If you have any additional questions or concerns after reading this email, please send them to us via INFO@RAINSHADOWRUNNING.COM. We'll respond to each and every inquiry as promptly as possible.
As a lot of you have probably heard and seen by now, there is an exceptionally large wildfire burning near Chelan, WA. What some of you might not know, is that the fire is in fact burning very near to our Angels Staircase race course, and the smoke and ash it's creating are causing severe air quality issues in the area. It's called the Wolverine Creek Fire, and the only thing separating the fire - which has grown exponentially in recent days, and is now at a massive 25,000 acres and still growing - from our race course is Lake Chelan. The lake is a large lake, but it's less than a mile wide in the area where the fires are currently burning most intensely/most hotly, so while there is a chance an ember or spark could be carried across the lake via high winds, igniting the trails and forest in which in the Angels Staircase course runs, the biggest issue affecting our race course right now - and our ability to put this race on as planned - is air quality and an unsafe amount of smoke and ash in the air.
At this point there is zero chance the fire - which is now encompassing over 15 miles of forestland directly across from the Angels Staircase course - will be extinguished by this weekend. At this point, the fire is still really only projected to grow. Trails and areas we need to be able to access this week cannot be safely accessed due to smoke conditions, and changing and unpredictable wind patterns. Likewise with the races this weekend, due to this fire and its nearby proximity to our race course, there is zero ability for us to guarantee smoke will not be a major factor for this weekend's races. In fact, multiple sources - including all the best wind forecast data we can access, on top of local resources - suggest that fluctuating wind patterns will ensure the course and surrounding areas will be dealing with persistent and unsafe amounts of smoke and ash in the air.
We've been having ongoing conversations with the Forest Service and other area locals for the past few days, and it's with extremely heavy hearts that we've come to the collective and unanimous decision that we have to cancel the 2015 Angels Staircase 60k/35k races - for the safety of our runners, and for the safety of our hike-in and finish-line volunteers, race vendors, and race staff.
Our affinity for these races and this area aside, we simply can't and won't put anyone at risk due to this fire, and the resulting unsafe air quality in the area. We've been in the area ourselves for the past two days, and even without doing much running or vertical climbing, we're all feeling the negative effects of the poor air quality - from headaches, to itchy, watery eyes, to sore throats from the smoke. Multiple locals and Forest Service officials in the area have described the air quality from this fire as much worse than the Carlton Complex fires last summer, and the worst smoke and ash in the air they've ever seen.
Unfortunately, although rare, natural disasters do of course happen, and they've happened in this area, during this time of year, for two consecutive years now. While these sorts of disasters can't ever truly be predicted or anticipated, please know we are paying attention, and we are not planning to hold these races in August in future years - not with the persistent drought and increasing fire dangers plaguing the West in recent (and seemingly future) years.
We know this is the furthest thing from an ideal situation, and we're going to do our best to make you all as happy as we can in the wake of unfortunate event that's otherwise out of our control. Please continue reading below for more details on race credits, add-on transfers, shirts, and more. Thank you in advance for being understanding and patient with us as we navigate this situation to the best of our ability.
As we're four days away from race-weekend, many of the race costs have already been incurred - especially for a race as remote and logistically challenging as Angels Staircase. That said, we wanted to give you all as much notice as possible so you can make alternate plans as necessary, and we want to do whatever we can to ensure you can use the unused portion of your registration for another Rainshadow race, or donate to local fire relief efforts/funds.
Much like last year, we have two options we can still offer:
1. You can elect to donate half of your paid registration fees (less sales tax and UltraSignup fees) to ongoing local fire relief efforts and funds. If you want to do that, you don't need to do anything, and if we don't otherwise hear from you, we'll assume you want the remaining portion of your registration donated, and we'll add it to the donation we'll be making to the Fire Relief Funds set up by the Community Foundation of North Central Washington. (This is where we made the donation last year, as well.)
2. We'll provide you with a discount code for half of the total registration price you paid for the race (less sales tax and UltraSignup fees - to be sent via a separate email), which you can then put toward a future Rainshadow race of your choosing. Unlike most coupon codes, these codes will not expire, and, like all coupons, can be used once for any Rainshadow race that is not already sold-out. If you would like to receive a discount code for a future race, please send an email to INFO@RAINSHADOWRUNNING.COM with the subject line "Angels Staircase" and your first and last name by Monday, August 10th. If we don't hear from you by then, we'll assume you're electing to donate the remaining half of your entry fee to local fire relief efforts.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR RUNNERS WHO BOUGHT SHIRTS:
As it's four days before the race, all shirts have been ordered, paid for, and printed. If you bought a technical race shirt as part of your Angels Staircase registration, we'll be mailing those to you via the address on file via UltraSignup/that you used when you registered for the race. Please let us know via email if that's not the address you want us to ship your shirt to.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR FOLKS WHO BOUGHT OTHER ADD-ONS (FINISH-LINE BRACELETS, PINT GLASSES, ART PRINTS, HOODIES, ETC.]
- If you bought a finish-line bracelet or a pint glass, your name should appear on this spreadsheet (let us know if you think you bought one, and don't see your name on the spreadsheet), and that means we have record of your add-on purchase, and we'll be able to manually transfer it to a future Rainshadow race of your choosing. All you need to do is email us at INFO@RAINSHADOWRUNNING.COM to let us know what upcoming Rainshadow race you'd like to apply your finish-line bracelets, and/or pint glasses toward. Once that happens, we'll remove your name fro the master spreadsheet. In the meantime, we'll keep a running tally of your add-on credits, and you'll be able to see them via the public Google Docs spreadsheet linked above.
- If you bought an art print or a Rainshadow hoodie, we'll be mailing those to the address on file via UltraSignup/that you used when you registered for the race. Please let us know via email if that's not the address you want us to ship to.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR REGISTERED RUNNERS WHO ENTERED ANGELS VIA A TRANSFER / VOLUNTEER / OTHER COUPON CREDIT / COMPED ENTRY:
If you used a historic volunteer credit to enter the race at 100% discount, we'll honor that historic volunteer credit. Same goes for historic transfer credits at 100% discount. We have a master list of everyone who registered via a coupon code - either as a volunteer or a transfer - and while we don't typically offer multiple transfers on these sorts of coupons/credits, we know this is an extenuating situation, and so we'll be sending everyone that registered with a previous volunteer/transfer credit a separate email with some additional options. Please be patient with us, and give us a bit of time to get all of us this sorted. We promise to get back to you as soon as we can.
Thank you again for your understanding and cooperation, and we hope to see you at another Rainshadow event in the future.
James, Kerri, & Matt