Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This past weekend at the Superior Fall Races was one of my favorite weekends of ultrarunning I’ve ever had…and I wasn’t even running!  The Superior 50 was my introduction to trail racing back in 2008, and I have never stopped loving that trail.  Sure it’s provided many painful hours of feeling frustrated, hopeless, and helpless – but I still love it.  That’s just classic, good-old-fashioned, hard-as-hell ultrarunning.

When Kurt started talking about bringing the TC Running RV up to Oberg to man the aid station, I told him I was in for sure.  Then when John Horns decided to run his first 100 miler, I told him I was in for crewing too.  Luckily, John is incredibly fast and I got to do both!

Crewing and Pacing
John ran the course pretty much perfectly…stayed real steady and put a lot of trail behind him during the daylight.  He got pretty worried around halfway when he wasn’t holding his pace, but I think we finally convinced him that no one holds their pace steady in this race or any 100 (except for maybe Adam Schwartz-Lowe who ran an incredible second half).  He came into every aid station within 5-10 minutes of when we expected him based on the splits we had.  It’s crazy how much you can learn from crewing…I definitely learned a lot from John.
John coming into Silver Bay around mile 25.
We split up the pacing duties four ways since we had quite the crew, and I got handed the last two sections from mile 90 to the finish at 102.6.  We knew that John had a big lead at mile 62 of 1:20 or so, but also knew that Adam was gaining ground incredibly fast during the night.  It was a little weird trying to help one friend hold off another, but it’s all friendly competition and the tables could have easily been turned.  They both finished the tough last section real strong and John held on for the win by just 7 minutes in 24:13.  It’s so great to see good things happen for good people who work hard.

Volunteering at Oberg
The TCRC Oberg Crew consisted mostly of Kurt, Paul, Bateman, Dylan, and I.  We didn’t just consider ourselves volunteers – our goal was to be the Crew for every runner who came through Oberg that day and help them out however we could.  Man we were busy, with runners from all three races coming through steady all day.  Hopefully we didn’t dish out too much bad advice and mess up anyone’s last section :).

This was my first time volunteering at an aid station in a 100, and I’m convinced there is no better way to gain appreciation and understanding for this sport.  It’s so incredible seeing the whole spectrum of runners heading into their last section.  The frontrunners make it look easy, but you know they are in at least as much pain and have worked incredibly hard for a long time to get there.  The people fighting the cut-off were the most inspiring…I can’t even fathom the thought of still having so much determination and commitment after being chased by the sweeps for 95.5 miles.  I was so happy to hear later that everyone who left our aid station made it to the finish in time.
Photo from Zach Pierce who finished his 2nd Sawtooth 100 on Saturday!
This was the scene at the last aid station when he came through.
It was a very memorable weekend at an incredible race.  John Storkamp and his team poured their heart and soul into making this race great.  There were more runners than ever, the volunteers were great, the runners were inspiring, the trail is like no other…ultrarunning doesn’t get much better than that.

I told myself at last year’s race that running Sawtooth was a one-time experience for me – the course was too hard and there are too many other great adventures out there to be had.  After last weekend though, I know I’ll be back.  There might be a lot of other races out there, but this one’s just different...


  1. It is nice to sometimes be on the other side of things. It's fun to watch and help, but it always fuels my fire to be out there next time too.

    Sawtooth is a special race. . . I can't wait to give it another go.

    Is Larry not directing it anymore? I saw that the website got a facelift too.

  2. Yeah the race directing officially got handed over to John Storkamp this year...he's been sort of Larry's right hand man up there for a while. Larry is still helping a lot behind the scenes.

    It's fun to see this race get bigger...101 started the 100 mile this year.

  3. I remember you and Arley (I think) in the truck at Kramer as I was running in...but otherwise I had no idea how close I was until Oberg. That whole section I kept expecting to run around a corner and see you guys. Great job keeping John moving!

  4. I think that was at Crosby where we saw you running in...or maybe Sugarloaf. It was right before you passed Garrett from CO. Yeah I expected to see you running around a corner that whole last section too...heck of a finish. Hope you're recovering well Adam. Congrats on a great year and knocking 2:30+ off your time!

  5. Brian, a huge thanks for your work at Oberg. You helped walk me out when I was at an emotional low point. Seriously, thanks.

  6. Chad...thanks for this post and the link to your blog. It was great to read more about your race and I remember our conversation very well. I'm usually on the receiving end of someone pulling me out of those low points, so I'm glad I could pay it forward in a small way. Good work on toughing it out Chad...congrats!