The Western States Endurance Run (WSER) lottery is now open from November 9 to 16, and the board of trustees celebrated by voting in new officers. On November 10, Diana Fitzpatrick (President), Tim Twietmeyer (Vice President), Topher Gaylord (Vice President), Allyson Thomas (Secretary), and Karl Hoagland (Treasurer) were elected as the officers on the WSER Board.
The board is now 40 per cent female, which is a step in the direction of gender equality at the oldest 100 mile trail-running race in the world. Twenty per cent of 2019 finishers (65 in total) were female, an all-time high for the event. Last year, organizers updated lottery policies by announcing pregnancy lottery and entry deferral. In February, the also announced a new transgender athlete policy.
WSER has a long history of legendary females, including Canadian/British citizen and course record-holder Ellie Greenwood and youngest winner (at 21 years old) Kathy D’Onofrio in 1986. Still, the start line remains over 80 per cent men. The makeup of the board and lottery changes are a few examples of how race organizers can provide more opportunities for all genders in an historically male sport.
These changes indicate that WSER may no longer have the reputation of being an old boys club. WSER veteran Andy Jones-Wilkins tweeted his excitement, stating that this vote is “truly a sign that the WSER board gets it.”