2020 Western States Contest Winner: Jonathan Fletcher

Jonathan professes to be a slightly too heavy, slightly too flat- footed, slightly too pronating, slightly too slow runner of ultras. He came to running in his late twenties, and enjoys all distances, though his particular favorite is the 100 mile. He has run 18 marathons and at least “run in” 10 ultras.
Jonathan is married to his wife, Heather, and they have 6 children – an equally thrilling adventure.
Since ultra running is not a sustainable profession for a perennial last place runner, Jonathan maintains a day job as a Teaching Pastor in Fayetteville NC.
Jonathan’s Submission:
I debated not entering the contest. I figured, my story isn’t good enough. I am just the average dude. But, maybe, my story is every story – my story is our story. I can’t pick out a single article that is “the one”. But I do know this. I wait for ULTRARUNNING to come every month. I love the advice, I love the coverage, I love the gear, and I love to read about new races and dream about new adventures. ULTRARUNNING Magazine inspires me because it reminds me that this is MY sport. I fit here. See, it’s easy to say “I am not the ‘ideal’ body type. My feet are flat and I overpronate. I weigh too much, I am too slow. I finished last (to be clear DFL… They were taking down the finish line) in a marathon.” But every article, every coaches column reminds me that we/I can do this. I shouldn’t be an Ultra Runner, but I am. I shouldn’t have been able to finish a 100 but I have.
I can’t get enough of the never say die attitude. I love that every ultra runner (in their own way) is me. We will face trials, we may not even finish every race, but we wont quit. And, we read to hear about others just like us.
Western States is too hard for me, but I just know… If I get in, I am gonna make it. I will see the track in Auburn.


  1. Jeannine Beasley on

    He is an achiever. He never gives up and pushes through all life throws at him. So proud of this fine young man/Pasto/friend.

    • Chris Remhof on

      Congratulations Johnathan! Best of luck in your training look forward to hearing about your journey.

      • Sherita Brooks on

        I love the story of Every!!! To be a competitor in this you have an “Every” attitude and it speaks volume!!!!!

        • Louis Pitschmann on

          I’m inspired. I too am a bit overweight, have flat feet, overpronate, am slow AND old. Well “old” is a relative term I guess. I turned 67 last week. I AM gonna break 8 hours for a 50K in 2020. That’s me. Good luck Jonathan.

  2. Jonathon, I enjoyed reading your story. Thanks, dude. I’ve been an Ultrarunning subscriber since 1980 (or 1979?), but your winning submission got me excited about receiving the next issue.

  3. Michael Nicolaides on

    Love this story as it is my story too. I am just another “every” runner as well.
    I am also too slow, too fat, too this and too that. I, also, shouldn’t have been an ultramarathoner and shouldn’t have finished 100 miles and qualified for WS100, but I have… twice. … and coincidentally I am from NC as well 🙂
    Congratulations and will be cheering for you! Maybe I will meet you at Umstead.

  4. Tropical John on

    Awesome essay and congrats, Jonathan. Can’t wait to see you circling the track at Placer High!

  5. I’ll be volunteering at the finish line area at Placer High. Look forward to seeing you there!

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