Sunday July 8th, 2018
TO: 2018 Afton Trail Run Volunteers
Another year is in the books. This one just so happened to be a significant milestone as it was the 25th running of the Afton Trail Run. That is a quarter of a century, perhaps with some luck the race will see a half century, and then who knows, maybe someday those that come after us will celebrate a centennial. Over the first 25 years of the event some things have changed, for one, there are a lot more runners, but to an overall net good – the trail running community is bigger, has more diversity and is more vibrant than ever. That said, even with an increase in numbers most things remain pretty well unchanged in that each Summer a very special community comes together around one of the biggest and best trail races in the country.
After getting up and nursing my race hangover with a cup of coffee on Sunday morning I dug into my emails and scrolled through the social media outlets to get reactions from the previous days race. I was happy to see many glowing emails, Facebook posts and images of our friends; working aid stations, enjoying each other’s company, impromptu dance-parties, hands in the air as runners crossed the finish line. I came across a comment made by a friend of a friend who ran his first ever trail race with us yesterday – his words really struck me, once again crystallizing what this is really all about and why we do it; directors, volunteers and runners alike.
“I loved every moment – even the painful ones. Distinctions dissolved between mind and body, between body and nature, and between nature and humanity. I couldn’t help but smile all day in the midst of so much fun, passion, and beauty.”
At some point, the seed was planted within this individual to train for and run a trail race – he then found our race, signed up and toed the start line. With the immense power of its history behind us, channeled through our dedicated, skilled, selfless and cohesive team we once again created the scaffolding for a transformational experience via the Afton Trail Run. As I often say, trail running is not the most important thing in the world, but these experiences undeniably create real, tangible and positive energy in people and thus, in the world. Multiply this one story by 850 finishers this year, then by 25 years (so far) and the only conclusion that I can draw is that the metamorphic experiences that the Afton Trail Run creates, ultimately have a positive impact on people and parts of life that go well beyond trail running and our event. I know this is true for me and continues to be, and I know the same is true for many of you and that is why you keep coming back regardless of which side of the aid station table you are on at any given event.
As always, we cannot thank you all enough for your friendship and for doing this with us year in and year out. Should you ever have any comments, concerns, questions, suggestions, compliments or complaints regarding the event, please let me know.
Afton Trail Run