Rogue Valley Runners in Ashland, Oregon is arguably the capitol of ultrarunning in the US these days. Sorry Seattle Running Company and Auburn Running Company, but have you seen the caravan of ultrarunning gypsies that owner Hal Koerner has assembled down there? Let’s see, there’s Ian Torrence, Erik Skaggs, Kyle Skaggs, Tony Krupicka, and the Western States 100 defending champion himself, plus a couple of solid, but lesser-accomplished runners (sorry Ixel, Chris, and Darcy). It’s a great place to buy shoes or just hang out and chat with the boys.
After being told by Hal at the Southern Oregon Fat Ass 50K on the Rogue River trail in January that he was glad I was in front of him for the first three miles so he could “practice his 72-hour pace,” I was actually speechless. He got me good and I had no response. But when I finished an hour or so after him, I warned him that his time will come just like AJW and Twiet. Well, Hal, it’s come. Here are the top ten things you might hear at Rogue Valley Runners. All quotes are from Hal unless otherwise noted.
10. “Seriously guys, do these Moeben Sleeves without a shirt make me look fat?”
9. “Can you believe that I’m the defending WS champion and I still don’t get any respect?” (see AJW’s poll where he was 5th)
8. “Hey Hal, how many races are you going to drop out of this year? You should try to break the all-time record.” [Kyle]
7. “Does anybody know what to do for plantar fasciitis?”
6. “Chris, did you borrow my pink arm panties? I can’t find them and I’m in a sexy mood today.”
5. “Hal, are you and Ian going to grow some this year and sing karaoke at the Georgetown Hotel after Way Too Cool? Carly and I were the only ones to represent Ashland last year which was really weak.” [Erik]
4. “Is it true that somebody from Eugene has won Way Too Cool two years in a row now? Didn’t all you guys go down there last year? Pathetic, guys.” [Kyle or Tony]
3. “Next time Thornley’s down here will you ask him to sign the photo we have of him on the wall?”
2. “Tony, if you beat me at States, you’re fired!”
1. “Ian, it’s your turn to pet and clean my cougar today.”
Did I miss any?
2/9 Update: In private communication with the defending WS champion, he acknowledged that he looked out of shape in the Where’s Waldo Fuji picture I included above. So, to show me what he really looks like when he’s out of shape, he sent me the picture to the right and said, “this is what Western States champions do in the off season…….. Cabo, dirt, 90’s………good luck.”
11. IT WON’T BE LONG NOW! We’re gearing up for online sales, so be sure to visit us again.
1. It takes all 23 store employees to subdue a single shop-lifter….
2. Hal is growing his hair longer thinking it will make him as fast as the other guys…..
3. Instead of bragging to your co-workers that you ran 4 hours today, you’re actually embarrassed that you only ran that far.
4. Working full time means putting in a 40 hour week of course, 15 actually working and 25 running…..
5. They can play possibly the crummiest pickup game of 2 on 2 basketball to watch known to man…..
6. When Anton started working there, Hal had to take down the store sign that said, “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service!”….
7. If you’re over 30, you are referred to as the “old guy”…
8. They call it Rouge Valley Runners, but nobody actually ever runs in the valley….so Rouge Runners is more fitting..
9. It could be the largest group of employees ever assembled in a single location in Oregon, that have never worked a full time job.
10. They all think Ryan Hall is a sprinter…..
11. On Hal’s employment application there is no spot to list your work history….just your PR’s…
12. With that many ultrarunners in one store, Hal had to put in a second bathroom….
Loved it. All of it – in post and comments. Still laughing, can’t stop.
This sh*#t is hilarious! I think you’ll be hearing from many of us.
I may be lesser know and not as accomplished as some of these nuts at RVR but who was on the cover of the January Trailrunner…;P
Go ahead and bring your two on two team to Ashland and I’ll school both of you by myself, but I’ll have Erik on my team so I don’t make you look too bad.
@Rennaker – Sorry, I forgot to mention your TrailRunner cover shot. (Click here to see it) Beautiful. Is that one of Hal’s arm panties on your head?
Top 10 Reasons You Don’t Want Anton Working in a Running Store:
1. When asking customers how much mileage they run a week they reply, “30 miles or so”…Anton keeps quipping back, “I asked how much for a week not a day?”….
2. When customers mention they are training for a marathon, Anton busts out laughing…”Is that really the best you can do?”….
3. Much to Hal’s dismay, Anton keeps put up racks of empty hangers under the “Running Apparel” display…
4. When Anton goes running during the lunch hour, he doesn’t get back until after 5pm….
5. When customers ask for more than one pair of shoes, Anton goes all intellectual…”This just another example of a capital rich society with commercial interests with their advertising industry that do not want people to develop contentment and less greed. Military interests in economic, political, ethnic or nationalist guises, do not want people to develop more tolerance, nonviolence and compassion. And ruling groups in general, in whatever sort of hierarchy do not want the ruled to become too insightful, too independent, too creative on their own, as the danger is that they will become insubordinate, rebellious, and unproductive in their alloted tasks…so, do you really need another pair?”….
6. He keeps telling customers they don’t need shoes to run….
7. Customers keep asking…”who’s the homeless guy with no shirt stretching out front?”…
8. He thinks everyone can wear arm warmers on their legs like he can….
9. He gives terrible training adivce to beginners…”You want to start out easy, say, 18, 19 miles on your first run….” or…”You want to alternate your training days, go long hard, then longer and harder, long and hard, harder, followed by a long run…”
10. When Hal holds a “buy-one pair get one free sale”…Anton insist on only giving away one shoe for free…
The RVR staff have to bribe Ian to complete their trail work hours..he’s the only one strong enough to lift a chain saw.
… and a hiker happens by and asks his friend, “Why are those guys wearing underwear on their arms?”
Hal refuses to wear a timing chip at States this year because Anton insists that’s what caused Hal’s plantar fasciitis.
RVR is losing money because Anton insists on including a free Dremel tool with every pair of shoes purchased that weighs over 10 oz.
I noticed your 9 Feb update from Hal. Looks like he’s practicing his (slow) walking to me. I also note the sag in the front waist ban of his shorts, kinda like it’s got something (like a belly) in the way from stretching straight across. Lesser minds wonder.
Hal should be getting some love from Vespa for showing showing off his Vespa fanny pack!
I just wish somebody would expound on who this somebody else is. I mean, to get top 3 at Western and I’ve never seen their name in any results sounds a little questionable. Hell, that seems to make we wonder about the validity of the entire poll now. I think AJW is playing some pretty serious mind games right now.
@roguevalleyrunners – Trust me, JizzleWizzle is not that sophisticated.
Mind games? me?
Actually Hal wears arm condoms not panties. Also, while you’re talking about “rouge” valley runners don’t forget Jenn Shelton who will blow your doors off with a smile (I think wearing less clothing must make you really fast!).
Just a reminder from Seattle, although not quite “gypsies”, Uli Steidl, Adam Lindt, Brian Morison, Scott Jurek, Greg Crowther.
The SRC Gang
@SRC – You do have an impressive group up there in Seattle. And didn’t the defending WS champion himself bless you with his presence for a few years? Oh, and congrats to Scott M on his USATF contributor of the year award. Much deserved.
An interesting poll would be, predict which region will have most finishers (male) in the top-20?
– Rest of the US combined
– Rest of the world combined
@Paul Charteris – I can’t bring myself to do a poll. I’ll leave that to a blogspotter.
The correct way to score that would be:
#Finishers by State in top 20/#Entrants by State in the race:
California would fair poorly in that correctly adjusted grading.
@Cougarbait – I think Oregon will take California and Washington straight up this year. # in the top 20. If we adjust as you suggest we’ll easily win – it won’t even be close.
With all due respect, if you use CB’s adjustment Idaho will win. 1 Idaho runner in race, 1 Idaho runner in top-?
Okay, score it like a XC race, Oregon will still win — and win big and Idaho will be sending an unattached runner.
‘unattached runner’? What the hell is that? Some sort of guy whose body has separated from his soul?
@AJW – I think that would be a detached runner.
All you Oregonners (especially the “men”)- I direct your attention to the 2006 WS results. The top 2 representing your state were females, and Seagull carried the torch for all you men in 54th.
When the conditions got tough- Cali represented! OR people hung out at the swinging bridge because their skin was drying up.
Craig, thanks for #6… now I know what to get for his next Christmas present. 😉
RVR owners favorite meal is “Carcinogen Chicken”