With the announcement this week that I will be the next race director of Western States 100 starting with the 2014 race, I’m feeling incredibly humbled, honored, anxious, excited, but most of all thankful.
Thankful for my wife of 25 years who is fully supportive of this big change in our lives. She not only has put up with my obsession with Western States for 25 years, but she has also listened, counseled, and encouraged me in all my endeavors. I’m sure there are several clichés I could use right now, but suffice to say I wouldn’t be here without her. No doubt in my mind.
Thankful for all the people who made Waldo the special event that it has become. To Curt Ringstad who was my co-RD for the first ten years and also the co-founder of the race. To all the volunteers who believed in the event and stuck with us through the early years when we didn’t have many runners. Nobody in their right mind would create an event with three remote hike-in aid stations. 1.5, 2.5 and 3.0 mile hike-ins to setup full service aid stations? That’s crazy. To all the runners who have come and run the race and made all our efforts worthwhile. To the other Oregon Trail Series RDs who have been instrumental in the success of this event from day one.
Thankful for the Willamette Pass Ski Patrol and the Oregon Region of NSP. To all the instructors who spent time teaching me skills in the specific disciplines the last 13 years. To my fellow patrollers who I’ve learned so much from and who trusted me and believed in me to be their leader.
Thankful for my training group and Team Sunsweet. I get just as much out of watching my training partners succeed as I do myself. Maybe it’s because I’m old and can’t run fast [anymore]. When the book gets written, no doubt there will be a chapter on the Wednesday workouts, the Tuesday night hunts, and the weekend runs that always begin at my house at noon. Oh, and the secret “Barkley Training” we’ve been doing lately.
Thankful for my family. If we didn’t move to Cool or camp down in the canyon that hot June 1978 night the obsession might not have ever been born. You can’t make up stories better than that.
Thankful for all my friends who make my life fun and fulfilling.
Thankful for the ultrarunning community. To the readers of this blog. To AJW for giving me something to write about all these years. To all the guest posters and people who contributed to the conversation here.
Thankful for those who wrote letters or otherwise supported my candidacy for the job. You know who you are.
Thankful for the opportunity to truly live my passion. To the Western States board for trusting me to take the reins of this incredible event. To the WS community that we are about to immerse ourselves in. To current RD Greg Soderlund for creating a plan to ensure a smooth transition and for showing me the ropes.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am thankful for Black Suede. “It smells like chest hair and gold chains with just a touch of Aqua Velva.” It’s the secret to interview success.