It’s hard to believe that the first article in AJW’s Taproom was published 12 years ago this month. What started as Bryon Powell’s idea to have an editorialist for iRunFar has become a weekly labor of love for me, and a place where I have found my voice. The goal of AJW’s Taproom remains the same today as it was 12 years ago, to provide readers with thought-provoking topics that they can discuss and debate on a long trail run or over a couple of pints at their local brewpub.
In the year that has passed since we published my 11th anniversary article, we have published 37 articles. Some funny, some serious, and some creative — this 12th year has been a fun ride here in the taproom.
As I have for the past several years, I have written a monthly series throughout 2023. This year the series focus has been on some of the unsung heroes of our sport, our race directors. This feature story about Pennsylvania race director, Dave Walker, was particularly fun to write.
In my dozen years of writing this column, I have often written reflective pieces about my own running and my experiences in the community. Two such articles over the past year I found particularly enjoyable to write. In “The Future of Ultrarunning, “I ruminate over a series of conversations I had with long-standing community members Scott Mills, John Medinger, David Horton, Jason Green, and Candice Burt in considering the focus and direction of the sport. With respect to my own current role in the sport, I wrote a column about my experiences spectating and volunteering at ultras, most specifically at the Western States 100. “Staying Connected to the Community” is a celebration of the spirit of cooperation and voluntarism that is such an essential part of our sport.
After a busy summer of traveling to races I wrote a report on my experiences at the Western States, Hardrock, and Leadville 100 milers and, along the way, I also looked back on my own running and coming to grips with my new reality as an aging ultrarunner.
Of course, the year was not without its hardships, and the cancellation of the Vermont 100 Mile for the third time in four years was certainly one of them. I wrote about it in 2023 Vermont 100 Mile: Cancellation, and encouraged the ultrarunning community to rally behind this iconic event in 2024.
At the beginning of 2023, I wrote a piece entitled AJW’s Five 2023 Predictions for the World of Ultrarunning, and as often happens, it appears as though some of my predictions are coming true while others are falling short.
Finally, after the tragic death of longtime ultrarunner and all around great guy, Chris Scott, I wrote a tribute in his memory and shared a few stories about my experiences with Chris at his events.
Here’s to another great year in AJWs Taproom!
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Coronado Brewing Company in Coronado, California. Never Better Double IPA is a big, loud double IPA brewed with ample amounts of Vic Secret, Mosaic, and Citra hops. With an ABV of 8.1% and IBUs over 90, this beer is full on all the time.
Call for Comments
- What was your favorite taproom article of the year?
- What other topics would you like to see covered here?