The Sadness Of Death On The Trail

AJW pays tribute to the life of trail runner Todd Ragsdale.

By on February 5, 2016 | Comments

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?
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.