A Dozen Years of AJW’s Taproom

Recapping another year of AJW’s Taproom.

By on October 13, 2023 | Comments

AJW's TaproomIt’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.

Andre Blumberg - Finishing the 2014 Tahoe 200 with race director Candice Burt

Race director Candice Burt greets finisher Andre Blumberg at the end of the 2014 Tahoe 200 Mile. Photo courtesy of Andre Blumberg.

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!

Bottoms up!

Gary Knipling, Anstr Davidson, and Chris Scott

From left to right are Gary Knipling, Anstr Davidson, and Chris Scott during the 1993 JFK 50 Mile. In April 2023, the community mourned the untimely loss of Chris. RIP. Photo: Virginia Happy Trails Running Club

AJW’s Beer of the Week

Coronado Brewing logoThis 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?
Jacquie Mannhard - 2023 Leadville 100 Mile women's winner

Jacquie Mannhard celebrates winning the 2023 Leadville 100 Mile. AJW wrote about attending this year’s event in AJW’s Taproom. Photo: Life Time

Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.