This Week… In Thanks
This week, there is no This Week in Running. We hope Tony Portera, TWIR’s author, is at home with his family rather than at work. Regardless of where he is, I would like to take this opportunity to give my personal thanks and my thanks as Runner-in-Chief of iRunFar to Tony Portera and all the others who’ve helped make iRunFar what it is over the last year. Without their contributions, encouragement, and guidance there’s little chance I would have quit my job to make iRunFar my full-time gig. Below, I give my thanks to those who deserve it. Read on, as you’ll get a little insight into iRunFar and the people behind it. After you’re done reading, feel free to give your thanks to the relevant members of the iRunFar team!
It should not surprise anyone that I will lead off by once again thanking Anthony Portera. Tony is iRunFar’s Swammi, the booming voice behind This Week in Running, iRunFar’s nearly weekly rundown on what’s happening in the world of ultrarunning. I couldn’t be happier that I asked Tony to bring TWIR from his IRunUltras.com to iRF and that he enthusiastically agreed to do so while we sat in Dunkin Donuts before we both paced at the 2008 Vermont 100. Since then, Tony’s also become a good friend. Last winter, I went and visited Tony and the result was a winter running traction device overview series. I now consider him a close enough friend that I visited him as I departed the East Coast in June.
Not long after my last Thanksgiving post, Elyse Braner from my road running club agree to be iRunFar’s first female voice with her Elyse’s Closet pieces. Since then she’s written about Lululemon’s Sergeant Jacket, The Runner’s Cookbook, hairties and headbands for runners, exercise addiction, Born to Run, her experience coaching ultrarunners as a non-ultrarunner, and the merino wool Buff. Despite her extensive writing for iRunFar over the past year, I’m even more thankful for her role in turning my life around. You see, at a running club happy hour last winter I subjected her to a lengthy, drunken ramble about how she should pursue her running passion as the basis of a career rather than settling for a high-paying consulting gig. To my delight, she chose the running route. Her courage helped me follow my own advice. Thanks for setting me free, Elyse!
Gavin “Sparky” Boyles is someone I’ve known about since I was a high school freshman running cross country in Mercer County, New Jersey. He was a speedy senior on the Princeton High team, while I brought up the rear for Hopewell Valley. Three years later, we were teammates at Haverford College. Given that Haverford’s Honor Goats (as the men’s XC and track teams are known) are so close, we continued to bump into each other from time-to-time following graduation. He went on to the Vermont Law School, while I later followed in his legal footsteps when I attended George Mason Law. This secondary connection kept us in even closer touch. Eventually, he followed me to trail ultras, which is how I found myself joining him on the starting line of the Stone Cat 50 in 2007. He didn’t finish the race, but he did start contributing to iRF with a Stone Cat race report and, later, various gear reviews, including the Inov-8 Roclite 312 GTX, the Asics Gel-Arctic WR 2, the Inov-8 Mudclaw 330, and the Nite Ize LED Sport Vest reviews. Like with Elyse, I’m more thankful for what Gavin’s done for my change in careers than for his writing. I’m so thankful to have Gavin, a fellow attorney and someone who saw my supreme under performance in college, respect my choice to follow my passion, so thanks for that, Sparky!
You haven’t seen too much writing from stud ultrarunner Kevin Sullivan here. Sure, he’s contributed the amusing pieces Why I Hate/Love Running in Winter and Will Running on the Treadmill Make You Insane?, as well as a review of Rudy Project Noyz sunglasses, but I’m most thankful for Kevin’s personal counsel. He’s another attorney, but different in that I actually met him through work. Small world, huh? I’m so thankful for Kevin’s willingness to be an iRunFar sounding board and for being another cheerleader of my career change.
Allison Pattillo, a/k/a Non-Gear Girl, is the newest addition to the iRunFar family. I’m so glad that she’s joined up with us following her time with Trail Runner Magazine. It’s great to have another regular female voice on iRunFar. I can’t thank Allison enough for her thoughtful consideration of iRunFar and how to make it work over the past 4 months. She’s been more than willing to think about what makes iRunFar tick, how it could improve, and how to make it a viable business. Thank you so much, Allison!
Remember the Western States 100 prediction contest? That was all Mitchell doing. Mitchell, thanks for bringing iRunFar the most fun it saw all year!
Normally, I put a stone wall between my relationships and iRunFar. However, it would be the biggest of oversights if I failed to thank my wonderfully supportive and ever patient girlfriend, Meghan Hicks. Thanks for putting up with me staying up until the wee hours of the morning working on iRunFar and for listening to me fret over this comment or rejoice over that email. Thank you for being a catalyst for my career change and move to Sierra foothills. Thanks for all of your feedback on everything iRunFar… and for providing iRunFar with its world headquarters. Oh, and thanks again for the patience!
I could spend the rest of the week writing my thanks to all of the friends who’ve been quick to offer their thoughts on iRunFar as well as to the friends and family who have been supportive of my move. I’ll offer up just four quick thanks.
- I’m not sure what specifically to thank two ultrarunning buddies – Sean Meissner and Andy Jones-Wilkins – for, but their enthusiastic support in general over the past year and a half have meant more than they can know.
- Then there are two voices of the sport who have gone out of their way to guide me on countless occasions.
- I was put in touch with Adam Chase by a mutual friend before I began publishing iRunFar based on the fact that he and I are both ultrarunners who ran for Haverford College. In 2006, Adam paced me at the Leadville 100 and we struck up a friendship. As I was drawn toward trail running as a career, I regularly sought out the advice of Adam, an attorney who balances his professional life with numerous trail running gigs, such as being the Trial Trail Editor at Running Times and Salomon’s Trail Running Community Manager. I still seek his advice… about pretty much everything and cannot possibly find enough ways to thank him for all he’s done for me.
- I met Garett Graubins when I responded to his request for a pacer at the 2005 Hardrock 100. While I’ve infrequently seen Garett since then, our handful of runs together over the past two years have included some of the most important conversations I’ve had during that span. With that in mind, I thank Garett for being so willing to share his candid thoughts and uncanny insight into the trail running establishment.
My final thanks go out to everyone that makes iRunFar happen on a day-to-day basis. No, I’m not talking about the other writers again. I’m talking about all of you – the iRunFar community. Without you, there’d be no reason for me to write another word about trail running. “You” includes so many people:
- my friends and family,
- folks at the trail running companies, the support of which is crucial to iRunFar, and
- all the trail runners out there that I don’t know… yet.
I sincerely thank all of you!