Well, almost two years ago, I was preparing for my fourth 100 miler at Thunder Rock as part of the Forge Racing Team in 2014. That race didn't end well for me, and had me dropping at 60 miles with a really funky stomach and shaking uncontrollably because of the low temps. Good times folks, good times.
Since then I went on to complete my 4th 100 miler at Rocky Raccoon in 2015, my second sub 24 hour finish, earning my 500 mile jacket on that course (I had previously completed two 50 milers out there). My racing since Rocky 2015 has been minimal. It has been hard to find motivation, and I found myself in a "what's next" kind of place.
What's next is a change of direction for me. I will continue racing, I LOVE ultra distance trail races, that is my home. Over the years, I have been a part of many great races and some not so great ones. I have also seen a not so subtle change in trail racing. Yes, the old crusty trail runners are still out there doing their thing, and we are blessed to welcome some new yet to become crusty trail runners to the mix. It is so great to see a sport that I love and that has given me so much grow and reach more people. When people enter into the trail running world, they are exposed to a depth of character in their fellow participants that is hard to find anywhere else.
Trail running is a welcoming sport, but it is not for everyone. If you are demanding or unreasonable about your expectations of a race, you might be disappointed. If you come into the sport for the right reasons - love of nature, camaraderie with fellow athletes, setting and reaching new goals - then welcome, we are happy to have you!
I want more people to experience and embrace trail and ultra running. It is one of the most primal, basic experiences out there. There are no pro tools here, folks. It doesn't matter how much money you spent on your shoes, because if your legs haven't done the work, you will have a big plate of humility handed to you on the course.
|Shout out to Don Schoolmaster for the logo design.|
So, I have started my own trail running company, Paix Running (www.paixrunning.com). (Paix means peace in French) My first ultra distance race will be the Red Dirt Ultra on February 4 - 5, 2017, in Kisatchie National Forest. I will have distances available of 50k, 100k, and 100 miles. I have a core planning team in place and we are already meeting to be sure that every aspect of the race is covered. We plan on giving you a top notch race experience - old school. If you want your name announced through loud speakers when you cross the finish line, or blaring music and adoring crowds....
BUT - if you want a race where all of your NEEDS are met, the course is well marked, there are plenty of well stocked aid stations and plenty of experienced ultra runners along the course to encourage you and keep you moving... well this is the race for you! There will be cool race shirts, medals for the 50k & 100k'ers, buckles for the 100 milers (special buckles for the sub 24's), and an official Red Dirt beer made by Bayou Teche Brewery. Seriously excited, guys. You guys will get the kind of race experience I always enjoy and look for in races.
So, here is the beginning of my journey as a Race Director. And nothing has ever felt quite as right as this.