The phone rang and on the other line was John Medinger. “Hey Karl, so we’re thinking about selling the magazine and this is my first call. What do you think?” It was April 2013 and I was sitting in my office, looking forward to how I would spend the next year – not working. After 17 tumultuous but great years in the hotel business I was exiting and my last day was May 1. As a goal-setter, my only plan was to not work.
There was a pregnant pause on the phone line, and my head was saying, “No, no, no, you are taking the year off. And besides you have no experience or qualifications to publish a magazine.” What came out of my mouth was: “Wow, John, thanks for this opportunity, it seems really exciting and I’d love to do it.” I got an epic fail on that life plan, but I don’t regret it for a second.
Transitions in life are exciting and really important – but they can also be pretty vexing.
It is great to be in front of them and call your own shots. There is nothing better than mapping out a plan for where you want to be and then proactively taking the steps, making the decisions and doing the work, to get you precisely there. However, along the way it is important to be open to opportunities and exciting new paths that you had never anticipated. Any worthwhile journey has some forks in the road that lead to unexpected delights and great experiences.
Knowing when to listen to your head, and when to listen to your heart, is not something that can be taught or programmed. But doing so is the only way to live the life that is intended for you. It requires courage and faith to realize your destiny instead of settling with your fate.
It has been five great years for me editing this magazine. I have learned and grown so much and I’ve had fun along the way. I feel privileged and grateful to have had this role, hopefully helping and supporting other ultrarunners along th e way. And maybe adding to the sport’s growth while trying hard to preserve its culture.
There’s no phone ringing, but my head is telling me that new energy, ideas, expertise and passion are needed in this role. And my heart is telling me that I need new and different challenges too. Even though things are going well and I’m happy, this feels like a transition that is a no brainer and is meant to be.
I considered making a clean break and selling the magazine, but I realize that I am not ready to let go completely. Having served as the Voice of the Sport since 1981, I want to ensure that the magazine and the sport continue to be linked in a symbiotic manner well into the future. I will continue as the publisher of UltraRunning and will support the new editor and the rest of our team.
In thinking about a new editor it seemed like a seasoned and experienced media “pro,” someone who had been executive editor at other running magazines would be just the ticket. And yes, someone with experience in media is important. But I’ve realized that a higher priority for this role is someone who is a genuine ultrarunner with passion and enthusiasm for the sport and its participants. Someone who is a humble and honest problem solver who will do the right thing. And of course someone who is committed, hard-working and will always give their best. Add to this profile the basics: a good writer and editor who is also adept in the digital world and can navigate social media.
Fortunately we have this person.
Amy Clark, a mother of two from Bend, Oregon, will be the new editor of UltraRunning magazine, beginning with our next issue. Amy has been on the UR team editing and writing articles for our digital platform for several years. She has finished 10 ultras and will be running her first 100-mile race next June at the Western States 100.
Please join me in welcoming Amy as the next editor of UltraRunning magazine.