The Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run is scheduled for next Saturday. Are they really crazy enough to run 13.3 miles uphill in this smoke?
— David S., Medford
For those of you who don't know what the Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run entails, it is a 13.3-mile scramble that ascends from Ashland's Lithia Park and follows tree-canopied, dirt roads and trails to the summit of Mt. Ashland. The route gets so steep toward the top that runners have to use their hands to pull themselves up the incline.
The run features more than 5,600 feet of climbing, which is more than a vertical mile.
We tried to get a hold of the race organizers to answer your question, but they were probably out there running wind sprints in gas masks or something, so we went to the event's website, mtashlandrun.com, to see whether they had information about smoke contingencies.
And, indeed, they did.
The website says the race will not be run if the air quality index rates the air as "unhealthy" or worse.
Race organizers said they will depend on Oregon Department of Environmental Quality information posted at www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx.
Another site they will follow is airnow.gov, which carries air quality information, maps and forecasts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Organizers said they won't decide until Friday, Aug. 9 — or possibly on the morning of the run, Aug. 10 — whether they'll cancel.