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Parks set to close for Western States

Organizers say this year going to be strong year for 100-mile run
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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As Western States runners prepare to hit the trail, state parks officials are notifying recreationists of park closures next weekend. The annual Western States 100-mile endurance run will take over a stretch of land crossing through the forest from Squaw Valley to Placer High School in Auburn later this month. In preparation for the event, the Auburn State Recreation Area is closing sections of the park impacted by the race between June 26 and June 28. Those sections include Driver’s Flat Road, Sliger Mine Road, Cherokee Bar Day use Area and the Ruck-A-Chucky day-use area and campground. The event starts at 5 a.m. June 27 and ends 11 a.m. June 28. The trail area will be closed to the public as about 400 runners head down the hill. The parks are also closed a day before the race for preparations. John Trent, Western States run spokesman, said this year looks to be one of the strongest even for the race. He said organizers and runners are knocking on wood that this year’s event will go as planned. Last year, the endurance run was canceled because smoke from large area forest fires caused a health concern for athletes. “The trail, because of recent moisture, is probably the least dusty it’s ever been,” Trent said. “All in all it sounds like it will be a fast course for the race.” Trent said faster runners are also expected to compete in this year’s race. He said last year’s top qualifiers from other endurance runs were invited back as well as top qualifiers from long-distance runs held this year. He added that since the beginning of the year, “a couple hundred” volunteers have cleared felled trees and other obstacles from the 100-mile course. He said by now, the course is ready for “really, really excited” runners, who are expected to start arriving next Wednesday. “The best way I can describe it is it’s like if you miss Christmas for a year,” Trent said. “It seems like there is a lot of pent-up demand and energy for the race.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.