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It's personal: Twietmeyer set to run solo Western States 200 to boost special trail status bid

Auburn runner’s Independence Day weekend run could be hampered, stopped by smoke
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Tim Twietmeyer is poised to run 200 miles to deliver a message to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in support of special status for the Western States Trail. The five-time Western States Endurance Run winner and Auburn resident plans to run a route starting Friday that crosses the Sierra Nevada range using four major trails – the Tahoe Rim Trail to near Squaw Valley, the Tevis Cup horse ride trail through the high-country valley, the Western States Trail down to Auburn and the Pioneer Express trail from Auburn to near the California Capitol. Twietmeyer’s run generally follows the old Capital to Capital horse trail – a ride from Carson City to Sacramento that equestrians took four days to complete. Tweitmeyer plans to run non-stop and cover the trail in two days. Double the length of the Western States 100, with challenges along the way as daunting as the threat of heavy smoke in the air and intense heat, the run will be a challenging one, said Garett Graubins, contributing editor to Trail Runner Magazine. “Tim’s a smart runner and would pull the plug to run another day if he felt it wasn’t right,” Graubins said. “But this run is near and dear to his heart.” With pacers to aid the run, Twietmeyer will be treading on familiar ground. He’s finished the Western States run 25 times and is currently the ultramarathon organizing committee’s board president. Twietmeyer’s support team is anchored by Bay Area-based outdoor clothing and equipment outfitter The North Face. The company sponsors its team of endurance stars in challenges as daunting as running ultramarathons in the world’s greatest deserts to climbing Pakistan’s tallest peaks and then skiing down them. A member of the North Face Endurance Team, Twietmeyer will be carrying a resolution from Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons with the intent of delivering it to Schwarzenegger at the end of his run. He’ll also be bringing along a cigar for the governor, who has a penchant for fine stogies. While the cigar may be seen as a stunt, the message behind Twieeyer’s run is a serious one. The resolution Twietmeyer will carry has already been adopted by several local government boards, including the Placer County and El Dorado County boards of supervisors, the Placer County Water Agency board and the Auburn City Council. The resolution from both governors is ultimately destined for the offices of California’s U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Feinstein introduced a bill in the Senate this April providing for a study of the Western States Trail to determine if it warrants federal protection as a national historic or scenic trail. The current list of trails with that status is a short one, with the Appalachian, Lewis & Clark, Pacific Crest and Iditarod trails making the list. Tom Christofk, president of the Western States Trail Foundation, said Tweitmeyer’s run has the support of equestrians. The Tevis Cup 100-mile on the ride is scheduled for July 19. “It’s an attempt by Tim to bring the issue to the forefront,” Christofk said. “We believe it deserves that national historic and scenic trail recognition.” Christofk, also director of the Placer Air Pollution Control District, said that smoke has continued from fires in the Sierra and pollution from the smoke is still pouring down canyons at night. Smoke and fire danger forced cancellation last week of the Western States Endurance Run. “We don’t see a change until there’s a full-on delta breeze,” Christofk said. With smoke sinking into canyons overnight, Christofk said his advice to Tweitmeyer – who will be running in the mountains south of the largest fire near Emigrant Gap – would be to not traverse the canyons in the morning hours because of the smoke sinking down at that time. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.