In November I was contacted by Brandon Baker and asked if I would be interested in running one of the Winter Wild races that they hold. I was given the website and did a little bit of research, the race would be new to me and sounded fun so I jumped at the chance. Brandon Baker is a type 1 diabetic that has run 15 ultras everything from a 50k up to a 100k. When asked by Brandon to race I had to say yes because the biggest key to ultra running is talking to people that have run ultras. You learn from your competition and build a friendship, you don't hate them and try to beat them like a normal race. Each person in an ultra is a family member, if one person goes down or needs help you better help them.
I will be running the Winter Wild race at Okemo Mountain on February 20th and can't wait to meet the winter wild family. I also can't wait to sit down with Brandon to hear about his experiences in ultra running as a type 1 diabetic. I encourage anyone in the New England region to checkout http://www.winterwild.com/ it is a different kind of racing but one that looks to be a lot of fun. Below is some information from Brandon explaining the history of the race and what it entails.
Winter Wild is a brainchild of the late Chad Denning. Chad worked and played in Aspen, CO after college before eventually taking his recreation programs, personal adventure racing and young family to Vermont and New Hampshire in the early 2000’s. He was a fantastic, high-energy man that embodied the spirit of recreation and adventure and we miss him dearly in the greater upper valley community of New Hampshire and Vermont. I could go on talking all day about my friend, mentor and adventure buddy, but this post is about just one of the many things Chad created in pursuits of adventure and active living. Although a 2011 segment on NH Chronicle television show best sums it up, I will try my best to capture this unique event and why I have decided to carry on in Chad’s footsteps. Winter Wild is “Up-hilling… with a twist”…basically you use whatever gear and your own loco-motion to get up the mountain…and back down to the main lodge. The categories include open (running shoes, spikes, snowshoes), Track ski’s (XC), Tele Ski’s and Heavy Metal (snowboards, back country ski’s, etc.). Races have varied in length from just over a mile to a monstrous five mile route at Sunday River a few years back. Chad was very adamant that these were more “events” than “races”, with a focus on camaraderie, adventure and awesome raffle prizes. “Participation over prowess”, if you will. We have hosted races in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts and would love to expand further, should the opportunity arise. We have had Elite runners and Ski Mountaineers, top level high school athletes, weekend warriors and OCR (Obstacle course racing) athletes looking for something fun to do in the winter. Through this event and all of his other adventures Chad encouraged us to partake in, we hope to carry on his legacy. To sum it all up, last years series t-shirts featured the hashtag Explore4Chad. Just as he explores the mountains and backcountry of heaven, we intend to do the same down here.