Back in 2014 the Western States 100 board changed the qualifying race standards to better emulate their mission and position of being the oldest and most prestigious of all trail 100 milers. The move was meant to give every entrant better odds at getting a ticket to the big dance, (I have been thru 5 lotteries, and there is still close to the same amount of entrants as before, but no doubt there would be double). So the Board eliminated the 50 mile distance that year and the shockwaves were felt around the ultra world. While 50 miles is a long way, it is not half as hard as a 100. The 11 hour cutoff was very generous as well. For some 50’s, like Lake Sonoma or Tahoe Rim Trail, that may be about right, but most 50’s were not that hard. You could hear all the affected race directors give out a heavy sigh. “Now what?” You could also hear the buzz from all those who were routing new 100k races in hopes of becoming a qualifier.
In 2012, the idea for the Canyons 50k was born, and in 2013 we started working on it. We had applied for our permit when we heard the new standards and so we went ahead with the one distance, but I had decided that we would develop a new 100k race with the hopes of a qualifying nod. Well….. last week I received the news from the Western States 100 board that yes, in fact, we had accomplished that goal. We are thrilled, humbled, honored, and grateful to be chosen. There are only 7 100Ks on the West Coast, and 3 in Northern CA with a total of 84 races worldwide to make the list. It was no small feat and everyone who did their part should be proud. From the runners to the volunteers, the sponsors to my co race directors, I THANK YOU ALL!
My promise to you is that we will honor and cherish the standards set by all those who have come before, those who give so much now, and to those who’ve yet to run a step on dirt rock or rut. We will be there to help all those who wish to run on these sacred grounds, the Canyons of the Western States Trail, historic and iconic, where champions and back-of-the-packers alike, can share the trail. That’s the beauty of our sport. On any given start line, at least for one moment, we are all equal. And when we finish, albeit some in the day and more in the night, we have accomplished the same goal of getting to the finish line.
Registration will no doubt come with a flurry of interest, so if you are thinking the Canyons 100k may be on your list this year, be ready for November 15th as we open the gates to your chance at getting a ticket to the big dance. Click Ultrasignup to register.