It is a reality of life that men are competitive, and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That's why they are there-to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules-but to win.
I wake up every day fully aware of how blessed and lucky I truly am. I set out many years ago with the full intent to give Southern California a name for itself in the sport of Ultra Running. I had a plan, and full intentions to get it the recognition it so deserved. To be perfectly honest in 2008 I actually wrote down on a piece of small white paper this: do everything in your power to make Southern California one of the faces for the sport. In 2006 when I first started in the sport it was almost as if So-Cal didn't exist in the arena of competitive Ultra Running. Remember these were the pre dawn days of irunfar, instagram, Facebook, twitter, and popular Ultra running blog sites. They simply didn't exist for the most part. As the tides started to turn, and the sport boomed overnight it was inevitable that little by little more and more races were popping up all over the place. I knew So-Cal was desperately in need of a stellar top notch -well organized & competitive race. The bottom line is we were missing that. I was determined to set the standard here, and raise some eyebrows. I had zero issues with ruffling feathers, and sticking my neck out at any cost. Why did all the best races have to be at Muir Beach, Oregon, or Sacramento? I simply refused to drink the kool aid, and had tunnel vision for success. When Glenda asked me to take over Leona Divide in 2009 I didn't hesitate for a minute. I knew what I wanted, how I wanted to do it, and had incredible passion to follow through with my plan. I worked tirelessly the first year I took over Leona Divide to make it the best race anyone had ever seen in the area. With that came a call in late 2010 from Montrail asking if I would like to bring Leona Divide into the 2011 Montrail Ultra Cup. Without a second of hesitation I said YES!!
In my humble opinion the Montrail Ultra Cup embodies everything our sport is about. It collectively brings some of the best athletes in the sport to one specific arena, and makes it possible for them to all compete. A day where anyone who can physically run is allowed to register, show up, and see if they have what it takes to make it to the big show (Western States 100 Mile). Not a single qualifying race must be met to enter these Montrail Ultra Cup races. All you need are your dirty trails shoes, and the ability and drive to compete with the best in the sport. What other sport can you do that? Seriously think about that. Not everyone can afford to travel around the world or get across the United States to make a name for themselves in this sport. What the cup races do is give these talented athletes an opportunity without any discrimination to compete with the best in the sport. It gives every single runner an equal opportunity to show up trained, and ready to earn a spot into our sports version of the Boston Marathon.
Ultra running is a highly competitive sport, but its full of good and genuine people. People who work full time, manage kids, training, and everything else life throws our way. They tend to be honest, down to earth, and kind. A bit different than other sports. For the most part its a very close circle of many extended family members. These cup races also give us all an opportunity to catch up, and see each other when for the most part during the year we just don't get to. Its a sport where most faces are familiar, and runners rely on these events to catch up with old friends, and enjoy the day. Where else in any other sport at any specific event would you be able to collectively have 30-40 of the sports top athletes hanging out with the average everyday athletes. Its so freaking awesome that Montrail/Mountain Hard Wear makes this happen. The top athletes flock to these events to be able to compete against runners at their level, and everyone else loves to see them do this. Its one of the best ways I have ever seen demonstrated on keeping a sport together, and why I love the MUC so much.
I am honored and privileged to have another one of my races brought into the MUC. I was over the moon excited when it was announced that Sean O'Brien 50 Mile would be part of the Montrail Ultra Cup. Why? Because this race was born to be a competitive race. The course is gnarly, and tough. It will kick the pants out of the sports top runners, and make them work for those top three spots. Its genuinely what separates the runners from the elites, and gives them a fantastic stage to do so. I have worked tirelessly to create this race from the ground up in a mountain range that is next to impossible to get permits- all in the love of keeping Southern California in its top place in the sport. I have worked very hard to get it where it deserves to be, and that is exactly where I plan for it to stay. We have incredible talent coming out of So-Cal, and have for a few years. At times we have been overlooked, but I simply refuse to let that happen.
Thank you Montrail / Mountain Hard Wear for believing in me from the very beginning. For giving this single mom from Capistrano Beach a chance. Thank you for having the faith in me to produce kick ass events that will match your incredible products and backing. You rock!!!
Now who's ready to race? BOOM! See ya in less than three weeks!