Anyone on the planet that has run an ultra seems to have been tuned in online for the past weekends Western States Lottery. 270 names drawn from the new electronic GUbucket, folks watching online and about 200 in attendance in the Placer High Cafeteria. Having already been on the invite list for months I too got caught up in reading as many folks opinions and thoughts on the event via blogs and friends posts on Facebook. It was fun seeing all the excitement build there where good and bad emotions discussed on these blogs.
Being from the area and running, enjoying the trails it is sooooo easy to see it as your own..After all I did work at Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky District..385,000 acres and often it was me and 5 other souls playing in the park...do we want to share or let others in..I often enjoyed showing the park but also loved closing the gate and having it just be MINE...ok a selfish act but the silence and beauty are such that I did not want it spoiled. So I can understand many opions seeing that Western States needs to be changed to remain viable to its own legend it has built over the years. No matter what I did however would stop people from discovering this area and today its still remote, still beautiful but visited by a new generatation of adventure seekers all wanting to experience what I had...Can the same be said for Western States? I would say yes. I was not part of the original group and I get to see Gordy Ansleigh, talk to Tim Twietmeyer, Ann Trason all legends of the trail..Each has there own view on the race, the trail, the experience. Perhaps my opinion about the race is best as a visual I saw last year at Western States 2009....I was pacing friend Rena Schumann coming in to finish her
9th Western States and go for the 1000mile buckle in 2010. As we where making our final climb up the "Black Hole" to Robie Point...Running down and Smiling was Tim Twietmeyer..(yea that is right 25 time sub 24hour finisher)He was running down offering encouragement to those runners getting close to the 30hr cutoff at Nohands..He wanted those runners who had been out there long after the elites had finished, had been out all night and now into the middle of the second day to finish the race and get their buckle..Later at the finish hugging these same runners..those that did not WIN the race but finished the race where just as important as the sub 24silver buckle group..He simply wanted to show he cared for those folks, the trails and the event itself...For that I see no point to change the event, keep it as it is, enjoy the course, the training, the day.
It was really disappoining to not see all of my friends get drawn but it has become a bigger race that dreams are made of...Good Luck to all that got picked and I will see you at the line June 26,2010.