Historic Snowfall Forces Changes at Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB

April 28-29 races will start and finish in Auburn with adjusted courses and time cutoffs.

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With the northern and central Sierra Nevada mountain range buried by record snowfalls since December, the springtime melt-off is going to take a lot longer than usual.

That will extend the ski season, but it will also impact the trail running in the region. The organizers of the Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB said on March 31 that alternate courses will be utilized for the 100K and 100-mile races on April 28-29, while the 25K and 50K races will remain unchanged. The weekend event is the first UTMB World Series Major event held in the U.S., and is also a Golden Ticket race that gives the top two male and female finishers a chance to run the Western States Endurance Run. 

The 50K and 100K races are sold out, but registration is still open for the 25K and 100-mile races.

While keeping tabs on the record snowfall throughout the winter, the race organizers began working with local municipalities, the U.S. Forest Service and other land agencies to develop alternate plans to host the event safely and effectively. Each of the races will now start and finish in downtown Auburn and feature a Chamonix-style festival in downtown Auburn that will increase runner support and give spectators more opportunities to view the races.

As of March 31, a record 651 inches of snow had fallen on Donner Pass, not far from portions of the Canyons 100-mile and 100K courses. The organizers said in a release that its race personnel and land agency partners have not to date been able to access significant portions of original courses to perform required trail work that needs to be completed to open up the trail and receive the necessary permits for the race.

RELATED: After Mosquito Fire and Heavy Rains, Western States Trail Requires Serious Work

Canyons Endurance Runs 2023 Reroute snow
Photo by Scott Rakis

Race organizers said that more than 50 percent of the new 100-mile and 100K routes will run on the Western States Trail and provide beautiful views of the American River Canyons, lush foothills bursting with wildflowers, and rushing waters of the Middle and North Forks of the American River.

The 100-mile courses will now have approximately 17,000 feet of elevation gain and loss and the overall race cutoff time is being increased from 32 hours to 36 hours. The 100K course will have 10,500 feet of elevation gain and loss and an additional hour before the 20-hour cutoff time. However, Western States Endurance Runs officials have determined that the new qualifying time for the 100-mile race is 32 hours and for the 100K is now 18 hours.

The 25K and 50K courses at the Canyons Endurance Runs will remain unchanged. 

Running Stones and qualification for the UTMB Chamonix championship races remains unchanged — 100M = 8 Running Stones, 100K = 6 Running Stones, 50K = 4 Running Stones, 25K = 2 Running Stones.

Want to Know What It Takes to Finish at Western States? Just Ask Hellah Sidibe.

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