Thursday, August 10, 2023


i am lucky to have two of the best gigs of the weekend. i love marking the course and i really love getting to announce in race updates and mc the finishes of waldo runners. i have these transactional relationships with folks i get to see every year for a weekend under a united goal of providing a world class experience for runners who choose to visit central oregon with a variety of goals that are relatable to me as a runner.

marking the course i got the see the results of the fire from last year and it's affect on the course. i have the perspective of how things used to look and it was sobering, but unsurprising. the irony was that marking was done with smoke from yet another wildfire in the air. the earth is hotter and drier and whether lightening or man made causes, the beautiful places we love will continue to evolve due to climate change. appreciate them while we have them. race day, the smoke cleared out and we were treated to beautiful weather for running. one of many years of waldo magic i have experienced when smoke and fire threatened to cancel the event. 

we've had two time winners of western states at waldo before. shit, we've had a 14 time winner, but seeing a 68 year old former champion rising to the challenge on two artificial knees to finish this year was incredible. jim howard is a waldo finisher. 

on my data sheet for this year we listed previous waldo finishes. the mix was lots of first time finishers with many multi time finishers. lots of 6, 7 and 8 timers getting one more. i believe this weekend provides some of our past finishers with the same sense of family that the races long time repeat volunteers and staff members feel, and that keeps them coming back for more. among the first timers, i met husbands who had run here back to crew wives who had crewed them running their first 100k. i saw new ultrarunners and names i recognized but were able to meet in person for the first time. the race winner this year was a woman who lived and worked in bend fresh out of college back in 2010 pursuing the professional road racing route. now she's thinking about western states. 

one of the most emotional and reflective finishes for me this year was jeff riley. bili ran the race 7 times early on in waldo's infancy and was a volunteer in other years. life has it's challenges and bili was not immune to them and we didn't see him for a long time. this was a guy we spent thousands of miles on the trails with training for States, doing speedwork, long runs, lot of laughter, brownies, etc. he was a brother and reconnecting with him last year at the finish was one of my highlights. he was running again, in a healthy place physically and emotionally and wanting to run waldo this year. looking across that field last saturday seeing that unmistakable running form emerging from the woods towards the finish and then looking to my left and seeing OD, LB, Dano, Q, T-Bag and lc the nostalgia, happiness and excitement absolutely dissolved any chance of me maintaining composure that was already hanging on by a thread. i realize now as i write this that if you could take a snapshot of what waldo's moments and memories like that one. everyone has a story. it's that feeling. it's that celebration, for all of us. runners, crews, volunteers, staff. it's that love that keeps everyone coming back here and new folks coming up. there is no gatekeeper. all are welcome and we look forward to having you. see you next year. 

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