Western States 2006 -- WS Management response to Scott Mills Comments

by Shannon Weil

[Shannon Weil of the Western States Board of Trustees, sent us a message in reaction to Scott Mills's comments on the Brian Morrison incident. (See Scotty's comments for more information.) Since Shannon, unlike Scotty, observed most of the drama first hand, we asked her permission to print her comments. She agreed. Her comments, with slight edits, are below. --The Editor]

. . . I was concerned [about Scott Mills's Western States report] because some of the content, in my opinion, seemed to sensationalize the Morrison story beyond fact, and felt compelled to offer some eye witness notes. However, Scott certainly got it right about being a brutally hot day.

I followed Brian [Morrison] down the course and was able to watch his progress at key checkpoints. The next day, Sunday, I spoke with him and asked some specific questions about his strength at various sections of the course throughout the day.

He said he ranged from feeling great to good all day and was ingesting fuel up until the last three miles of the course. His pacers did not push him harder then he felt he could run. His sodium level had dropped significantly which caused his collapses within only one half mile of the finish line - contrary to Scott's comment about struggling the last 25 miles. At No Hands Bridge, three miles to go, he was moving very freely and changed pacers.

In the stadium, the cheering crowds did not go silent but continued to cheer Brian, despite his difficulties, to the finish line. Nevertheless, everyone clearly knew they were witnessing an unfamiliar set of circumstances never before seen at WS.

Brian was immediately attended to by two WS doctors (Lind and Towle - 63 years of combined experience at WS) and excellent nurses who are some of the best medical specialists to handle his exact condition. His status turned around immediately.

Brian was not rushed to the hospital but was taken about one hour after he had finished. He was sitting up, smiling and waving to the crowds as he left the stadium.

All of us at Western States responded in the very best way we could. We expect Brian will return next year and have another go at the race and we will welcome his return. He truly is made of the stuff that produces champions.

Thank you for your time,

Shannon Weil
V.P & Founder WSER