Top photo credit: Photographer Bryson Malone
All events, including the preeminent 50-mile ultrarace, will be scrubbed this year due to ‘unhealthy air quality levels’ from the Camp Fire.
Thousands of runners from around the world will have to make new plans for this weekend. That’s because The North Face (TNF) announced the “difficult decision” to cancel its prominent race series in California this weekend.
Citing air quality concerns in the wake of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history, TNF apologized to participants and promised entry into next year’s race series. The Endurance Challenge Championships (ECC) comprise nine races ranging from 5Ks all the way up to the 50-mile main event.
“The safety of participants, volunteers, and spectators is our highest priority and we feel strongly that in these current and unpredictable conditions, we are making the right decision to best protect the health and safety of all individuals involved in this race,” race organizers announced today.
In its decision, TNF not only offered racers deferred entry into next year’s event but also discount second entries for a friend or another event. Most notably, the California-based brand also donated the entire race purse and additional supplies to the wildfire relief effort.
Canceled: The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships
This year’s racers will receive automatic entry into next year’s California event. In addition, racers can purchase a discount entry into another race series event in New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, or Washington, D.C., for themselves or a friend. TNF said it will provide all necessary information to participants in the first week of December.
As for the prize money, all $30,000 will go to the Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund. TNF will also donate the food and snacks for the event to Sierra Nevada Brewing, which is providing meals to firefighters and displaced victims of the wildfire.
The brand also said it will send more than 1,000 pieces of clothing to the Oroville Hope Center to further assist those affected by the fire.
The ECC races stretch along the California coast between Sausalito and San Francisco — highlighted by the Golden Gate Bridge crossing. The race sits about 180 miles south of Paradise, Calif., a town that made headlines after it was completely destroyed by the Camp Fire.
Still not fully contained, the Camp Fire has scorched more than 135,000 acres and claimed 48 civilian lives since it started on Nov. 8. Anyone who wants to assist in the relief efforts should visit the North Valley Relief Foundation.