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I am a 45 year old long distance runner who is on a journey to regain the joy for running and life.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ashland Trip April 2010

Hal being interviewed by Russ

The view from Hal's Deck-  Beautiful Ashland
I have never been to Ashland Oregon and I had a great reason to go. Russ McGarry is doing an audio piece on two special participants in the Western States 100 Endurance Run, which is the "super bowl" of ultra running. One of the participants he is following is Hal Koerner, the two time defending champion of the race. He lives in Ashland. So we went down there to interview him. And we got more than we expected!!

Russ McGary


Russ and Hal-  On a 5 mile run with the 2 time Western States Champion--Wow!!!
We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and called Hal to let him know we were there. We soon arrived at his home and met him and his fiance, Carly Varner. Ashland is a beautiful city and they have a beautiful home with a phenomenal view of the Siskiyou mountains. Russ interviewed Hal and Carly for a couple of hours and I got to listen. Unbelievable. I enjoyed it all, listening to the Michal Jordan of ultra running talk about his experiences, training, and the Western States race itself. When Russ was finished with the interview we all decided we would go out to dinner.

So we walked about 1/2 a mile to beautiful downtown Ashland to eat a nice little pasta restaurant. So for the next 2 hours we talked more with Hal and Carly about ultra running and life in Ashland. Boy was that exciting and fun!! Hal and Carly were so warm and welcoming to Russ and I even though they had never met us before that day. Inviting us into their home even though they had never met us before was amazing. Great people.

Ashland trails

Rogue Valley Runners-  Hal's running store
Then it gets even better. The next morning Russ and I met Hal at his running store, called Rogue Valley Runners. Hal is the owner of the store and many of his employees are great ultra runners too. Currently Jen Shelton and Erik Skaggs are two of the great runners who work there. This is a really great running store on a beautiful main street and is located about a mile from Hal's house. What a setting. If you look around at the views the mountains are spectacular. Russ did a little more interviewing for his piece and had Hal sell me a pair of shoes to get some audio of him doing his job. That was fun. And then we decided to go for a run. Just me, Russ, and Hal. Wow! Again this would be analogous to some golfers hanging out with Tiger Woods and then playing some golf with him. Incredible! So we went on an hour long run with Hal Koerner on the beautiful and hilly trails that start a few blocks from the store. Hal showed us where the Pine to Palms 100 (a race he has created and is directing and Russ and I are running in this September) will finish and pointed out some of the course high up in the mountains. We talked more about running and the upcoming season and finally ended up back at the store. We thanked him for being so gracious and said goodbye. What and experience!!

Russ and I will be going down to the Western States 100 in June to follow the race and hopefully watch Hal win his third one in a row. Can't wait!