Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Running Idols

My wife bought me the Scott Jurek book "Eat & Run" for Christmas (among other books, DVDs, and running related gear--thanks wifey). Scott is a 7-time winner of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run...and he's a vegan. That's a great combination.  He's been my running idol for quite a long time. Still, idolizing someone you've never met seems a little silly. I admire and respect Scott's running achievements and commitment to the vegan lifestyle, but I'm not sure he's an idol. For me, idols are closer to home. Here are four local running idols of mine, each of which I've had the pleasure to run with on numerous occasions:

Jeff and Bruce: These local buffalo runners are the most committed I've ever met. They both have an addiction, or at least dedication, to running that is quite rare. Jeff's seems to stem from a basic love of the sport, while Bruce's commitment and drive comes from a competitive spirit. Both have struggled with serious injuries over the last few years, but they both keep plugging along. They can't be stopped by a broken leg or hobbled foot. I run with Jeff every week, Bruce I only see about twice a year...but they both inspire me to be a better runner. You'd be hard pressed to find two more determined runners. I need to borrow some of their determination to spur me on to an Umstead sub-24 hour finish.

Gregg: Another local buffalo runner that has become worthy of the "idol" moniker. Gregg isn't as competitive or driven as other runners, but that's what makes him special...he creates his own adventures and is open to new challenges. Who else would join me for the Canadian Death Race? Or choose to run across the Grand Canyon (and back)? Or up Mt Baldy? I know one day we'll be trudging through the mud and roots of the HURT 100 miler in Hawaii. Gregg's one of the best traveling companions you could ask for...practical, pragmatic, and even-keeled. I look forward to sharing more adventures, and a few brews, with Gregg in the future.

Matt: I should have known the first day I met Matt that he was different. He arrived at our regular Thursday buffalo trail run wearing cut-off shorts and no shoes. And he brought a big jug of home-brewed beer. I've never met anyone so low-key, down to earth, and humble...and also accomplished as a hiker/runner. Pacific Crest Trail from start to finish (2600 miles)...Appalachian Trail start to finish (2200 miles)...and soon the Continental Divide Trail...start to finish (3100 miles). Impressive statistics. I need to implement some of Matt's laissez-faire attitude in my daily training. Less analysis, more enjoyment. Lots of smiles.

I do idolize Scott Jurek...he's one of the best ultrarunners of all time. But I also admire a few local runners that aren't bad role models either. Thanks guys. With only 97 days left until the Umstead 100, I need as many good role models as I can find.


Kevin said...

Great post Chris, sounds like a great group of guys. Running up Mt. Baldy sounds epic, I just might have to add that to my running bucket list.

Chris said...

That should be "run" up Mt Baldy. It's not really running! At times, it was barely a walk. I'd do it again (and hope for less snow).