For years now, I have told people that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up (I am 46). Over the last 6 months to a year, I have finally figured it out, and things are taking shape. On February 4th, I will host my first trail ultra as a race director, the Red Dirt Ultra in Kisatchie National Forest. I have put on various shorter races over the years for different causes, but this is my first ultra (any distance over a marathon (26.2)).
I have been asked many times over the last few weeks if I am nervous about it, and I can honestly say "no". This really does feel like the most natural progression for me. I love the sport. I love the people who choose to participate in the sport. I love being out in nature. I love my friends who are generously offering to give up their weekend to help our runners succeed.
Next Thursday, we will begin arriving at Kisatchie to mark the 31 mile course and get the aid stations set up and stocked. Runners will start pulling in Friday evening for early packet pickup and I will get to meet these amazing people and reunite with old ultra running buddies.
Saturday morning, we will be out there by 4 a.m. to set up and be ready for race day packet pickup, then we will hold a short trail briefing and they are off at 6 a.m. Over 80 runners will take off onto a dark trail to attempt to achieve something amazing, running either 31, 62, or 100 miles. Over 1/3 of the field is made up of folks attempting their distance for the very first time.
This will not be an easy race. I have run the 31 mile loop quite a few times, and it is challenging but beautiful, and incredibly peaceful. When the runners cross the finish line and I get to put their medals around their necks, or hand them their belt buckles for the 100 miler, there will be no doubt in my mind or theirs that they earned it.
The journey to this point has been filled with angels, people stepping up to help and offering services for the race that I would have never considered asking for. So many wonderful people have reached out to be a part of this race, that it is not just mine, but ours. Everyone that will be out there running and volunteering has ownership in the success of this race.
I am so ready to officially kick off this part of my journey. The starting line for the runners is the figurative starting line for this amazing chapter in my life, and I am so grateful for the people that I get to share it with.