by Tom Ripley / Christina Ralph RD’s
Due to a brutal fire season in Washington State the Plain 100M /100K was in jeopardy of being cancelled up to the last week before the race. Through the efforts of the race committed ( Christina / Tom ) and the USFS we were able to modify the course using almost 80% of the original course, still keeping the difficultly level very high and allow runners from four countries and eleven states to get the full Plain experience. Below is a letter I sent to the USFS thanking them for their assistance in the most difficult fire year.
Cascade Running Club puts on one of the most difficult foot races in North America. The Wenatchee River and Entiat Ranger Districts is where the course is laid out and the race The Plain 100 M/ 100K is held. The same exact course has been used for 18 years and covers 106 miles (approximately) of trails in both Districts. People from as far away as South America and 11 states were scheduled to travel to Washington State for the race in September 2014.
The 2014 version of the Plain was in jeopardy from the time the Mills, Duncan and Kelly Mt Complex fires started. I was in almost daily contract with Patrick Herman in the Entiat District to get up dates that allowed me to create alterative courses depending on the fires progress. He was truly interested in assisting me and I greatly appreciated his help and not making me feel that my daily calls were a disruption to his day. They might have been but he never treated me as such.
Kevin Smith of the Wenatchee District gave me very valuable guidance in how best to handle my difficult situation, assistance with getting my Special Use Permit and basically leading me through the process. Again Kevin always treated me and my many questions with the upmost professionalism and never considered what I was doing as a trivial concern in light of the greater scope of the forest fires and closures.
I also talked with many others in both Districts offices and to a person they all went the extra mile to assist me in getting everything done that needed to be done, without creating undo huddles for me. Every phone call or request was directed to the correct person without fail. I don’t have all their names and I wish I did however Kelly Underwood who assisted me in making my payment for the events SUP said she would make sure that the Districts knew how much we appreciated their assistance.
Lastly I want to thank the wilderness Rangers who patrol the back county on motorcycle. Mason and Mike have always been a great help to us and in this year’s event gave assistance to at least two race participants that were either off course and just wanted to confirm their current locates. Without the help of all the motorcycle Rangers there is no possible way that the back county trails would be as safe as they are.
To close I just want to say THANK YOU. Everyone in public service should take a lesson from your two districts on how best to get the job done and still make the general public feel they matter.
Tom Ripley / Christina Ralph
Cascade Running Club
Plain 100M / 100K