The Need for the Buckle

— [from when buckles meant 100 miles] —
—– [sort of: you have lots of time to get this done] —–

The only question people outside of the ultrarunning family know to ask is, “Have you done (a) Western or (b) Leadville?” Those two have been on national television. A few outsiders might know of Badwater (not the original). I was buying a pair of trail shoes and someone asked the question sequence. “Do you run ultramarathons?” “Yes.” “Have you done the Western States 100?” Hmmmm, “No.” End of conversation–probably a good thing. I love running, talking about running, or writing about running—probably boring to outsiders.

I thought on this as I pedaled home. My ego was bruised. I once won a 100 km run. The local newspaper editor killed the interview/story because he “knew” no one could run that far. I set a masters’ course record for 50 miles, but was second overall; thus was not the “winner”. I won a 34.5 mile whatsit, but the response is often, “Why the weird distance?” All my credentials, if indeed, that is what they are, were lacking. I had long ago failed the “serious runner” exam by enjoying runs–by “sacrificing the gift” and not going all out at every gathering.

At age 57 I tucked tail, ran here and there in the Willamette Valley of Oregon all through  spring and part of the summer, and then went to Leadville. I ran for a while; 27:13:41 (might, or might not, be close), got a hug from Merrilee, an old fashioned handshake from Ken, a finisher’s sweatshirt, and a buckle.

———- Run gently out there ———-