Belgium, Gibraltar, and destinations in between

July 28, 2009

In descending from Ranger Creek to Buck Creek during the White River 50, I found myself just ahead of a nice young man named Andy Henshaw. After a bit of preliminary chatting, he asked, “So how was Belgium?”

My response came out something like: “I DID NOT GO TO BELGIUM!!!”

Sorry, Andy — I didn’t mean to bite your head off. It’s just that I’ve been explaining this to people for the past three months. Yes, I was named to this year’s US World Cup 100K team; no, I did not accept my spot on the team.

USATF surely had good intentions in listing me as a team member in its initial press release, but propagation of that information across the web led to widespread confusion. Even my primary sponsor, the Seattle Running Company, issued a “tweet” three days before the race, wishing me good luck.

Ultimately, my nonparticipation was not the biggest news to come out of the Belgium trip. Kami Semick won the women’s race in 7:37 and also led her fellow Americans (Devon Crosby-Helms, 4th, 7:59; Meghan Arbogast, 5th, 8:04; Carolyn Smith, 7th, 8:07; and Connie Gardner, 19th, 8:42) to the top of the team standings! On the men’s side, Mike Wardian placed 6th in 6:53, and Todd Braje ran a very respectable 7:15 in his road 100K debut.

Anyway, it wasn’t just Andy’s innocent question that has prompted me to be thinking about the World Cup 100K. It’s also my sense that, while this trail running stuff has been a fun diversion, it may be time for me to go back to what I do best, i.e., hammering away on the roads. Now that I’ve regained some consistency (as indicated by three kind-of-successful ultras in a row: Chuckanut, North Face, and White River), I’m ready to resume pounding the pavement.

The next World Cup 100K will take place in Gibraltar on November 6th, 2010. I think I will try to qualify for the U.S. team again, perhaps at the JFK 50 and/or the Mad City 100K. I’ve already asked the JFK race director to save me a spot; now I need to figure out whether I can attend that race while in the area for the annual meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

I hope to be there . . . but let’s not issue any press releases just yet, OK?


  1. GREAT!!! I think your recovery is complete. Now just regain that little bit of edge you need to be at the top again!!!

  2. Hooray! I've been wondering what the course will be like on Gibraltar. I'm guessing it will be something like laps of the airport. Just wondering – Do other nations have as many academics on their teams as the USA?

  3. Hi Greg, nice job lowering your time at White River. Good luck at JFK if you go.- pauld

  4. Jay: I have no idea. Back in 2005, I remember thinking that our men's team — with three PhD's and an ABD (all but dissertation) amongst five members — would not get outsmarted on the race course, but that was an extra-geeky squad even for us.

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