A Generous Ultrarunner

Stephen Itano first came to Waldo in 2007.  He finished his third Waldo last year.  While he isn’t one of the elites that has me shaking my head wondering how he could run that many miles or that fast, this 51 year old Californian did something that still has me shaking my head.  Last November, John Ticer made the following comment on my blog in reference to TNF 50 offering $10,000 first place prize money:

“Well there goes the neighborhood…$10k for a trail race that’s insane.  Since we seem to have a cap on the number of people running in most trail races (which I believe is good for the trails even if I don’t get into States) I guess that was the only way left to ruin our sport. In a show of true sportsmanship if I win I will donate the money to a Trail Foundation of Craig’s choice.”

My reply to John, who I knew was not going to the race, and who’s too old to win that kind of race anyway:

“Well, seeing that GOATS got $1000 of my hard-earned money this year (thanks to White Trash), how about you buy Waldo a new chainsaw? The Stihl 362 would be perfect. We got 20 more miles of the PCT to clear next summer.”

Steve, Five-time Waldo Finisher

Steve, Three-time Waldo Finisher

A few minutes after that exchange I get an email from Steve, “I’ll donate one.”  Are you kidding me?  This is a $600-$700 saw.  A few more back and forth emails and today I went to my local saw shop and picked up the following saw – completely paid for by Steve via the phone.

The New 362

The New 362

What a pretty cool thing to do, Steve.  Very generous and thoughtful.  We will put the saw to good use this summer.  For you locals, there will be a few more opportunities this summer to do trail work as I have recently become the steward of the PCT from Willamette Pass to Charlton Lake (18 miles).  I’ll be responsible for both clearing the blowdown and the tread & drainage work so there will be work before and after the race.  Stay tuned to the Waldo site for dates and times.

Meantime, if any Oregonians are looking to improve your skills and become an asset to the trails community, you will have three opportunities through PCT Association and High Cascade Forest Volunteers to take some classes and meet volunteers and FS or PCTA employees.  The first training weekend is in Cascade Locks April 15-17, the second in Westfir (Oakridge) May 13-15, and the third is in Allingham (Sisters)  June 3-5.  For more information and to register for the classes see the Training Weekend web page. Registration begins Feb 15.


  1. Super cool, Steve! it’s like a “pay it forward” thing- White Trash gets a donation to GOATS from LB, LB gets an equipment donation for trail maintenance from Steve.

    Now, who’s going to step it up for Steve? Maybe there’s an RD or two that’ll comp him a race entry?

  2. Steve and I chatted for a long time in the Auburn Best Western post-WS in 2009. He is one of the smart ones who stays around through Monday. Total class act and a guy who gets it. Now, let hope LB doesn’t cut off his fingers with that sweet new saw!

  3. Thank You, Steve. I’ll put another log on the “class act” fire. What a great story. With all of the recent blog posts about “how to bring money into the sport”, championships, etc, It’s nice to read about someone supporting the trail workers/event volunteers that put time into making these trails so nice to run on.

    Steve, If you ever want to run Waldo again, your entry is on me.


  4. Steve is world class, and has been long before redefining cool by donating chainsaws (which honestly, is about the coolest/macho-est thing I have ever heard).

    Class act, indeed! Thanks for showing us how it’s done, Steve, and for broadcasting, Craig.


  5. Ha! I have to say that the real folks that deserve credit are Craig and all the volunteers that will be using the chainsaw on their free weekends. I really appreciate all the work they do in maintaining sections of the PCT (with misery whips even) I also really appreciate the work in putting on Waldo


  6. Steve, Thank you! I’m not licensed to use the saw, but I’ll be up there to help Curt and Craig, clear those trails and hopefully to power walk and maybe run with Curt over the second half of that course this year as he runs the race for the first time.

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