The trail running and ultrarunning community lost a one-of-a-kind original with the passing of Chris Scott last Sunday at the age of 74. Known to many by his various self-deprecating nicknames — Doofus, Big Buffoon, Admiral DirtyShooz — Chris’s greatest gift to the community was his uncanny ability to bring the community together for running as well as a whole lot more.
As the de facto leader of the Coyote Cohorts, for several years Chris presided over two extraordinary events in southern California, Coyote Fourplay and Coyote Two Moon. Both events, spread out over several days along the southern California coast, included, along with the running, bowling tournaments (complete with custom-made bowling shirts for each participant), talent shows, trivia competitions, live music (some good, some not so good), propeller hats for the leaders, and delicious meals. All the while, Chris would oversee the shenanigans donning a seemingly endless supply of costumes and headwear with which to entertain the guests.
The aid stations at these events were also quite unique. For example, one year at Coyote Two Moon when I encountered Chris at one of the aid stations, decked out in a pink Easter Bunny onesie, he said, “A.J., A.J., before you leave, you have to try the pate, it’s incredible!” A few hours later, after finishing, Chris came up to me and looked at me quizzically, which he nearly never did, and then walked away. His longtime right-hand man Bill Kee then came up to me and whispered, “The pate is cat food. He sure got you!”
In addition to the unusual aid stations, Chris spared no expense with his swag bags at the Coyote events. Every year each racer was presented with a bag of random stuff Chris had collected over the previous year. I remember getting a bag which contained shampoo from the local Best Western hotel, a Rubik’s Cube, a “Reader’s Digest” magazine, a whistle, one flip flop, and a three-year-old expired gel. Comparing swag bags with other runners was a Coyote tradition.
Of course, in addition to having a knack for Tomfoolery, Chris was also a strong runner in his day. After growing up a swimmer, Chris discovered running. He ran his first marathon in 1978 and his first ultra at the 1979 JFK 50 Mile. His first 100 miler was at the Vermont 100 Mile in 1992, where he ran a career-best time of 19:51. He would go on to complete a handful of additional 100 milers, as well as over 100 additional ultras across the country.
As one of the founding “bored members” [sic.] of the U.S.’s largest running club, the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC), Chris was always actively giving back. He spent years as the race director of the wildly popular VHTRC club race — the Bull Run 50 Mile — as well as a regular volunteer at all the VHTRC events.
Chris, our community will sorely miss you and all that you brought to our little, wacky corner of the world. Rest in Peace, good friend — knowing that those of us still down here are trying our best to honor your weighty legacy.
Out of respect for Chris and his family there is no beer review this week.
Call for Comments
Did you ever meet Chris Scott or attend any of the events he was involved in? Please feel welcome to share your memories of him in the comments section.