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On Witnessing Greatness

This weekend I had the privilege of pacing a legend-in-the-making.

My good friend Katie did what has been done by only a few other mortals: She finished the rugged 108 mile, four loop, 32,000 feet of climb TWOT 100.

To put that in perspective, that's more climbing than any of the 100 milers that comprise the Grand Slam. Hard Rock 100 has just slightly more climbing -- 33,000 feet.

KK's Grand Slam elevation profiles
Elevation charts by Keith Knipling


Steady, strong, upbeat, relaxed, consistent, happy, focused. She was all of these. She never wavered in her resolve and she never faltered, though she did have a few choice words for Hankey Mountain as she began climbing it for the third time.

As we marched around that rocky, punishing course, I was struck anew by the beauty of this trail. The hours of blackness in the night, steady drizzle, fogged-in views, blood-drawing briars, ethereal mist, stunning fall colors against dark, rain-soaked trees ... I felt truly alive and ever-so-grateful to be out there.

And was I ever-so-grateful that I only had to complete one loop!

Katie Keier, it was an honor to share in your momentous accomplishment! I haven’t been this inspired, or felt this full of possibilities in a long time. My heart thanks you from its depths.

As for my quads, they have a few choice words for those long descents ...


  1. Man, you sure can write! :) So glad you were there for Katie. Legend-in-the-making indeed!!!

  2. Kirstin, this is a beautiful report of that magical loop with you! Thank YOU for believing in me, for encouraging me to take this on, for sharing your favorite vegetable recipes with me for hours as we climbed mountains, saw unicorns and skipped happily down rocky, wet trails and for being such an amazing friend. This. This is what I love about ultrarunning.

  3. The rout really must be tough! Truly awesome feat! And hats off to you for pacing. I don't even go to watch nearby races. I am too lazy. :P

  4. I'm a firm believer that helping someone else achieve their dream is far more exciting and inspiring than achieving one's one dream. You end up feeling motivated and inspired to seek greatness in your own life—what a gift! Thanks for sharing that experience with us.


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