weRunFar: Andy Jones-Wilkins – Ultra Philosopher

What follows is the first in a new feature here at the iRunFar blog – weRunFar. weRunFar entries will be dedicated to collecting blog entries, blogs, photo albums, websites, and other online information by, about, or for those who run far. While this feature will primarily consist of trail running and ultrarunning content, posts may contain useful, insightful, or interesting posts on the topics of running or outdoor adventures more generally. If you come across any worthy sources, please pass them along!

[Note: The following is a post was originally drafted back in October and posted on a separate blog, youRunFar, that I’ve decided to roll into iRunFar. Andy’s made a bunch of great posts since I wrote this entry.]

I never fail to enjoy Andy Jones-Wilkins’s blog. If you don’t know Andy, all you need to do is read his initial post, which describes his long-awaited and hard won victory at the 2o07 Vermont 100, to know that he is one of the top ultrarunners in the nation. While that post lets you into the head of an elite ultrarunner, it only beings to let you know that you’ve entered the mind of an ultra philosopher. Whether speaking about friendships, turning 40, or mental toughness, he reflects deeply on both running and life. Two of AJW’s posts particularly resonate with me:

Ultras mean many things to many people, but I am certain that most ultrarunners find the bonds they have formed on the trail are some of the deepest and most important in their lives. How do I know this? Because I know it’s true for me and, more importantly, I’ve read many peoples’ descriptions of the relationships they’ve forged on the trail. Few, if any, have described those bonds as well as Andy does in these posts. Here is my favorite paragraph from Running Relationships:

“The extraordinary thing is that the friends I’ve made through this sport are not people I spend a whole lot of time with. Some of them I see once or twice a year and yet, when we are together, it is like we see each other all the time. Perhaps it is because we are united in this unusual endeavor or that we seek the same answers to life’s perplexing questions. However, whatever it is, I know that my best friends run, they run long, and they love to share the joy of running long with me. In most cases, that’s all I need in a friend. Strange, I know, but true.”

Even if Andy doesn’t post frequently, he does post regularly. (Two entries in each of the past three months.) Be sure to stop by and check out AJW’s Blog from time-to-time. It’s likely to be a worthwhile trip.