Other than death and taxes, change is one of life’s big, dark inevitabilities. But unlike the other two, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, even though it is almost always hard at first, it’s something we are best off embracing as a positive, as a catalyst for things to improve. One of the best bumper stickers I ever saw is: “Change happens, growth is optional.” And to our little sport of ultrarunning, whether we like it or not, change it is a-coming.
It takes no more than a read of 14-year old Logan Jones-Wilkins’ (yes, AJW’s spawn) recent post at iRunFar (which is always packed with great stuff), to get a good sense for this. LJW tackles the issue head-on, and with a vengeance. It is incredibly eye-opening and thought-provoking. But I don’t know what is more noteworthy – the fact that a 14 year old could pen such a well written and insightful essay, or the very content and concepts he addresses in a mature and visionary manner. Be sure to read it and see for yourself at irunfar.com.
But the point is actually less about what he said and if he got it all 100% right. It’s really that a 14 year old who has been immersed in the sport his entire life can see and articulate that we are headed for an inexorable path of accelerating change. And how our sport handles that change will be key to its future.
From my experience, the way a person, an organization or a culture handles change makes all the difference in the world. And in ultrarunning I think we are well positioned to embrace change for the positive because of the nature of our participants and the strength of our community. Ultrarunners embrace new challenges and they have strong values (just check out Zach Adams’ article about the stereotypical ultrarunner on page 75).
As you experience the changes coming down the pike, as long as you bring a fresh and open mind and are guided by what makes the sport truly special, we will navigate the waters of change just fine, and will come out stronger on the other side. But make no mistake, each and every one of us will be affected, and will have a chance to make a difference, positive or negative. So be ready to bring your A game and stay on the high road.
Did you say change? Well, at UltraRunning magazine we have implemented many changes to deal with issues and to try to improve the publication by making it more helpful, interesting, informative and entertaining for ultrarunners. We are guided by what is best for ultrarunners and what’s good for the sport, while preserving its values.
We recently surveyed our readers and got a lot of great feedback. In the “constructive” category, many readers told us that they miss having race results for ALL North American ultras printed on our pages. Despite the fact that the magazine is the longest major running magazine by far (appropriately so) – we still can’t find room to come even close to printing all results, and that’s only getting worse as the sport grows. If we did print ‘em all, the magazine would be a phone book, and we all know how we love the printed phone books that still show up stuffing our mailboxes all too frequently.
However, we did print results for over 150 ultras in the past year (and when we print results, we print ALL finishers) – so that’s about 20% of them all. So, if you want to see your name printed in the magazine, odds are in your favor that you will do so if you run five ultras in the next year…and in the meantime results posted all over the web can be printed out.
There are other changes at your magazine. After seven great years as our art director, Jason Frazier has moved with his family to Colorado and is pursuing new opportunities. The great quality and interesting layouts of this beautiful magazine all of these years has been a result of Jason’s hard work and creative talent. You probably wouldn’t know that Jason has been one of the most reliable, positive and can-do people with whom I have ever worked, and he will be missed. If you bump into him on a mountain peak in the Rockies, make sure to say hello, and thank him too.
If all of this change is a bit much, once you dive into this issue of the magazine you will hopefully be refreshed and inspired by all of the great things we have for you.
Happy Holidays to all readers of UltraRunning, and thank you for your support.