Author John Medinger

John Medinger is the former publisher of UltraRunning magazine and continues as correspondent at large. A retired investment banker, he had previously worked as a business development manager and as a chemical engineer. He holds degrees from Oregon State University and MIT. John took up running in 1974 and ran his first ultra in 1980. He has now completed more than 130 ultras – most of them in California, but also in places as diverse as New Zealand and Scotland. Never an elite runner, he was somewhat faster than average early in his career but now finds himself materially closer to the back of the pack. He is the founder of the Quad Dipsea, and also founded and continues to direct the Lake Sonoma 50. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Western States 100 since 1992. (Photo by akabill).


With virtually all races canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we “organized” a FatAss 50K for runners to celebrate on the day that Western States would have been run. Completely tongue-in-cheek, we called it the “Not Exactly Western States FatAss 50K,” (or NEWS 50K) run entirely on the Arizona Trail just north of Flagstaff, Arizona.

MayDay! Solo 50K

With virtually all springtime races canceled due to COVID-19, my wife and I ruminated about what races would look like when the restrictions were lifted. “Hey, we could do something like that! Just make everyone run solo.” With that, we hatched the concept of the MayDay! Solo 50K, to be run Fat Ass style on May 1 in Sedona, Arizona.

What’s So Different About Western States

More than anything, what separates Western States from most other 100-milers is the pre-race buzz. Hype. There’s lots of it. The Squaw Valley village is full of runners, pacers, crew, spectators, volunteers, media, sponsors, and various other hangers on. The energy level – and entrant’s anxiety levels – increases as race week goes on. By Friday, it’s so electric you can feel it.

John Morelock: Running gently up there

John Morelock, whose writing graced the pages of UltraRunning for more than six years, died on February 5. He was diagnosed with a rare and incurable abdominal cancer in November, and succumbed three months later. He was 74.

I Love Runnin’

If you pull out the DVD from the 1986 Western States 100, there’s a shot of winner Chuck Jones descending toward the Rucky Chucky river crossing. He looks straight into the camera and says, “I love runnin’.”