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.

Black Suede


  1. Great choice by WS board! Not that many more folks are out there who are as obsessed with WS100 and at the same time are willing to take up on the job. The other obsessed just love to run it:) You do realize you lost your 10 years bet to AJW, right? So…are you relocating eventually? Will Waldo have Meghan and whomever she invites, or you’d keep coming for directing it? How’s the lottery going to be, old school with envelopes and names in a hat? I bought timeless stamps, I am ready!
    Really, Craig, congratulations. Nice birthday present. Or simply great day at the office.

    • Olga, the ten year bet isn’t over until we both have 10 finishes. My last two will just have to wait 15 years. By then I’m hoping the boys won’t want to spend the weekend with their parents so I’ll get off cheaper.

  2. LB, I know there are many, many people reading this blog who are very thankful to you! I know I am. You have introduced dozens of people to Ultramarathon running and Western States. You created an outstanding event in the middle of the Oregon Wilderness that remains one of the classic, boutique ultras on the circuit. You consistently shared your passion with hundred of people and smiled the entire time.

    Of course, you also gave me endless opportunity for useless banter, created silly bets you knew you couldn’t win, and didn’t mind when my sons peed in your hot tub!

    Here’s to many great years at Western States. After I finish the 2013 race I will be at your disposal to volunteer in any way you need me.

  3. Craig, your definitely one in a million (in a good way). The ultra running world is a better place with you in it. Hell, the world is a better place with you in it! You are a supreme giver. Oregon’s loss is Cali’s 69% gain. Maybe you can help them get back their “edge”? There’s always dual residency!

  4. Congrats, and good luck! I hope you and yours busted out a Moet—this is huge.

    A transition like this is going to be a contest between the competing requirements of tradition and innovation. How does one maintain the continuity of a legacy, and yet prune away deadwood and ossification? The modifications that were made in past years out of necessity can now be looked at and judged in the larger context of “are these structurally sound?” or “is this a redneck patch job that isn’t up to code?”

    You’ll get it from all sides, and be swarmed by every angle-player in the ultrarunning firmament. Constituencies will have to be wooed, hands will have to be held, and egos massaged. Some days you’ll want to turn off everything, because everybody will have an ill-considered, idiotic, crapulent opinion which is based on their Inscrutable Evidence, which will be shared far and wide. You’ll find out who your friends are, guaranteed.

    Aside from all that, no sweat. I look forward to seeing you at the finish line!

    Oxes will be gored.

  5. Craig,

    I’m glad you got the job of race directing States. I know how much you love that race. I volunteered all ten years at Waldo not just because I consider you and Curt friends, but I wanted to be part of what I believe was the best organized race in Oregon. In the back of my mind, I always kept hoping you would eventually change the Waldo 100KM to the Waldo 100 Miler. It takes one hell of a race director to organize a very successful, challenging 100 mile mountain race. I always believed you would be the one Oregon race director that could do that for Oregon.

    Can I suggest one new registration change for States? 50 runners from Oregon chosen every year and not all of them from Eugene. I know several Corvallis runners who would really like to run that race again. 🙂

    Good luck!


    • Clem, you wrote STATES!!! There’s hope for you yet 🙂

      Seriously, I appreciate all your help and guidance, especially in those early years of Waldo. All of the OTS RDs have helped each other and that definitely makes Oregon special. Hopefully we’ll never lose that. As for your Corvallis WS drought this year, you gotta admit there were many years when everybody from Corvallis got in the race. Law of averages, my friend.

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. Enjoy your retirement!

  6. Craig,

    This post is 11 paragraphs of gratitude. The two highest human virtues are gratitude and generosity. We all know about your generosity, and it is very moving to see a post composed of nothing but gratitude. I’m quite sure that, years from now, the participants in WS will be expressing their gratitude to you in return.


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  8. WOW WOW WOW!!! Pretty cool, Craig – congratulations! I can’t wait to hear what the first “crapulent” opinion is, but I’m positive Mr. Trail Safety is correct in that you will definitely get a load of it. Does this mean you’re moving back home with Mom?

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