by Travis Macy
I’m thankful for races that have big fields, sponsor expos, online coverage, prize money, and my beloved Katy Perry (hey, even us counter-culture ultrarunners need to have at least one guilty, mainstream pleasure) blaring at the starting line and, if we’re lucky, again at aid stations.
I’m equally thankful, however, for races in our sport that are still off the grid. For races, that is, like the Peak Ultra, where the key take-away from the RD’s pre-race meeting is that the terrain you’ll be passing through is, “suuuuuper moosey.” For races where some deep mud and some steeper hills make for even slower mile splits–but no one cares because that’s the way it’s supposed to be in an ultra anyway. Where bushwhacking meets river crossing meets running down a trail/drainage that’s filled with thick, crackly leaves covering rocks/ankle-breakers. Where the best and hardest parts of the course have badass, backwoods names like Bloodroot and The Labarynth. Where, if you want to be a local, you have a wide range of vehicle choices: Subaru Outback (Democrats) or Ford F-250 (Republicans). Period. For races that take you back to nature because nature is literally all over you by the time you finish, and where you feel like a little kid exploring the outdoors in unexpected ways–because that’s what you’re doing all day long alongside like-minded people who are rooting for you while you root for them.
Before the race, Hoka One One Elite runner Larisa Dannis told me, “this race holds a special place in my heart.” Larissa has been around the block, having run 5:59:11 for 50 miles. After the race, I see what she means about this race and why she wants to come back every year.
I’m thankful I got to the do Peak Ultra 50-miler while it was off the grid; this course is an epic adventure, and it’s not going to be a secret much longer.
Hoka One One / Vitargo athlete Travis Macy is the author of The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life. He encourages you to check out the Peak Ultra (peak.com) in Vermont so you can learn just what “Super Moosey” means. And, for the record, he only listens to Katy Perry when racing.