The Oregon Summer – Dave Terry Would Be Proud!

AJWs TaproomFirst, Craig Thornley becomes the Western States Race Director; then, Timothy Olson wins the darn race in Course-Record Style. A few weeks after that, the legendary Hal Koerner brings home a hard-earned victory at Hardrock and then Rod Bien finishes a strong second at Vermont. To put a cherry on top, Mo Farah (adopted Oregonian) and Galen Rupp (favorite son) finish 1-2 in the Olympic 10K (with Oregon’s own Alberto Salazar smiling ear-to-ear) and Ashton Eaton taking the decathlon gold. (This is all after Oregonians Amy Sproston, Meghan Arbogast, and Pam Smith dominated the 100k World Championships and Jeff Browning took the San Diego 100 this spring.) Correct me if I am wrong, but is this not The Oregon Summer?

Sure, Oregonian’s have been running well since way back when there were still native trees in the state, but you gotta admit this has been a summer to remember. Maybe it’s because I’ve been here in this wonderful, quirky, not-so-easy-to-understand state on vacation for the past week or perhaps a bit of nostalgia is creeping in because I am married to an Oregonian, but, whatever it is, I must say I am inspired by the whole thing. And, as I pause, I can’t help but reflect back to one of my own personal, all-time favorite Oregonians:

The first time I met Dave Terry was at the Finish Line of the Western States 100 in 2001. I had just finished my first ever Western States and I was absolute toast. Dave was there hanging out cheering people on and he came up to me as I was slumped in a chair, grabbed my shoulder and said, simply, “Good run, dude. Pretty tough out there, huh?”

Then, three years later at Western States, I felt like Dave was leading the entire state of Oregon on an assault to beat me. I managed to hold him off and after he crossed the finish line he found me and said, once again, “Good run, dude. It was tough out there.”

Fast forward to 2006, the “hot year” at Western States. After all of the usual pre-race hype we finally got off the starting line and began the climb up Squaw. I found myself stride for stride with Dave and thought it was a good time for conversation. It went something like this:

“So Dave, you think the heat’s going to make this a rough day?” I said.

“Dude, this is going to be a classic! Mark my words, a classic! Epic even.”

And, of course, he was right.

Then, a few months later, I found myself stumbling out of Lamb’s Canyon at my first Wasatch. After about five minutes, Dave and his pacer, Scott McCoubrey, caught up to me and my pacer Leland Barker. Dave and Scott were bantering on about this and that while Leland was trying to help me through a particularly pukey part of my day. As we made our way onto the singletrack, Dave sidled up to me, took off his headphones and said, “Dude, it’ll get easier after this. Do this climb with me and then you can take off.” I’ll never forget it. A few hours later I finished my first Wasatch and Dave finished his ninth (with his tenth to come the following year). His words of encouragement still echo in my head from time to time.

In 2007, Dave finished his tenth Western States in perfect, laid-back style and, then, pledged to give back to the race by volunteering as a medical volunteer for the next few years. He did that, for the first time, the next June. That, too, I will never forget.

After my finish around midnight in 2009, I hung around the medical tent taking in the scene and begging Dave for an IV (He didn’t give me one, saying I wasn’t messed up enough. :-) Shortly before 1 am, Krissy Moehl finished and needed a bit of medical help. After a couple minutes of treatment, she had some sort of a spell and Dave was right there to respond. He jumped into action and cared for Krissy like she was his own sister. When the ambulance guys came to sweep Krissy away, Dave assured them she was okay in his care and that he had everything under control. Needless to say, the ambulance guys left and Krissy was better 30 minutes later.

The next morning, with problems of my own, I went over to the medical tent to talk to John Vonhof about my trashed feet. It was 11 am and it was pretty hot. I looked up and there was Dave, still working medical, still in his running stuff, still working to put runners back together a day and half after he had last slept.

In his last appearance at Western States, Dave Terry gave himself completely to the people and the sport he loved. He gave from his head and from his heart. He gave and gave and gave until nobody else needed him to give. Then, as he probably always did, he sidled off into the sunset with the Grateful Dead blaring and the memory of another great day on the trails behind him.

Dave Terry

Dave Terry in running attire.

Ultrarunning brings together extraordinary people in extraordinary ways. The people who have chosen to find a path in this sport are truly the heart and soul of every event, workout and training run. When you decide to make running 100 miles through the mountains your hobby you tend to become more than just a person, you become part of something bigger than yourself and your actions speak louder than your words. Dave Terry was a man whose actions always spoke louder than his words and I, for one, will always miss him.

Last week, a day after arriving in Oregon from the East Coast, I went on a nice 7-mile run in Forest Park in Portland. I was there to pay homage to my friend and to finally, two years after his tragic death, bid him a last farewell. When I stood by his memorial with tears in my eyes on a typical grey Oregon morning, I thought long and hard about what a legacy this great man has left. And, in this Oregon Summer, perhaps we’ve seen a bit of that legacy shine brightly through the clouds.

Dave Terry Memorial

The Dave Terry Memorial

Dave, wherever you are, I hope your trails are rocky and rutted and the hills are all steep. Just the way you like them!

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week
Cascade Lakes Cyclops IPAThis week’s Beer of the Week comes, appropriately, from Oregon. Cyclops IPA from Cascade Lakes Brewing Company in Redmond, OR is a 7% ABV brew that tastes more like a 5%. Perhaps that’s why you end up seeing out of only one eye after you’ve finished a bottle!

Call for Comments (from Bryon)

  • What are some of your best Dave Terry memories?
  • Is it too early to call this the Oregon Summer? Which Oregonians’ achievements have you most pumped?

There are 13 comments

  1. olga

    May he have an epic run, indeed. It was always a treat to see him running to work at OHSU and know I am by far not an only weird one, and we'd chat. The difference is he looked like he got off the bus:) He was good people.

  2. Aaron Sorensen

    Nice story,

    I just found out that 2 days ago my best friend Michael Popov past away while he was in Badwater.

    Michael was the race director for Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR) in the bay area for two years. We had some crazy times doing some runs and biking in such remote places that we could never get anyone willing to join us.

    Michael had the FKT on John Muir Trail Record going unsupported and still holds the FKT on the Tahoe Rim Trail (unsupported). He ran in Hardrock, Barkley, and Hurt.

    He spent some time in Badwater because he was planning on putting on a 100 mile loop that was all below sea level.

    Michael went on a run from Shorty's Grave to Badwater road and did not have a compass. He must have thought the distance was shorter and may not have run in a straight line. When we got to Badwater Road and came across two people he was already in a serious state of a Heat Stroke. A life flight came when the two people had already started CPR.

    1. Meghan Hicks


      Thank you for sharing.

      Michael Popov contributed much to our trail-running community. I especially appreciated and was inspired by the way he intertwined high adventure and trail running. To him, they were the same.

      Us at iRunFar extend our deepest condolences to Michael's family and friends. Seeing a member of our tribe go is tougher than any ultramarathon.

  3. mike

    i run forest park all the time. while i'm nowhere near being an ultrarunner i will keep an eye out for that plaque and give thanks.

  4. fredp


    "When you decide to make running 100 miles through the mountains your hobby you tend to become more than just a person, you become part of something bigger than yourself and your actions speak louder than your words."

  5. CJ

    Nice post AJW…I can especially appreciate it having grown up in Myrtle Creek, OR. It's truly been an Oregon summer, which is the best part of the year there in my opinion.

  6. Sean

    One funny memory I have of Dave is from Zane Grey in 2005. I was running along with Tim Halder around mile 25 when Dave comes running towards us (Zane Grey is a point-to-point race). Dave gave us a confused look, and we told him that he was going the wrong way. So he turned around with us and explained that he had just wiped out pretty hard, whacked his head on a rock, got up in a dazed stupor, not really knowing where he was, but knew he was supposed to be running. So he just ran until we found him. He said he still wasn't sure what was the right way, but since Tim and I were both going the same way, we were probably right.

    Indeed, Dave would be proud of Team Oregon this year!

  7. Scott McCoubrey

    I think about Dave every day. It is great to see others thinking of him as well. I grew up ski racing with Dave at Crystal Mountain, the site of the White River 50. This was the first ultra we ever ran and the sport contributed greatly to our friendship ever since. Every year it feels great to carry on the legacy of our first ultra in a place that introduced us and established Dave as my best of friends!!

    Our next race together, after WR50, was Western States 1996. We were clueless!! Hydration seemed to be the major concern. Dave had the answer. "We need to hydrate with IV fluids the night before the race", says Dr. Dave. It was my first time adminitering an IV in our hotel room that night!! I nailed it,, first try. Dave seemed more nervous than me. FYI., this is a bad idea!! My forhead looked like frankenstein, I ran 8 pounds over, sloshing around all day and had to pee 25 times in the first 18 miles. I was way behind my goal pace and never did make the time lost.

    Live and learn!! That is what friendship is all about!! I am still learning from Dave to this very day. Thanks Andy, for sharing your memories.


  8. Steve P

    Thanks for this post, AJW….In 2008 I was at Hardrock and as I left Sherman at mile 73ish, I began hiking up the switchbacks with another guy that had left the aid station the same time as I did. He pulled out his earbuds and introduced himself, it was Dave. I wondered why he was back there with we the back of the pack runners. He had taken a 6 hour nap at Grouse and was just going for the finish. I was honored to meet and hike up that trail with Dave, who I had heard a lot about, but had never met.

  9. Martha Grant

    Anyone who met Dave has a story to tell. He left an indelible mark on everyone and I personally think of him whenever a trail is especially tough because he would relish in toughness. On reading your post, two stories come to mind. I remember his description of a climb on the Wasatch course. "It's the kind of climb that makes you curl up on the side of the trail and cry for your mama". And I also remember how much food he could eat after a race!

    Thanks so much for keeping him at the forefront of our thoughts.


  10. H'ard

    I had the pleasure of running trails with Dave when we met at C4P. Such great energy and such skill on the downhill.. Whether it was speeding down the Old Boney Trail slowing down to chat or completing a full roundoff and cartwheel at the end of a 140 mile week at the C4P BBQ, Dave brought smiles to all.

    We spent lots of time together at Hardrock checking out the course, enjoying a communal atmosphere with our friends and sharing stories on the way to Grouse (where I was just as surprised as Steve to see him).

    When I heard of his passing I put together this page in his honor..

    Miss you Dave..

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