:09:28) and Gallagher running the second-fastest time every by a woman. (Canadian runner Ellie Greenwood holds the women’s course record at 16:47:19.)