This previous weekend I had the chance to volunteer on the Black Canyon 100k, one of many marquee occasions on the Arizona ultrarunning calendar. The pleasant February climate within the Sonoran Desert, impeccable group by Aravaipa Operating, and the lure of a Western States 100 qualifying commonplace make Black Canyon one of the crucial well-liked ultramarathons in the USA. This yr’s occasion, as well as, was a Western States 100 Golden Ticket race, which means that it attracted a proficient worldwide subject of ultra-luminaries. Briefly, it was an electrifying weekend stuffed with incredible performances and nice individuals.
On Saturday afternoon, as I used to be milling across the end line after the majority of my volunteer task was full, I discovered myself re-engaging with a number of Arizona pals who I had first gotten to know over 20 years in the past once I first known as the Valley of the Solar residence. We caught up on life, family and friends, and the altering instances. Then, earlier than our group parted methods, one of many group mentioned, “AJW, it’s actually nice you continue to come to those issues although you possibly can’t win them anymore. I want extra individuals did that.”
The remark made me pause and replicate. Certainly, when their aggressive days are over, many runners drift off into the sundown and don’t cling across the extremely scene as soon as their time has handed. I’ve by no means been a kind of guys, and the reason being easy. My love for the individuals and the group in and round ultrarunning is a big a part of who I’m. It’s not an understatement to say that my finest pals on this planet are people who I’ve met by this sport. Put merely — I’ve a visceral should be concerned, nevertheless peripherally, on this group that made me who I’m. For it’s by being actively engaged that I achieve power and, in flip, develop into a greater model of myself.
As luck would have it, I additionally had the chance over these previous few days to have a wide-ranging dialog with one other long-time member of the game, Ellie Greenwood. The “UltraRunning Journal” (North American) Ultrarunner of the Yr in 2011, 2012, and 2014, Comrades Marathon winner in 2014, and Western States 100 course report holder from 2012 — Ellie was, in her prime, one of the crucial dominant runners our sport has ever seen. Accidents and life have slowed her down lately, however Ellie is as concerned within the sport as ever as a coach, author, and frequent member of the iRunFar race protection staff. Like me, Ellie nonetheless will get loads of power from her connection to the group.
I’ve typically questioned why extra individuals don’t keep engaged within the sport after their racing days are performed. I’m positive of us have their causes and possibly would favor to not speak about it. What I do know, nevertheless, is that for these of us who do want to stay linked and engaged — like Ellie and me — there are ample alternatives to take action. And as I realized this previous weekend, it’s fairly doubtless that the group will be glad about our involvement and completely satisfied to have us round. To me, that’s the mark of a powerful group and one which I plan to be a part of perpetually.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s beer of the week comes from North Mountain Brewing Firm in Phoenix, Arizona.
Grooving With a Pict is a sultry Scottish ale that’s smoky and easy. That is the proper winter beer paired with barbecue or a late autumn sipper after a long term.
Name for Feedback
- How do you keep linked with the ultrarunning group in case your racing days are behind you or in case you are out for a time with an damage?
- Do you discover it rewarding to be nonetheless concerned not directly?