The Sadness Of Death On The Trail

AJWs TaproomI only met Todd Ragsdale a couple of times over the years but each time I did, I was struck by his infectious enthusiasm, positive attitude, and genuine joy for life. And so it was with great sadness that I learned of his death while on a run on his beloved trails above Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon.

With deep thanks to Hal Koerner and his vision over a decade ago to open a running store in the quirky, little Shakespearean town of Ashland, the little corner of Oregon that Todd called home has become somewhat of a mecca of trail running. And, in the spirit of this great community and in the Shakespearean tradition, Ashland has been, over the years, filled with its fair share of wise guys and characters. Todd Ragsdale was certainly one such guy.

I think each of our running communities needs a Todd. We need a guy who doesn’t take life too seriously, who throws caution to the wind and challenges convention. We need that guy who challenges us to be better versions of who we are and brings us together not just because of what we do but because of who we are. It is my hope that part of Todd’s legacy is the simple realization that sometimes, most times, just showing up as who we are, no holds barred, is far more than enough.

In recent days, many have paid tribute to the wonderful person that Todd was and I am sure that Hal and the great Ashland running community will continue to find appropriate ways to honor Todd’s legacy. For me, what I’d like to memorialize, is the spirit that Todd represented and the life that he lived. As in any great drama, Shakespearean or otherwise, one needs the charisma of the jester and the calmness muse, and I like to think that, in his death, Todd provides a reference for both. As we strive to become better runners, better friends, and better people, the memory of Todd’s spirit cannot be forgotten.

And so, Todd Ragsdale, may you rest in peace. I, for one, promise to keep your spirit alive in ways that I can: with a laugh, a wink, and perhaps a little tomfoolery.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

Caldera Brewing Company Hopportunity Knocks IPAThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from Caldera Brewing Company in Ashland, Oregon. Long a staple of the Ashland beer scene, Hopportunity Knocks IPA is their new IPA that features 100 IBUs in a relatively low (6.8 ABV) profile. It is floral and fruity, a rare combination for a beer so bitter, and smooth drinking in spite of it all.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Would you like to pay tribute to Todd? Please feel welcome to do so in the comments section.
  • For those of you who knew Todd, what features of his personality would you like to take forward into your own future?

There are 2 comments

  1. Joseph

    Thank you for a fitting and well written tribute. Todd was such staple in our little community, you couldn’t NOT see him at any race, event, or even just on the trails at random times. He was so infectious with his smile and attitude. His absence is felt every time I lace up my shoes.

  2. Hal

    Thanks for the post AJW. I was always amazed at the number of folks Todd introduced to trail and ultra-running. He wasn’t just a billboard either, finding the time to guide these newbies up the hills or at their first race. A hands on ambassador if there ever was one. I’ll drink a Coors Light in his memory, but wash it down with that delectable Hop Knocks( doesn’t get any better, really.)

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