The Ten Year Bet

In the spring of 2007 there’s a group of us Western States runners hanging out in Michigan Bluff talking smack like we always do.  Who’s gonna kick whose butt in the race.  Who’s the fittest.  Who’s the fattest.  And on and on.  Then my friend AJizzleWizzle, a.k.a. AJW, a.k.a. Tan Mitts, a.k.a. Three Names, the loudest guy in the room – always – begins boasting about how he has dominated me in the WS races we’d had up to that point, which were four finishes for each of us. Now, I hadn’t been M2, M6, and M8 like he had but I had been M10 twice and hadn’t finished farther back than 16th so, not knowing exactly the stats, but feeling fairly confident, I kinda bowed-up on him, and boastfully said, “I don’t think your aggregate time is better than mine.”  Tan Mitts just chuckled, because, as is typical of him, he hadn’t looked at results for anybody else except himself.  How could I, the old, slow, conservative-running Lord Balls, who had never been higher than 10th, be anywhere near his majesty, who was M2 only 27 minutes behind Jurek in 2005, in aggregate time.  After all, AJW is the best head master ultrarunner in the universe, just ask him.

AJizzleWizzle starts to scratch down numbers – his first, of course.


2001 21:46  35th (M? – he can’t count how many chicks beat him this year)

2004 18:26  8th (M8)

2005 17:07  2nd (M2)

2006 20:04  7th (M6)

Total 77:23  52

Lord Balls

2001 20:20  16th (M14)

2002 19:44  15th (M13)

2004 18:46  11th (M10)

2005 18:25  10th (M10)

Total 77:15  52

I wish I had video of the totally stunned Tan Mitts as he totalled the numbers.  AJizzleWizzle’s total aggregate time was 77:23 to Lord Ball’s 77:15?  What?  “How could that be”, he wondered as he double and then triple checked his math.

So the ten year bet was born.  Lowest total aggregate time of our first ten finishes wins.  Loser pays an all-expenses paid weekend for the other’s family at the Grand Canyon.  We had a few details to work out like what happens if we DNF (updated to be 30 hrs X (100/Miles Completed)) or what if we can’t get ten finishes (forfeit), but those were just details.  We shook hands and the arrogant AJizzleWizzle had to check his math a fourth and fifth time because he still couldn’t believe I had the lead.

Then we raced in 2007.  It didn’t go that well for me in terms of the bet.  Sure, I was happy to grind out a finish to get in under 20 hours and get third in the 40-49 age group (that would be my second age group jacket to your one, AJizzleWizzle), but Three Names had been at the finish long enough to finish his Youtube dance, drink a 6-pack, take a shower, get a massage, take a nap, and then wake up to see me finish.  Yep, he ran 17:20 and I ran 19:56.  He gained 2:36 on me and vaulted convincingly into the ten-year bet lead.

I can’t say that I’m happy he has the lead, but I have not lost hope, and this might just work to my advantage.  You see, even his wife thinks I don’t have a chance against her Andy.  “Why would you enter a bet that you know you can’t win, Craig?” she says to me at Wasatch last year, where I paced him for the second time.  They’re both so cocky and convinced I don’t have a chance.  I think I like that.  Remember the story about the tortoise and the hare…

If you want more of AJW smack talk see Top Ten Signs You May Be AJW. I’m still waiting for him to get me back for that one.

Update: Looks like AJizzleWizzle has tried to respond. With what else, a poll?  See his post on the bet. Please go there and vote for him.


  1. Well, my friend, the cat’s out of the bag now. You just keep those legs shaved and those toenails painted and I’m sure you’ll be fine.

    Two hours and thirty six minutes is a long time. Think of all the things it takes LB to do in 2:36:

    1. Stretches his hamstrings before a run
    2. Chops down trees doing “voluntary” trail work
    3. Sits in the hot tub recalling those bygone of being in the top-10
    4. Takes a shower
    5. Runs from Brown’s to the Finish

    His Lordship can call me arrogant and all that but I just have one thing to say, and it’s been said before,

    “Thornley, game on!”

  2. LB,

    That update is, quite frankly, over the line. I get it, rip on my blogging skills (or lack thereof) when you know you don’t have a prayer in the bet. “Go to the poll and vote for him.” That’s rich. You think I don’t know what your trying to do? This is really, too funny. I bet the next post will be some long drawn out story about how you held me off and beat me at Way Too Cool a couple years ago or how I lose $500 every year at the Georgetown Hotel. Do I need to remind you of AC in 2003 or how about Javelina in 2007. Did I actually lap you there? I know, “there goes AJW with his arrogant, taker attitude.” But really, do you really think you have a chance to win the 10-year bet? It’s given, you are a better blogger than me. I confess. In fact, I admire you for that. It must make you feel really good. But, c’mon, if you really are going to “Conduct the Juices” shouldn’t you do so with your legs and not the keyboard?

  3. @AJW – It may have sounded like I was mocking your lack of blogging skills, but I am actually impressed that you beat me to the poll idea. Don’t you think it’s kinda interesting how all the blogspotters are doing polls right now? But yours is unique in that there are only two people in the poll. That’s an original idea.

    And another good move by diffusing the 2007 Way Too Cool race where I held you off by 27 seconds. You’re getting better. When you finally get the skills to put a hyperlink and a photo in your post that’s when I really better watch out.

    Hey, is that ghost town race this weekend? What are there, like 60 old folks in the race? Cherry picking for a victory are you? Good luck. Sounds tough.

  4. Just putting in the miles, LB. I’m way past cherry-picking, I’ll leave that to you Mr. Two-Age Group Jacket Guy.

    I actually don’t care about victories in this hostile environment. But, I must say, it’ll be hard for you to overcome the 5-hour lead I’ll have on you by the end of June. Keep trying…

  5. 1) Let’s get this bet over with, make it a 5 year bet!? I know you both have the sense of an ultrarunner of what a spectator sport is….this bet isn’t it…I can’t stand if someone takes 10 seconds to think about a bet playing poker..
    2) For what it takes to into States these days, this dammed bet will take you guys 434 years to complete…It’s like trying to calculate the payback period for buying a hybrid Toyota Prius…
    3) The whole “M” is just plain getting tougher and tougher these days with all the speed showing up to States, and…um…guys, I say this out of tough love because I am in the same boat…neither of you getting any younger….maybe you’ll have to switch to “F” for the last couple of years???
    4) Oh but of course, your syncro-blog fixed all that I am sure!!…I am sure the WS Board has granted you both auto entry for the next 5 years just so they have to under go the wrath of another syncro blog..”God, NO, NO!..Don’t…go…SYNCROOO!”
    5) Craig, have to point out that one of AJW’s finishes was during the blood bath year of were injured….otherwise likely AJW’s sum total would be 60-90 minutes faster….oh no wait, actually you would be 20 hours further behind him because you would have run 6 times..
    6) Let’s speed this 10 race bet up a little…you both run 5K’s in about the same time as you run States, just in minutes and seconds rather than hours and minutes…for example 18:30….run 5K’s, 5 of them…head to head..oh sorry, AJW, I used the “head” word, being the “Head Master”…that takes on different meaning for you I am sure.
    7) With entry getting so difficult…just double up on each race…run back to Squaw and get 2 for 1….
    8) Have your pacers fight at the finish in Auburn to determine the winner…Oh…did Craig mention that David Goggins is his new pacer???
    9) Actually, let’s speed this bet up even more…you both run 18.3 for the 100 meters tops I bet……so we could hold our own little Special Olympics for runners afflicted with stupidity…
    10) Hate to break it to you Craig — you’ll just have take a bite of humble pie on this one, AJW is the best ultrarunner in the Nation……… that is a Head Master……that lives in a small remote town in Idaho..without a doubt! AJW, we always called the person in your position at school the “Principle”…why do you insist on beind called “The Head Master”?????

  6. Not that I’d expect any DNFs, but it seems to me that simply counting the time at 30:00:01 for a DNF is insufficient. Suppose LB finishes his tenth race, and AJW has more than 30 hrs, thus needs only a DNF to win the bet? A DNF should be more severely punished. I’d propose the time for DNF = 30 hrs X (100/Miles Completed). Thus a DNF at mile 50 = 60 hours bet time.

    On a side note, I think it’d be cool if you guys are neck and neck heading into placer this year – in positions M10 and M11. M10 gets automatic re-entry and another potentially good finish next year, while M11 is banished to WS lottery Purgatory, rapidly aging and growing senile, waiting for his next WS entry.

  7. I like the amendment. Let’s write it into the bet. And, with that said, there will be no stinkin’ DNF’s.

    As for the M10, M11 battle going into Placer, I’d like to see that. However, I hope to have a bit more of a cushion than that, perhaps M6 and M7.


  8. Don’t you think it’s interesting that you beat me soundly in my poll for the 10-year bet and yet you have not received a single vote for winning the Masters’ race at WS this year?


  9. I voted for Craig, not because I think Craig is going to beat Andy this year…however, year after year and as Andy kids get older — I hate to break this to you Punky-Brewster Wizzle Jizzle Booth Jr…. they will demand more time — and that’s okay and when that time comes for you Andy, you won’t care that much about Western States….does the name Tim Tweetasomething mean anything to you?

    Therefore, long term, Craig is a safer bet — you both are really smart runners — okay….check that, let me clarify, you both run smart, I can’t say you’re really smart runners. Andy is like a stock….Craig is like a bond.

  10. Holy crap! I can’t let that go. Craig is a Bond? Now, that hurts! “I won’t care that much about WS?” Oh man, if you didn’t live out there in the corn I’d come and kick your ass but since it’s down around sea level I can’t do that. Just know, you’ve added fuel to the fire. And, if I’m a stock, I’m McDonald’s and WalMart. Good stuff at fair prices all the time. And CB, if you’d seen LB at the finish in 2007 (after I woke up from my nap!) you might have voted differently.

    AJ (freakin’) W

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