The 2020 Squamish 50 is Cancelled

Coast Mountain Trail Running Race Directors Gary Robbins and Geoff Langford have made the nearly impossible to come to terms with decision, to cancel all but one remaining event throughout the remainder of the 2020 season. Here is their message to runners:

We are making some incredibly difficult decisions and sacrifices with a clear focus on how we as a small business can survive the next 12 months, while preserving as much of the value of your event entry. Events that are officially cancelled now include all but the Whistler Alpine Meadows races, which are still as of now, scheduled to be held at the end of September, though this will be revisited at the end of April.

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, and we feel it is our duty, as community leaders, to ensure we’re doing all we can to assist with the curbing of the spread of COVID-19.

We as a race organization have spent this past week discussing every possible scenario we can account for. We are a small family owned operation, with myself and Geoff Langford at the helm as co-owners/operators. We have a small team of people that work with us on each race, and one part-time employee. Everyone on our team has been part of the following decisions, with the health and safety of our runners in mind. All of us are making every concession we can, to support our runners to our maximum ability.

Over the last week of the constantly unfolding, unprecedented, worldwide outbreak of this virus, we came to one clear conclusion. As an events company, many large budget items needed to produce the remaining races on the calendar will come due in the coming weeks. We’ve already invested on various levels in all of our events. If we continue to commit funds, only to then have to cancel events this summer, we will go under as a company. In a Hail Mary attempt to limit our losses to a potentially manageable amount, we were forced to accept the inevitable. Our 2020 season, save for our Whistler races, is officially cancelled. We’ll present you with your options as you continue to consume this email in its entirety. Each event has a slightly different reimbursement structure to it, based upon how far along we were in the production of that unique race.

At this point we feel it necessary to provide further context as to how we arrived at this decision. We have spent tireless hours sourcing every reliable update possible on how this virus is spreading, and what this will mean for our worldwide trail running community. We feel that the absolute best case scenario that may unfold locally in the Vancouver region this summer, is that *maybe* events will be permitted to occur, though if this is to happen we’re guessing there will be strict threshold limits in place. Since our average attendance per race is 500 people, and Squamish50 tops the list at close to 2000 people (runners + volunteers + sponsors + friends and family members), we think it would be irresponsible of us to push forward into the summer as though nothing were happening right now.

We feel that it would be irresponsible of us to ask runners to continue to train for our events under the current restrictions many of you are facing. We feel it would be irresponsible of us to ask runners to travel from around the world this summer, potentially leading to further transmission of this pandemic that we are all working tirelessly to prevent. We feel a social obligation to contribute to keeping people away from large gatherings. We feel it our duty to encourage people to stay as local as possible this summer.

The question most of you have been wanting answered since you began reading: How will we as a race organization reimburse you, the runners? Again, each structure is unique to that race. If you’ve registered for multiple races under our Coast Mountain Trail Running banner, you will have received an email per race, with unique options for that event. Please understand, we’ve spent many, many hours crunching numbers and finding the formula that we feel is most fair to all involved. These options are based on the timeline each race has already committed to from a production standpoint, while also recognizing that as an events company, we’ll be stretching ourselves thin for at least two years to stay operational through all of this.

Are There Ways People Can Help CMTR Stay Afloat?

  1. Well we’re glad you asked, and thank you for reading this far! As we work through the merchandise details, what’s been produced and en route vs what can still be cancelled for the year, we’ll be looking to have a merchandise sale asap. Anything you can contribute to purchasing here would be massively helpful.
  2. Gift cards. We’ll be sharing a link on how to purchase gift cards for future events, in 2021 and beyond. These hold no expiry date and assist by giving us some revenue certainty over the coming months.
  3. Be a positive influence right now. Times are tough and stress levels are through the roof. Be kind, be thoughtful, look out for your friends, your family members, your neighbours. Make connections with people. Call friends. Check in on loved ones. Shoot over a short message to people to let them know you’re thinking of them. A small gesture can go a long way in times like these.

How CMTR Will Continue to Give Back This Year

There is of course the potential that we may be misinterpreting the tea leaves right now. Maybe events in and around Vancouver, and across the globe will go off without a hitch this summer. That is of course our absolute hope! In the event that gatherings of people are in fact allowed over the coming months, here’s how the team at CMTR intend to give back.

  1. If races are happening, we’ll be there. We’ll show up to volunteer at other events. We’ll assist in promoting other races via our social media channels. We’ll do everything we can to still be a part of the local trail running community throughout all of 2020.
  2. We’ll be arranging trail work dates from Vancouver to Whistler. We already had dates in place, but those are of course on hold right now. We will continue to arrange, promote, and partake in trail building and maintenance efforts as we are permitted to do so.
  3. Low key group runs and gatherings. If come Squamish weekend, as an example, that being August 15th, gatherings of people are allowed, we’ll be looking to get together with our brethren in some capacity. If 200 people are allowed to get together, as an example, we’ll arrange something in Squamish with 200 of you.

What to Expect in 2021

At this point we’re planning a full roster of events in 2021…and maybe even a new event if we’re lucky.

How Can We Help You, Our Runners?

We are quite serious here. Are you struggling? If you’re in a tough spot, we want to find a way to help you out. Message us. We’ll do whatever we can to be there for you, even if that is as simple as a phone call to connect and to help each other realize that we’re going to get through this, together.

We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to be stronger on the other side of this. We’re going to have a greater appreciation for just how special our community is. We love that we’ve been able to get to know so many of you over the first 9 years of producing events, and we can’t wait to see you all again, and to see what the next 9 + years of producing events and fostering friendships looks like.

Take care of you and yours. Wash your hands. Take social distancing seriously. Self-isolate where possible. Our healthcare system and healthcare workers need you more than ever right now.

All the best,

Gary Robbins, Geoff Langford, and the CMTR team.