"the most profound lessons about courage, strength, and character, i've learned from women."
until yesterday, the statement above was true. today i'm adding a man to the roster.
that's him over there on the ground, (temporarily) destroyed by an all-in effort resulting in an almost-finish at the 2017 barkley marathons.
it should be noted that (practically) no one finishes barkley. forty of the best runners in the world have a go at it every spring. and most years, none of them get it done.
this year, though, the goal was in gary's grasp. he was two miles, a handful of minutes...and one wrong turn in the fog away. from gary's blog:
"...the fog had once again set in. As I went over the final bump on the course I knew I would hit a trail, go left, and run down into camp with maybe five minutes to spare, but the math added up, I was going to make it...
"I bushwhacked down the mountain at breakneck speed and found myself at a large river. The river was maybe fifteen feet wide and absolutely raging from all the rain we were experiencing. I took one step off the river bank and was already chest deep. I would never have made the decision to attempt to swim such waters under anything other than a highly sleep-deprived and stressed state of mind.
"I washed out on the other side maybe thirty feet downstream. I continued bushwhacking and quickly spotted the road into camp. I had less than three minutes left till the sixty hour cutoff. I thrashed my way to the road and put my head down and gutted out the hardest three minutes of my life to collapse at the gate, over-time, and from the wrong direction. I did not finish the Barkley Marathons, and that is no one's fault but my own."
any way you parse it, this last push was a stupendous, heroic effort. under any circumstances. but especially after 60 hours, 60,000 feet of climbing, on zero sleep.
the example gary set there adds to an already-amazing legacy, while also providing a helpful reminder:
unless i'm spurting blood, i can never drop from any race, ever again.