The last time I ran the Wasatch Front 100 was in 1983. That year, elite ultra-runner Jared Campbell was just 4 years old. When I finished, I vowed I would never run this race again. As a demonstration of this commitment, I poured gasoline on my running shoes on the lawn of the Homestead, and asked race director John Grobben to ignite my shoes - so that I could never run again.
But things change. Twenty-six years later the shoes came out again (albeit new ones). Was it a midlife crisis? A few extra unwanted pounds? A sense of mortality? Or maybe just an inner sense that we are born to run? Regardless, I started running again and enjoyed it! I wanted to once again run the Wasatch Front 100.
Many things have changed over the last quarter century; the number of runners (who could have imagined the need for a lottery?), the times (anything sub 24 was smokin fast – under 20, no way), the technology (flat Coke with dissolved aspirin was the drink of choice), and perhaps most remarkable, the community and camaraderie among ultra-runners that exists today.
This community and camaraderie has struck me. I know of no other sport where a 48 year ‘rookie’ would be so welcomed, encouraged and embraced. Just 6 months ago I showed up at my first race knowing nobody. Today I consider many of you my best friends. A special thanks to Mandy Hosford who opened the door for me to the Salt Lake ultra community. Jared Campbell who exhibits such graciousness both on and off the course. Erik Storheim who lets me draft him in races. My running buddies Christian Johnson, Greg Norrander, Peter Lindgren and Rich McDonald. And, Ken Jensen who has freely shared his wisdom and knowledge with me (in addition to being the most amazing pacer).
I feel good about my performance this year. I bettered my time by 10 hours, and even managed to place a couple of spots higher. Not bad for an old guy. But more important than the time, and more important than the place is the joy that running brings me. Thanks to all of you who have played a part in bringing me this joy