"Back in 2007, I was running a long, winding, and dusty path through the endless (and scratchy) sage scrub near my home in southern California when the echoing dawn of a coyote's howl cascaded up the valley and stopped me in my tracks. I cocked my ears and in the quiet of that moment I caught the drumming of my heart, the sweet tickling scent of a prickly pear flower in bloom, and the delight of a warm sun drawing up over the Santa Ynez Mountains. I was 50km into a 100km race and feeling like a wild animal, like I could run forever. My reverie was interrupted by the hum of an engine and OAR's "Crazy game of poker" blaring from the speakers. My support crew had finally arrived! We had a quick dance party, gorged on PB&Js and then I kept running for another 4 hours.
My support crew was one way of building community, but I wanted to find other ways of translating the magic of an ultramarathon into a community-building experience. The race would take about 9 hours so I asked friends and families to "donate" 9 hours to doing something to make the world a more beautiful place (to borrow from Miss Rumphius). Every time I wanted to stop during the race I thought of all these beautiful moments transpiring around the country - 9 hours of stacking wood for an elderly neighbor, 9 hours of making rosary beads for a retirement community, 9 hours of gardening for a school - and I felt so lifted.
My next goal is to break the world record for fastest barefoot 100km. As with my previous ultras, I want to use this to inspire others and build community. My efforts this time center around Crow's Path, an organisation I started to build a community of people forging connections to the natural world through primitive skills, play, exploration, and adventure. In 7 years we've inspired hundreds of kiddos to find what makes them happy, what connects them most deeply to self, others, and the natural world. But over the years we've also identified a number structural barriers that prevent some families from accessing our programs. This run is in some ways the first step in our organisation's commitment to finding ways to make our programs truly accessible to all families in the Burlington community."
Check out Crow's Path crowdfunding campaign page here: