Lake Chelan Half-Marathon, 10k cancelled due to poor air quality

This Saturday’s Lake Chelan Shore to Shore Marathon has been canceled due to
continuing poor air quality forecast for the region, organizing group RunWenatchee announced
“You never want to cancel a race,” said race director Joel Rhyner. “But the health and safety of
our runners is our number one concern. We would never want to put any of our runners in harm’s
way. The air quality needs to be in the good range. Even with moderate air quality, we’re putting
runners at risk as well as all the volunteers along the race course.
“We’ve consulted with health officials and monitored air quality forecasts, and it’s a fluid situation,
changing day to day,” Rhyner said. “We just can’t guarantee good, healthy race conditions on
Saturday morning. And we can’t wait any longer to make a decision because registrants have
travel plans and we need time to notify vendors and all of our volunteers. We spoke to our
presenting sponsor, the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, and they concurred with the
decision, too.”
Runners can receive a 25 percent reimbursement of their registration fee or receive a transfer
into one of RunWenatchee’s final two races in 2017 — the Oktoberfest 10-Mile and 5-Mile Trail
Runs in Leavenworth or the Nov. 23 Turkey on the Run 12K and 5K in Wenatchee. They have
until Sept. 24 to notify RunWenatchee which option they’d like. Those who choose one of the
upcoming races will have an entry code sent to them. (For more details see below.)
“At this point during race week, virtually all of our race costs have already been incurred so we
can only refund people a percentage of their entry fee,” Rhyner said. “We have a no refund policy
that we adhere to. However, due to these unforeseen circumstances, we want to do what we can
to make things better for runners.”
Like other areas in the Pacific Northwest, Lake Chelan has been dealing with poor air quality due
to smoke from wildfires for the past few weeks. Depending on wind direction, the smoke has
come from wildfires burning in Washington state, British Columbia, Alberta, Idaho, Montana and
Within the past week, a new fire broke out on Lake Chelan’s north shore. Other fires are burning
near Winthrop, Leavenworth and Cle Elum. Their effects on local air quality vary through the day.
“The smoke is coming from all sides; that’s the problem,” Rhyner said. “It isn’t like we are dealing
with one or two fires from a certain location. It makes determining future air quality — even a few
days out — difficult.”
“Smoke conditions can change rapidly as winds shift, which makes these decisions difficult, but
we definitely recommend that people avoid activities involving exertion, such as running, in smoky
conditions,” said Barry Kling, administrator of the Chelan-Douglas Health District.
National Weather Service forecaster Bryce Williams told The Wenatchee World newspaper,
“We’re surrounded by fires. And smoke is reaching the center of the state (including Lake Chelan
and Wenatchee) from all directions, depending on the air currents at different elevations.”
A change in wind direction is expected in the Northwest by early Friday. But the National Weather
Service said this (Wednesday) morning it’s unclear if and when that will impact local air quality.
The Shore to Shore Half-Marathon was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Lakeside Park
in Chelan, followed by the 10K at 8:30 a.m. at the Chelan Shores Development. Both point-topoint
races were to finish next to Manson Bay Park in Manson.
The event would have celebrated its 16th year on Saturday. RunWenatchee has organized Shore
to Shore since 2011.
Registrants must let organizers know which of the two options they are choosing by emailing by Sept. 24.
Here are the two options for runners:
1. Receive a 25 percent reimbursement of your registration fee (less fees).
2. Receive a transfer entry into the Oct. 14 Oktoberfest Trail Runs in Leavenworth or the Nov. 23
Turkey on the Run 12K and 5K in Wenatchee. Those who choose the entry into one of the
upcoming races will have an entry code emailed to them.
Registrants must let RunWenatchee know which option they are choosing by emailing by Sept. 24. They should include their name and use the subject hed,
“Lake Chelan.”
Registrants can pick up their race shirts at two locations and days:
1) From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. this Thursday at Pybus Public Market in Wenatchee
2) From 6 to 8 p.m. this Friday at Vin du Lac Winery in Chelan.
Please note: These are the only two places the shirts will be available. Shirts will not be mailed.
Shirts not claimed will be donated to charity.