Marathon portion of Shore to Shore canceled due to wildfires

MANSON — The Sept. 12 Lake Chelan Shore to Shore Marathon has been canceled due to wildfires burning in the region, organizing group RunWenatchee announced today (Aug. 26).

As of now, the plan is still to hold the event’s half-marathon and 10K races that day, with the half-marathon utilizing a new course. There is no fire activity near the half-marathon or 10K courses. Rain is forecast to fall in the region this Saturday (Aug. 29).

For those who have signed for the event, see important additional details below.

A portion of the proceeds from the half-marathon and 10K will go to a fire victims relief fund.

Shore to Shore race director Joel Rhyner said Chelan County officials and the race organizing committee agreed holding the marathon is not doable. The First Creek Fire located along the lake’s south shore is not contained, and there is limited access on South Lake Shore Road, which makes up more than half of the marathon course,

“The health and safety of our runners is our number one concern,” Rhyner said. “We would never want to put any of our runners in harm’s way, nor would we want to hinder any of the firefighting activity going on in the area.

“It’s disappointing to have to take this step. You never want to cancel a race,” he said. “But once we learned there was going to be limited access to South Lake Shore Road, we were out of options in holding the marathon portion of the event. There are no other roads along the lake there that can replace the more than 13 miles we use for the marathon. That’s not the case with the half-marathon and 10K, so that is why we are planning to still hold those races at this point.”

While there are no active fires burning in the direct vicinity of Chelan or Manson, firefighters have been battling blazes along or near Lake Chelan since late June and further north in Okanogan County since mid-August. As of Tuesday, more than 404,000 acres had burned between the Chelan and Okanogan fires. Dozens of homes and structures have burned and sadly three U.S. Forest Service firefighters lost their lives in the Methow Valley last week.

Because the entire stretch of South Lake Shore Road has limited access, the half-marathon will now start at the City of Chelan’s Lakeside Park at 8 a.m. From there it will head west on Highway 97A to a turn-around spot near the intersection of Highway 97A and South Lake Shore Road, and then proceed to the finish in Manson on the regular half-marathon course.

The 10K course will remain the same, starting near the Chelan Shores development along Highway 150 at 8:30 a.m. and continuing to the finish in Manson.

“By holding the half-marathon and 10K we want to give Lake Chelan a shot in the arm and to exhibit the community’s resilience in the face of a bad situation,” Rhyner said. “We will continue to monitor the fires and smoke conditions, and if needed, we will make further changes to the half-marathon and 10K. We expect to make a final decision on whether to hold the half-marathon and 10K no later than Sept. 8. The health and safety of our runners is our number one concern, and will remain so up to and through race day.”

Runners who signed up for the marathon can receive a 30 percent reimbursement of their registration fee; have the 30 percent reimbursement donated to Chelan Valley Fire Relief Fund; receive a transfer entry into next year’s race; or drop down and do either the half-marathon or 10K on Sept. 12. (For more details see below.)

Marathoners must let organizers know which option they are choosing by emailing info@runwenatchee.com by Sept. 5. If they want a race shirt, they must also provide their mailing address in that email.

A portion of the event’s proceeds will go to fire victims. Rhyner said the Chelan Valley Fire Relief Fund is being administered by the Community Foundation of North Central Washington. For more on that effort: http://www.cfncw.org/.

Shore to Shore Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10K was started in 2001. The 2014 race attracted about 600 runners, many of whom came from different parts in the United States.

Economic development officials estimated the 2014 Shore to Shore Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10K generated about $300,000 in spending for the local economy.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR RUNNERS WHO REGISTERED FOR THE MARATHON

Since we are just two weeks away from the marathon, many of the race costs have already been incurred. Typically we have a no refund policy, however, due to these unforeseen circumstances we want to do what we can to make things better for runners. Here are the four options for runners who signed up for the marathon:

1. Receive a 30 percent reimbursement of your registration fee (less Eventbrite fees).

2. Have the 30 percent reimbursement of your registration fee (less Eventbrite fees) donated to the Chelan Valley Fire Relief Fund.

3. Receive a transfer entry into next year’s Lake Chelan Shore to Shore Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10K.

4. Drop down and do either the Shore to Shore half-marathon or 10K on Sept. 12.

If you are a marathoner, you must let us know which option you are choosing by emailing info@runwenatchee.com by Sept. 5. Please include your name and use the subject hed, “Lake Chelan Marathon.”

Please note there will be no refunds given out at the event on Sept. 12.

RACE SHIRTS FOR MARATHONERS

All the shirts have been ordered, paid for, and been printed. If you registered for the marathon prior to the deadline (Aug. 15) to be guaranteed a shirt, we’ll be mailing those to you via the address on file via the Eventbrite sign-up that you used when you registered for the race. Please let us know at info@runwenatchee.com if that’s not the address you want us to ship your shirt to.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR RUNNERS WHO REGISTERED FOR THE HALF-MARATHON AND 10K

At this point in time, we expect to hold the Shore to Shore half-marathon and 10K on Sept. 12.

Because the entire stretch of South Lakeshore Road has been closed, the half-marathon will now start at Chelan’s Lakeside Park at 8 a.m. From there it will head west on Highway 97A to a turn-around near the intersection of Highway 97A and South Lake Shore Road, and then proceed to the finish in Manson on the regular half-marathon course.

The 10K course will remain the same, starting near the Chelan Shores development along Highway 150 at 8:30 a.m. and continuing to the finish in Manson.

We will continue to monitor the fires and smoke conditions, and if needed, we will make further changes to the half-marathon and 10K. If the air quality forecast is for “unhealthy” conditions the day of the event, we will need to cancel.  That decision will be made no later than Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Joel and Michele Rhyner,
Steve Maher
Lake Chelan Shore to Shore
Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10K

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