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Transrockies Run — Getting There

10 months of planning, 5 pairs of trail shoes, 3 months of serious training, and I’m finally in Buena Vista, Colorado with my teammate Kevin Stuart for the Transrockies Run!  It is very exciting to finally be here.

I arrived in Denver in the early afternoon and met up with Kevin.  A small group of Transrockies runners gathered outside of baggage claim and waited an eternity for the shuttle service to get us on the road.  It’s a 150-mile drive from Denver airport to Buena Vista, or “BV” as the locals call it.   We had a 3-hour drive ahead of us.  As chance would have it, the very first runner I met was Yoshiko Jo from the only Japanese team, Team Kobuta, which means “little piggies.”  Don’t let the name fool you.  Fumie and Yoshiko are no slackers.  In 2003, Fumie Sata set the Asian women’s record for the 48-hour endurance run at Across The Years by running over 215 miles.  This was Fumie’s very first time in the U.S.  She seemed pleased and relieved that I could speak with her in Japanese, and I knew that meant I would be able to learn more about her (and from her) than anyone else here this week.  

With ten strangers packed into a small van, the conversation was measured but friendly.  There was no sizing each other up, grilling each other on past conquests.  There was a feeling of quiet confidence, like we all knew we had earned our spot to be here.  We discussed the gender controversy over South Africa’s Caster Semenya who just crushed the field in the 800-meter run at the World Championships this week.  We concluded he/she is actually a hermaphrodite and the testing will probably only prove he/she is more male than female.  (I was more shocked to learn that Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite, which is why she was unable to have children.)  We also marveled at the mind-boggling performance put on this week by Usain Bolt in demolishing both the 100 and 200-meter world records.  As the conversation twisted and turned like the road to BV, it became clear the Transrockies athletes are not your average runners.  They are experienced, talented beyond belief, and give the impression that racing across the Rocky Mountains is going to be piece of cake.  Kevin and I have absolutely no advantage on anyone.

There isn’t much here in BV.  It’s an old railroad town that serviced the local gold, silver and lead mining industries.  Today, it’s a hunter’s paradise, a kayaking/whitewater rafting/fly fishing destination, and this weekend, serves as the starting line for the Transrockies Run on Sunday morning.  We checked in to our sparse accomodations, went across the street to the bar & grill and gobbled down a fantastic buffalo burger.  The sign in our hotel lobby says, “Elevation 8002 ft.”  I’m really glad to have two days to acclimate before running even higher.

I have still not added up the total cost of this event.  That way my wife can’t pin a number on it and I can continue to explain how everything I had to purchase was done so at an incredible discount.  I’ll confess I under-estimated the amount of new gear I would need to buy—trekking poles, extra pair of trail shoes, sleeping pad, lightweight rain gear, digital camera—the list goes on.  My wife has been very supportive, which is probably why I have tried to meet the UPS driver at the door before he knocks  with another box of new trail gear.  Even my kids started complaining how dad had yet another UPS box sitting in his office.

I am energized by the many donations I have received for the National MS Society. I have raised nearly $6000 with a goal of $10,000.  Sounds like a big number but I know I can do it.  I started this fund-raising campaign a month ago to raise money for the National MS Society as a tribute to my youngest sister Julie Buckbee who suffers from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.  A funny thing happened. Yesterday, my story hit the home page of Cisco’s internal web site (that’s where I work).  That’s 64,000 people worldwide–twice the population of my home town–who were exposed to this fund-raising effort and became potential donors.  Donations and emails started pouring in.  I have received dozens of emails from people all over the world who have contributed.  Many of them have told me heart-wrenching stories of loved ones who suffer from MS or other serious illnesses.  One person who I met just once last summer even offered Kevin and me his wife’s superb cooking and a place to stay in Colorado!  The support and encouragement has been heart-warming.  And suddenly I find myself not just doing this in honor or my sister, but for countless others who suffer, and their families and friends who support them.  There is still time to contribute if you are so inclined by going to my Tribute page:


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  1. […] Transrockies Run — Getting There […]

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