I am not a stranger to change. I’ve jumped from career to career. I’ve seen the wilds of Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wyoming with the National Park Service, discovered the big city lights of Seattle with Montrail, and ogled the natural wonders of the Colorado Plateau with a non-profit in Arizona; new skills, new people and new places. Most recently I discovered the diverse natural wonders that surround southern Oregon’s small town of Ashland, but more importantly, while there, became immersed in a network of friends, very good friends. That is why my next step is probably one of the most difficult of my life.
The small town of Ashland, Oregon.
I am taking much with me from my two and a half years at Rogue Valley Runners: the ambiguities of managing a busy retail shop and its employees, co-race directing four different, successful events, including a national championship and learning the ins and outs of the running retail world. It was impressively amazing to see the store grow both as a business and in popularity. I was continually stupefied by the prowess and energy of its employees and continual stream of notable visitors the store attracted. It served as a gathering place for the inspiring as well as the inspired. I was glad to be a part of it all.
I must now turn my attention to a man who deserves my thanks and gratitude. Mr. Hal Koerner, Rogue Valley Runners’ owner and visionary. In June 2007, after I had a rather dreadful display at Western States, I called upon my best friend Hal. I needed change and he offered me that opportunity. He trusted me enough to come to Ashland, with no prior retail experience, to help manage his store. The rest is history and, in short, Hal enabled me to rekindle my own love of running and express it in a community that welcomed it. I thank my friend for that chance.
Snow covered Mt. Humphey's looms over downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.
I am returning to Flagstaff, Arizona. I am returning to the American southwest, a place that, upon discovering it fifteen years ago, has grown to become a part of me. The vast expanses in which to get lost, the rock formations and majestic mountains that riddle the landscape, the summer monsoons and its harsh diversity that make it unique in character pull me back again. However, I return not only for this reason.
I have been offered a position I cannot refuse. Another opportunity to grow, meet new people, learn new skills, foster those I already have and experiment with the thought that I can do more, both for myself and for a sport I am truly passionate about.
My voyage will land me in Flagstaff under the tutelage of Greg McMillan. Greg is the founder and intelligence behind both McMillan Running and McMillan Elite; both of which are on the forefront of today’s modern running world. McMillan Running is one of today’s most successful on-line training programs. Originally oriented toward and successful with runners training for distances between the half-mile and the marathon, I plan to help Greg expand by adding an ultra-component to the company. This will come in various ways; coaching, race directing, presentations and writing to name a few. I will also assist with the team called McMillan Elite. McMillan Elite’s mission is to develop post-collegiate athletes capable of competing successfully at the national and international level in long distance running.
The prospects are exciting and the possibilities endless, and as with any life altering decision come that mixed bag of emotions: apprehension, exhilaration, anxiety and optimism. I’ve wrestled with them all: both the dreams and the nightmares. Then I remind myself, without any of this, it truly wouldn’t be change.