UltraRunning Magazine would like to congratulate Rebecca Joyner for being selected to receive UR’s sponsored entry ticket for the 2023 Western States Endurance Run
In 2020, I got in the Vol State 500k. I worried about the dangers I could meet along the Tennessee country roads. Drunks, distracted drivers, my fear of being raped and murdered on a run, fostered by a well-meaning mother, caused me anxiety on the drive there.
I truly worried I wouldn’t come home.
After the race started, my worries waned and my mind pondered small annoyances. One being the lack of open bathrooms along the route.
150 miles into the race, when I was dirty, tired and needing a gas station bathroom; all I got was a locked door. The attendant wouldn’t hand over the key. Why? She wouldn’t say. Was there a sign on the door? No. Was I being locked out because I looked sketchy? Probably.
Life seemed very unfair, when a young man slid up to me and whispered, “There is a laundromat down the street. I’ll walk you there.” It was raining. He had an umbrella.
Based on my fears, you might think I refused him. It was clear he had a hard life and a long night ahead. Yet, he’d taken me in as kindred.
I didn’t hesitate. I was overwhelmed by gratitude and love. It was a moment of profound humanity, bonding over a basic human need.
I’ll never forget the people I met on that journey. I was changed by men stopping to check on me, families encouraging me, and the camaraderie of a young man in a gas station.
Mother of three boys, cub scout leader, full time working mom and JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) fundraiser. I started running after my last son was born (he’s 9 now) and just absolutely love the culture of ultrarunning. I am not a fast runner so the laid back, fun pace of ultras is the best. I love to pace races and friends, mostly because I just love to meet other runners and talk about running. It’s given me a richer and more fulfilling life and it’s brought so many amazing people into my orbit.
I had my first DNF at Badwater this year, which was a real bummer but it feels good to get that out of the way. I love to race the 100K and prefer fast and flat courses because that is what I can train on easily in MI. Training for the terrain at States will definitely be a challenge this spring and looking forward to being back in the sauna.