Posted by: pointlenana | June 27, 2015

Western States Appreciation


With the race starting in about 9 hours, I’ve been thinking a lot about how many people have helped or played a role in me being able to toe the start line tomorrow.  A lot – I’m going to miss people but think of this as a representative set:

– amazingly fast people like Ellie Greenwood, Ann Trason, Adam Hewey, Justin “the wildcard” Houck, and Francois D’Haene.  They inspire me to train and run just a little harder.

– all the great not-quite-so-elite runners I’ve gotten to meet who are doing their own amazing things, like Yvonne and Vivian with their grand slam thing, Craig Hanela with his 2 day race in winter in Minnesota, and Steven Yee and those Maniacs folks.  You make it seem reasonable to do unreasonable things.

– other running friends, e.g. the 3:20 folks, who help with accountability, training advice, goodwill and good humor.  Plus they seem to like to talk about running.

– the folks at Seven Hills Running, who do so much for the trail community in Seattle.  I was standing in the store when my name was drawn in the lottery for this year’s race, and that’s probably at the bottom of the list of things I love about Phil and his team.

– coaches like Greg McMillan and Jack Daniels who put so much info out there (and it’s mostly free) on how we can improve as runners.

– race directors like James Varner, Tia Bodington, Scott Mills, and WS’s Craig Thornley, who are able to balance a million competing considerations and create these incredible events I get to be part of.

– the volunteers who really make the race possible.  There will be 1500 volunteers out there tomorrow.  1500!  For less than 400 runners.  I don’t believe it when people say that finishing a 100 mile race somehow makes you a better person, but I think that might be true for the people who volunteer at one of these races.

– all the PT, exercise, and massage folks – David, Bart, Kailey, Bruk, Nancy, Seth, Rodney, to name just a few – who have kept my body working past the point where it should break.

– Bob Hearn, who hopefully will bring some of his sub-24 magic from last year tomorrow as he travels with me through the last 40 miles of this race.

– Jeff Kercher who deserves special mention for saying “hey, you should do this White River 50 mile race with me in 6 weeks”.  My first ultra, my first trail race, and very nearly my first trail run.  Thanks for that first experience of finding out that the unreasonable is possible.

– all the people who’ve encouraged me over the past 6 months, year, 2 years.  It helps.

– my family, who has had to do its own involuntary multi-month endurance event, living through my “all race, all the time” period.  I expect they will be even more happy than I am when I cross the finish tomorrow.

– most especially Janet, in part for running many of those training miles with me but mainly for always being there in this 26+ year adventure we’ve been on.

Thank you!


  1. Classy. Nice job, Markl.

    • Thanks Paul. Sorry for the (long) delay and responding, but I think I was out running or something when you commented…

  2. Right now you are getting it done. It has been fun watching you grow as an ultra runner. Keep up the good work. Isn’t Dr. Janet the one who helps fallen rock stars? You guys make the ultra community that much better.

    • Thanks Adam! Yes, indeed Janet tends to fallen stars, or at least does an excellent job of referring them to the dishwasher or pizza guy with the specialized skills. I want to talk to you about CCC sometime. The WSER organization/volunteers are incredible and I want to help there sometime. But there’s this amazing race nearby…

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