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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 ...

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