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Hey, remember me?? FANS 24 looms June 1, 2012

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule.
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I won’t even apologize – it has been too long since I last blogged. Mea culpe. There will be some changes coming to the Where’s Chris Scotch campaign, so look for those in the near future. Along with some updates of some great races and awesome places I have been lucky enough to run. Also, for the foreseeable future, most of my time will be spent in California. Helen and I move into our rental house on Monday in Los Gatos. Lots of change going on with me recently. Change is good. Looking forward to what life has in store for us!

I am going to take a crack at something new tomorrow at FANS 24. It may turn out to be one helluva way to gain insight into the mind of a hamster while on his wheel. FANS is a 24 hour race on a 2.4 mile path around Lake Nokomis. Run as many laps as you can in 24 hours. Pretty simple. No forks in the trail, no markers to follow, no packs to carry. Just run, run, run for 24 hours. And it is for a good cause, which is always nice.

FANS 24 has been on my radar since last year, when Helen and I volunteered and watched part of the race. The loop is a 2.4 mile paved path. I don’t particularly like running in circles, and despise running on pavement, but I convinced myself that two wrongs might make a right this time. (and I can run in the grass next to the path for a majority of the loop).

If you are local, come out and watch the race. Bring your run shoes and do a lap or few with me. Or look for the Fitsok http://www.fitsok.com/ tent and stop by to chat with Helen. There will be some great racing going on, as this is the last race for people to qualify for the US National 24 hour team. And sometime random people show up to watch – Scott Jurek made an appearance last year.

I also have a bit of inspiration propelling me to do FANS. Michael Henze http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ . You might say I have a man-crush of sorts. Or perhaps more accurate, a Clydesdale crush. Yes Clydesdale – You know, the 200+ pound division some races offer so the fat kids can say they placed in the top ten in their class (if there are even ten entrants  – it seems  running and cycling competitors are a bit heavy on the skinny side).  I am bigger than your average bear, weighing somewhere around 220 pounds. I have joked for years (starting back when I mountain biked) that I am going to have a race shirt made that says “Skinny People Suck.” It just gets frustrating sometimes seeing tiny little bird legs flying by me on the trail. I wonder how fast they would be if they had to carry my weight around?? A totally rhetorical question, as I know all I have to do it train more and eat less, but logic gets lost sometimes. That all being said, Michael will run FANS 24 this weekend tipping the scales north of 200 pounds. But don’t think he is soft. He puts in more training miles than anyone I know. And he is fully capable of running more than 142 miles, which will put him on the US National 24 Hour team for a second time. Yup – as a Clydesdale, Michael is one of the premier 24 hour racers in the country. So it gives me hope, that with enough dedication, hard work and training, that I might someday be able to run fast. Or far. Or maybe even both.


FANS (http://www.fans24hour.org/)
The FANS 12 & 24 Hour Run supports the FANS Scholarship Fund. FANS, which stands for Furthering Achievement through a Network of Support, is a program of Pillsbury United Communities (PUC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. PUC initiated the FANS project in 1989 with a group of sixth-grade students from North and South Minneapolis. The Project has a vision of sending inner-city kids to college or to another post-secondary institution. FANS works with the youth and their families in a wide variety of activities geared to providing support for the vision.

Tuscobia Winter Ultra November 28, 2011

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Again, I am behind on my race recaps and running adventures. Seems I am too busy out doing to sit down and write about – and that is always a good thing!

Part of what has been keeping me (and Helen) very busy the past week or so, is resurrecting the famed Tuscobia 150/75/50k.

Tim Roe created this event and grew it over the two years he directed. He is on to a good thing, but sadly he decided to pull the plug about a month before the event. Helen and I have decided to pick it up and see if we can make Tim proud. I will be running the 150 and Helen will be making sure everyone is having a good time. Check out the website, sign up, volunteer or just come watch!

The Grand Finale for Where’s Chris Scotch in 2010 – Arrowhead 270 January 12, 2011

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule, Uncategorized.

Arrowhead Ultra 135


Okay, I admit, the title of this post poses a few questions.

First of all, it is 2011, but like the 2010 NFL season, my campaign has spilled over into February.

Secondly, the event name,  “Arrowhead 270” doesn’t officially exist.   However, the Arrowhead 135 does, and since I am going to do it twice, it will be a total of 270 miles.

I will be competing in one of the most extreme ultra races in the world, hosted right here in our backyard , International Falls.  The Arrowhead Ultra  is 135 miles, starting January 31 and lasts for up to 60 hours.  I not only plan to finish the race on foot, but turn around and skijour (with Cooper) the entire length of the course back to the start in International Falls.  Runners have less than a 30% completion rate for this race, so the odds are stacked against me to even complete the first half of this event.

The Official Event:  Arrowhead 135 – Listed by National Geographic as one of “America’s Best Adventures” with this description: “The Arrowhead 135 race is long, difficult, and bitterly cold. . .  this 135-mile (217-kilometer) ultramarathon in International Falls, Minnesota, a town that routinely registers the coldest temperatures in the Lower 48 and is more commonly known as Frostbite Falls”

The Arrowhead 135 official website has this to say: “The Race: 135 Miles in deep winter across northern Minnesota, virtually all scenic, rugged Arrowhead State Snowmobile Trail from AMERICA’S ICEBOX: I-Falls to Fortune Bay Casino near Tower, MN.  Pick mode of transport at the start: foot, ski, or bicycle. . . . our 7th year promises great things with arguably some of the world’s best winter ultra-athletes . . . .  you may see moose or wolf tracks on the trail…..The typical winter weather in this part of Minnesota is frigid with subzero temperatures, even dipping to (minus) -60 degrees Fahrenheit in Tower . . .WAY COLDER HISTORICALLY THAN ANY OTHER RACE – WE HAVE THE FROSTBITE TO PROVE IT. . . .Do not expect to get rescued, except by yourself or maybe Your Mommy”

So I am sure you are getting the gist of this race – wicked cold and long, but at least you won’t be alone because there are wolves on the trail.  I will be moving on foot, rather than by bike or skis.  There is a mandatory gear list that all racers must carry, including a sleeping bag rated to -20, a stove, fuel  and pot to melt water, a bivy sack and sleeping pad, headlight,  and so on.  Anything a person will need when spending a night, or more likely two, outside in temps well be low 0 degrees.

I will be pulling a sled – the same one I used at the Tuscobia 150 race a few weeks ago, with some slight modifications.  The overall cutoff time is 60 hours, with cut-times also at the 3 checkpoints on the course.  The checkpoints are at miles 35, 70 and 110.   I was unable to find any official stats, but the drop-out race  for runners is north of 70%.  That means only 3 of 10 runners actually finish.

So I have described the first 135 miles of my Arrowhead 270.  What about the other 135 miles?    I plan to finish Arrowhead on Wednesday sometime around noon, approximately 53 hours after I start.  I will sleep that night at the finish line in Tower and then get up Thursday morning and skijour the 135 mile trail back to International Falls with my little rescue mutt, Cooper.  He is about 18 months old right now and might love winter more than me. He is part Husky and part something tall and lean. He loves running, especially in the snow and is one tough little guy, as demonstrated by his near immediate return to joviality after he fell through the ice in the boundary waters this past New Years.

I am ecstatic about the chance to include Cooper in my final event for St. Jude, after all, he has done most of my training with me over the past 6 months.

Over the past 6 months I challenged myself to the max,  having  run 9 Ultras, starting with a 50k at Afton and working my way up to 150 miles with the last event at Tuscobia 150Quite a lot of running for me, considering I had never run an ultra, or even on trails, before the race at Afton this July. The question that’s get asked more than any other is “WHY?”  My answer is always the same – To raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

If you are reading this, then I have been able to reach you.  Regardless of whether or not you think what I am doing is a worthy of a donation to St. Jude does not matter to me.

What matters to me is that you consider making a donation because helping to save the lives of children with catastrophic illness is a cause that all of us should find worthy. No patient, regardless of how sick they are, ever has to pay for treatment after their insurance coverage expires.  And it usually does.

Every type and size of donation helps make a direct positive impact on the future of these children.  You can make a donation at http://www.mystjudeheroes.org/cjscotch

Thanks and see you in February!


To Learn More about St. Jude and their mission, click here – http://www.stjude.org/mission

Up next, Memphis Marathon December 15, 2010

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized.
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Memphis Recap

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The Memphis Marathon was originally the end-cap of  the Where’s Chris Scotch Campaign for Katelyn and St. Jude, but I can do more.  I want to do more.  Stay tuned…

Friday, December 3, I boarded a plane and headed for Memphis.  Helen flew with me and my parents were in route by way of Jeep.  My brother Nick was driving over from Alabama (spending time there for work).  Mari and Jodi were already on Beale dodging the store salesmen.  St. Jude’s hospital campus is in Memphis, and St. Jude sponsors the Memphis marathon.  This past Easter, over a family gathering with my parents, Grandma S., Aunt Mari and Jodi, we started talking about the St. Jude Heroes program.  Aunt Mari and Jodi suggested that I add the Memphis Marathon to the the two I was going to run this year (Grandma’s and TCM).  I was hesitant.  I didn’t think I would be recovered from Twin Cities in October to be able to run Memphis in December.  My how things have changed!!  This marathon will my 15th event in the Where’s Chris Scotch campaign for St. Jude this year.
Perspective is one of those little things in life that can make a big difference, in most any aspect of your life. We can’t control some of things that happen in our lives, but we always have the ability to control our perspective. When I heard Katelyn speak at the Valentine’s Day fundraiser in 2009 I had a sudden and stark realization that the things that were keeping me down at the time really weren’t worth all the angst.  In reality,  I had things pretty damn good.  Perspective.

Fast forward a year later, to this past April. My perspective on running was that I didn’t know if I really liked it all that much and I didn’t think it was possible for me to run 3 marathons between June and December. I felt like I was undertaking a huge task by committing to 3 marathons for the Heroes campaign. Now fast forward to today and I realize again how my perspective has changed. Not only are three marathons possible in 5 months, but 7 ultra marathons can be squeezed in as well. The first time I stepped on the trail, at the Afton 50km race,  I somehow thought that maybe I would spontaneously combust the moment I ran further than 26.2 miles. Turns out a person can run much further than they think. Perspective.

The trip to Memphis was 2 and a half days, and the proximity of the St. Jude Campus, downtown and marathon made for a pleasant logistic experience.  We toured St. Jude on Friday afternoon.  I  was looking forward to  visiting the hospital, albeit with a slight trepidation.  I was eager to see where all the magic happens, where children’s  lives are saved and research is done to save many more.   The hard part is knowing the children go through so much pain.  The hospital campus is big, modern and bright.  The capabilities of the hospital are impressive and there is generally a very happy energy about the areas we saw.

Saturday was the highlight of the trip.  I got a chance to talk with Katelyn for about 40 minutes.  She had done the 5k with her dad and were waiting for me when they finished.  I had been looking forward to the meeting for months.  We talked about life, running and St. Jude.  We laughed a lot and had such a great time.   Not that I needed a renewal of inspiration, but to spend time with Katelyn and let her infectious happiness fill the air was so refreshing.  She is an amazing person and I think about how much my life has changed for the better since I first heard her speak.  I look forward to working with her in the future as she continues to raise funds for St. Jude.

Oh, and it turns out the marathon is sort of a nice little course.  I enjoyed my  run as I toured downtown Memphis, Beale Street, and the St. Jude Campus (at mile 5, but with the arch, the band and the energy it felt like the finish line) on my way into the finish, which is in the stadium of local minor league baseball team.  The stadium finish is really cool (the Boulder Boulder is also a stadium finish) and allows friends and family to spectate the finish with ease.   The trip to Memphis “put a face to the name” regarding St. Jude and the hospital.  It was wonderful to see  the patients  and the place where the dollars we are raising go.  I loved getting a chance to talk with Katelyn and introduce her to my family.  Thanks to Mom and Dad, who drove from Wisconsin to make sure they keep the streak alive (they have been at every marathon I have run).  Thanks to brother Nick, who drove over from Alabama.  Thanks to Mari and Jodi for their continued support with my fund-raising and also getting me to Memphis.  And thanks to Helen for making sure I don’t forget my shoes, for crewing, for pacing and for understanding and supporting  my campaign.  It was really a special weekend.



Surf the Murph 50 Mile – Next up for Where’s Chris Scotch October 29, 2010

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As with all the events I have participated in this year, I am running with intention and for a cause I strongly believe in – St. Jude Children’s Hospital. This will be my 15thth event in 2010 and 7th Ultra Marathon since July 3.

Please consider making a donation at:                http://www.mystjudeheroes.org/cjscotch

Surf the Murph! 2010

Halloween weekend and a race close to home, Surf the Murph will give me a chance to race 50 miles,  in a costume, AND  still be home for dinner the same day!

Having put in a long run last weekend on the Wild Duluth course (had to see what the rest of that course looked liked!) with Helen, Andy, Kim and the pups (Rudy and Cooper) as well as a few shorter runs since the Wild Duluth race,  I am feeling ready for another race.

The weather has been windy and chilly this week (Cooper’s water dish had a layer of ice on it this morning) but the forecast for tomorrow is looking warmer – 50 degrees and sunny.  Assuming I get through the 6am start without freezing to death (my costume is….minimal.   Like shorts in the 1970’s minimal!) it should be a great day.  Pictures of those awful shorts will be coming in the recap – stay tuned!!


Up Next for Where’s Chris Scotch – Wild Duluth 100k October 14, 2010

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule.

It has been 9 days since Twin Cities Marathon and I have run once, exactly the same number of times I have been to Dairy Queen.  So I feel well enough rested to get back out there and run!  100km.  62 miles.

As will all the events I have participated in this year, I am running with intention and for a cause I strongly believe in – St. Jude Children’s Hospital. This will be my 13th event in 2010 and 6th Ultra Marathon since July 3.

Please consider making a donation at:                http://www.mystjudeheroes.org/cjscotch

Wild Duluth Course description by Andy Holak, Race Director:

“The Wild Duluth course follows the high points and ridges above the northern Minnesota city of Duluth. Along the course you will find amazing views over the St. Louis River, harbor and city below, rocky outcroppings, numerous streams, huge White Pines and hidden places you never thought you’d find in a city of over 80,000 people.  The trail will be rugged, hilly and laced with rocks and roots throughout. This course will surely challenge the veteran trail and ultrarunner and will provide inspiration to those new to the sport. Come see it for yourself!”

Next up for “Where’s Chris Scotch” – Twin Cities Marathon September 30, 2010

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule, Uncategorized.

I am quite excitedly looking forward to TCM this weekend.  Back in April this was one of the two marathon’s (Grandma’s Marathon was the other)  I planned to run in 2010.  Then I decided to run for a purpose, as a St. Jude Hero.  I am running TCM  (as all the events I am doing in 2010) in an effort to raise awareness and money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital on behalf of Katelyn Atwell.

Please consider making a donation at:                http://www.mystjudeheroes.org/cjscotch

While the distance is less,  my anticipation for the weekend and the marathon are as high as the ultra’s I have done this summer.

In 2009 I ran TCM, my very first marathon, and had a great experience.  My parents came to support and crew.  My dad was actually able to ride his bike for most of the course, taking pictures and offering encouragement along the way.  The energy of this race is unbelievable.  An estimated 350,000 spectators lined the course last year – there wasn’t a stretch of any considerable distance where there wasn’t music playing,  someone ringing a cowbell, cheering loudly or trying to hand out various items that may or may not be beneficial.  The Bailey’s stop at mile 3, while tempting, might not be the best idea when running a marathon.  But obviously I haven’t let the idea slip from my mind over the last year!

I went into the 2009 marathon will a goal of finishing in 4 hours or less.  I was excited for the race, and that was amped by the energy of the spectators, the costume characters along the way (high-fiving or hugging everyone I saw),  the loads of friends I saw along the course and my parents.  I ran with no watch, no real plan other than to soak up the experience as much as I possibly could.  I thought I had trained hard for 2 months to get ready and finishing the marathon was going to be a great payoff.

About mile 18 or 19, amidst all the fun I was having,  I asked my dad what my time was and asked him to do some quick math.  He looked at me sort of strangely, wondering why I needed to know what pace I would have to run to finish in 3:10.  I explained, that inexplicably and unexpectedly, I was flirting with qualifying for the Boston Marathon and would need to finish in 3:10 or better.  He did the math for me and I realized I was not going to run the final 7 miles in under a 6 minute pace, but I decided I would go as hard as I could and get as close as I could.  At mile 20 I made up my mind that I would run the Sacramento marathon in December with the goal of qualifying (which I did not, another story for another day).  I finished TCM strong and completely satisfied.  I had set out with a goal enjoying the run as much as I could and finishing in under 4 hours.  Check and check!  My parents being there to support me as I finished my first marathon topped off the day perfectly.

Pics courtesy of Dark from his blog.

This year is a bit different, but not entirely.   My primary and only goal this year is to have fun while raising awareness about Katelyn and St. Jude.   I have no intention of trying to qualify for Boston.  The past 3 months have been been a wild ride.  My campaign for St. Jude brought me into ultra marathons and through those events I have been able to spread Katelyn’s story and have met so many wonderful people.  The only downside, if you can call it that, is that I have not been “training” for running a fast marathon.  But that is not the purpose of running TCM, or any of the other races this year.  TCM will be another chance to spread Katelyn’s story while enjoying the experience with family and friends. Good Luck to all my friends who are also running TCM and let’s make it one to remember!   I am so stoked for the weekend!!


Bib# 767

Should finish somewhere around 3:45, depending on how many stops I make for bacon, bailey’s and the bathroom.  I will be wearing my St. Jude Children’s Hospital singlet.  I will post my chip number when I know it.

Sawtooth 100 Added to the “Where’s Chris Scotch” campaign for St. Jude Children’s Hospital September 8, 2010

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule.

I suppose after running  a 50km, a 50 mile, a 100km and a 100 mile stage race (over four days) the next logical step is to do a 100 mile race.  If there is anything logical about any of these races to begin with.  But let’s chuck logic out the window and remember how this all started – as a way to generate interest, awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital on behalf of Katelyn Atwell.

In that vein, I am excitedly and nervously announcing the next event for Where’s Chris Scotch:

Sawtooth 100

Sawtooth 100 Mile Trail Ultra

100 mile footrace on the Superior Hiking Trail.  The race starts at Gooseberry Falls and ends at Lutsen Ski Resort.  The Superior Hiking Trail is a wonderful and beautiful trail.  One of the best hiking trail systems in the country.  I also happen to agree completely with the one descriptor I hear most often about the Superior Hiking Trail when it comes to running it – RELENTLESS.   The Superior Sawtoth 100 is regarded as one of the more difficult 100 mile races in the country.  The Superior Sawtooth 100-Mile Trail Race has 20,000 feet of elevation gain and 21,000 feet of descent and is actually 102.6 miles.

I have a strange feeling about this event – it is something different than what I have experienced in the other 4 ultras I have completed over the past 2 months.  I can’t quite put my finger on what is different, but while I am feeling nervous about the distance, and the brutality of the course, I also have a christmas morning type of enthusiasm for this race.  The cutoff time is 38 hours.  Yes, people run for 38 hours straight.  The winner will only run about 22 hours though.  I hope to be somewhere in the middle of that range.  I have joked with people that I believe I will spontaneously combust at some predetermined mileage that fate has set for me.  After finishing Where’s Waldo I know that hellish  number is at least 63 miles – here’s hoping that it is also somewhere north of 102.5 miles.

Why run 100 miles?  On Trails? All at once? Simple.  I am raising funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

What’s the big deal – a lot of people run? While I am starting to get arguments from people on this, I am not a runner.   My first marathon was less than a year ago.  In fact, running was something that for most of my life I have despised and found painful.  I upped the ante July 5th when I completed my first “Ultra” marathon – the Afton 50k.  The past two months have been a quest to continue to push the envelope in the hopes of continuing to spread the word about my campaign for St. Jude.

Please consider making a donation at:                http://www.mystjudeheroes.org/cjscotch

Voyageur Quest Stage Race Added! August 26, 2010

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The first annual Voyageur Quest Stage Race has been added to the Where’s Chris Scotch campaign for Katelyn Atwell and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  Admittedly, I am probably not recovered from last weekend’s events, but we didn’t hit our goal of 100 donations so I am back to the trails!

The description from the Race Director seems quite apropos in summing up why I chose this race:



Bear Lake, Superior Trail
“Races in the Quest Stage Race Series exemplify the personal quest each of us takes to achieve our goals.  Quest stage races are designed to challenge you – to define the meaning of quest.

A quest is defined as the act of seeking something great, an expedition or a search for something rare.  During a Quest stage race you’ll be seeking and finding rare insights into who you are and the beauty of the natural world around you.  You’ll find what it takes to dig down deep for those hidden reserves of strength, the beauty and grace of those runners with which you share the path, and the determination to continue on your own quest.  You’ll find the majesty of a blue lake so grand that you can’t see to the other side and the visions of a people who found the land you stride on sacred.

In a Quest stage race it will be up to you to find your way.  You will need to determine how much food to carry, what to eat and when.  You’ll follow an established path, but it will be up to you not to stray.  In a Quest Series stage race you’ll be challenged and you’ll need to use your wits and your experience to find what you’re seeking.  A Quest Series stage race will offer more in the form of challenge and reward than you may be accustomed to.

Join us on a Quest stage-race and find yourself.

“More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity”  -Francois Gautier

The August 25-29, 2010.  4 day trail stage race (plus prologue) on the rugged Superior Hiking Trail in Northeastern Minnesota covering 105 miles.  The 2010 race will cover some of the most remote and rugged trail at the Northern end of the Superior Trail where you’re more likely to encounter a moose or a wolf than another human being.


Cooper will be running the first two legs with me, on Thursday and Friday.  I relish the chance to run with my li’l nugget and am happy he will get out of the house for some exercise.

Cooper a couple weeks ago in the Baptism River.   Taking a break on his 18 mile training run.

Thank you to everyone that has donated.  Your contributions are appreciated very much and every little bit helps.  I am asking for another contribution – find at least one person in your life that might find it worthwhile to donate to St. Jude. I invite you to share my blog with them so they can get a sense of the Where’s Chris Scotch campaign and see if anything resonates with them.  The donation link directly to St. Jude is:


Where’s Chris Scotch wonders, Where’s Waldo? Perhaps in Oregon? August 5, 2010

Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events Schedule.
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It was one month ago today that I entered my first trail run (Afton Trail Run 50k) and it has been less than two weeks since I ran my first 50 mile (Voyageur Trail 50).   Neither of these races were even a fleeting thought in my head when I embarked on my campaign for Katelyn and St. Jude this spring.  However, with the support of those following Where’s Chris Scotch, my family and friends and the new friends I have met along the route, I have been able to experience things I couldn’t even conceive just a short time ago.  And we aren’t done yet! For the one month anniversary of my foray into ultra running I am announcing the next event(S) in the Where’s Chris Scotch campaign to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude.  Yes, that’s right,  events!

Where’s Waldo 100k Ultra Marathon (62 miles summiting 5 peaks in the Oregon Cascades)

And in the vein of continuing to experience things I previously never conceived, (don’t just step out of the box, tear that box  to shreds) I will be entering a road bike event despite having been on a road bike only once in my life.

Portland Century (100 mile tour of Portland and the Columbia River Gorge)

These events are back to back – Where’s Waldo is on August 21, and the Portland Century will be the next day, Sunday August 22.  This is a call to action for me and I am asking you to step up as well.  I am not a runner (can I still claim that?)   and most definitely not a road biker.  And as hard as I tried, I could not find a training program that said biking 100 miles the day after a 100K ultra marathon was a sure path to recovery.  But why let these small facts stop us?  The goal of Where’s Chris Scotch is to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude.  And somehow I got the thought that doing my longest ultra yet,  and my first road bike ride,  as back-to-back events, might raise some eyebrows!

I am committed to competing in both of these events – can you commit to donating to the cause and spreading the word?  My goal is to get 100 donations by the end of the Portland Century ride on Sunday August 22.

100 kilometer ultra marathon

100 mile road bike race

100 donations for Katelyn and St. Jude

Any and every amount helps.  Thanks!