I ran my last ultra on a warm, spring day in Wisconsin five years ago. The course was surprisingly tough – small roller coaster hills come at you like black flies. Crossing the finish line I didn’t feel the exhilaration that I normally do after a race. I chalked it up to burnout and decided to take the rest of the year off. I didn’t run the following year either and eventually packed all my running gear in a box and put it in the garage.
[The serene one, Craig Holloway, trots the Timberline Trail toward Mount Hood, Oregon. From his 2005 field report "Lost on Adrenaline." Photo: Scott Jurek]
Two years went by and I still hadn’t laced up my running shoes. I knew it wasn’t going to happen and decided to stop running – after twenty-six years. It felt like the right thing to do. Now I crew for friends and it’s satisfying to be a part of their race day experience. But I do miss pacing and the responsibilities that come with that role. I’d like to share a few stories about the experiences I had with runners on their 100-mile journeys.