Endurance runners are seeking alternatives after the 100-mile Pine To Palm race, set for Sept. 9, was canceled because of wildfires raging through Southern Oregon and Northern California.
The run traverses the Siskiyou Mountains from Williams to Ashland, where the Miller Complex fires are currently roaring through roughly 16,000 acres of rugged terrain.
Race director Hal Koerner posted a message on Facebook earlier this week announcing the cancellation of the event due to health and safety concerns caused by the out-of-control blazes, triple-digit heat and smoky skies that have produced deteriorating air quality.
“The first 30 miles are in serious jeopardy and it’s possible that these fires will encroach on more P2P territory considering the trajectory and fueling conditions that are to come over the next few weeks. The forecast has triple-digit heat for the weekend and continued wind patterns like the ones we are witnessing now. There really is no end in sight at the moment,” Koerner wrote.
Koerner is currently working out details to extend a full credit for the 2018 event to those who paid the race entry fee in advance.
“You may get an email/invite to register and you may just find your name listed when we open registration,” he wrote.
According to a flurry of Facebook posts, racers are supporting Koerner’s decision and offering alternatives.
Chad Bowen’s plan for a P2P replacement is something he’s calling “The Watershed Fatass Skyrace.”
The course is a 50K-plus (33.8-mile) trail with 9,000-feet of climb set high in the foothills above Ashland. Runners are invited to meet up with Bowen at 7 a.m. Sept. 9 at the Granite Street reservoir.
Caution: This is a run-at-your-own-risk event. Bowen says the trail likely will not be marked. The three-legged route begins and ends near the top of Granite Street. There will be opportunities to bail and resupply at roughly the 8-mile and 19-mile marks.
“Air quality will still be an issue,” says Bowen. “But, I wanted to offer up an alternative for anyone who will be in or around Ashland.”
For more details, go to: www.strava.com, the social network site for runners, cyclists and triathletes.
Koerner is encouraging runners to hit the trails in other upcoming events, including the Rio del Lago 100 on Nov. 4, Javelina Jundred Oct. 28-29, IMTUF 100 Sept. 16-17 and Mountain Lakes 100 Sept. 23-24 — “all have reached out and are still accepting entries,” his post reads.
Two premier trail running events similar to P2P are on runners’ radars.
Headwaters, set for Sept. 30, offers 50K, 30K and 10K trail running events in the Klamath Mountains west of Mount Shasta City, Calif. Mount Shasta provides a scenic backdrop to the challenging trails.
Named after the headwaters of the Sacramento River, the 50K and 30K are scenic, mountainous loop courses run entirely on single-track trails and dirt forest roads that wind up, down, around and through the rugged mountains. The 10K race is a flat, fast loop on the lake trail that circles the forested shores of Lake Siskiyou.
Runners are advised to monitor weather and air quality conditions as this race also could be impacted by wildfires. Registration closes Sept. 27. For more information and registration details, go to www.headwatersultra.com.
The North Face Endurance Challenge will be held Nov. 18-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Runners will start at a location in the Marin Headlands and follow a course that takes them across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Presidio, and to the finish line at Crissy Field.
There are four events offered: a 50-mile, 50K, marathon and half-marathon.
For more information and registration details, go to www.thenorthface.com.
Reach Grants Pass freelance writer Tammy Asnicar at email@example.com.