“If I get hurt, lost or die – it’s my own d@mn fault”

btr ultra escobar

“If I get hurt, lost or die – it’s my own d@mn fault”

By Patrick Reed

Such are the final words of the mandatory waiver for the 50-kilometer race I will run this weekend. And this is going to be a great race! Really great!

The Born To Run Ultramarathon races – being held this coming weekend in Los Olivos, California – promise all of the fireworks, heartbreak, drama, exhilaration and suspense of any footrace. Period.

I know I am not alone in my excitement about these imminent contests. Ranging in distance from 10 miles through to the full 100 mile distance, all of the races begin on the same Saturday morning gunshot — a 6 a.m. concussion which will once again rouse us addicted runners from our mundane everyday’s into the limitless bliss of an ultra-distance footrace.

The race director, Luis Escobar – also a veteran high school coach (and thus veteran course designer:) – has created a speedy figure eight-shaped circuit of two connected 10 mile loops which meet at camp central where multitudes of ultra die-hards will enjoy the weekend. With aid stations at the top and bottom of the ‘8’, the course should be ideal for carrying little to nothing save a few goo’s or gels. A true ‘minimalist’s’ opportunity!

And just as during the Death Valley foray which I chronicled a couple of weeks ago, this next Born To Run event smacks all around of epic:

“If I get hurt, lost or die – it’s my own d@mn fault”

Despite the concern which courses through any mother’s or spouse’s heart upon watching their loved one sign this waiver, the words also push a rush of adrenaline into the signatory’s system. Just as I used to become wired on race weekend back when I raced big city street marathons and could literally not stand still as the hours ticked the day’s down until the start gun finally fired, I find myself getting more and more amped by what might lie ahead in this weekend’s effort.

If I get hurt….

Yes, a great goal of mine during this past year – as I have finally gained confidence that my achilles injury is really almost behind me – has been to stay healthy. So, a twisted, torqued ankle or a fall ever looms, and the fear of such an event enlivens my senses. Add to this excitedness the unknowns of a new course in the rolling, inland hills of California’s drop-dead beautiful Central Coast, and I am getting more pumped still…


If I could do one thing better than to compete for medals in high school cross-country those many years ago, it was getting lost. I was a pro at running really hard for a long time until when I finally decided to look back discovering that I was well off course. A few times I literally found myself blitzing full-speed, out in front, sprinting around some dreamy forest curve only to run right into my own teammates – who soberly cruised the course. I dutifully turned around and got into step. Lost no more. So, this weekend, the glint of anxiety caused by the slightest possibility (see how naive I still am?!) of running off course into never never-land — and by the way, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is literally within a short crow’s flight of the course… — has me yet again stirring at the coming challenge.

…or die…

Probably not the two best words to expound upon for too long. Suffice it to say, anything which threatens to tax one’s mortality is by definition something worth thinking about at least twice. A great lure of ultra running is its extremeness. My pre-race jitters, butterflies and excitement only amp at the notion that the task before me will cost me.

It’s my own d@mn fault

These final words of the race waiver are ironically consoling. In our world of irresponsible legal accusations, heartless legal gambits and frivolous lawsuits, it’s refreshing to meet a challenge which forces you to take responsibility. In a culture of entitlements where every natural demise is blamed on someone else, it is freeing to accept culpability for my own choices. And I choose to run!

This final waiver reminder is precisely the wording of the blood oath that Caballo Blanco made with the 7 Americans who followed him into the Copper Canyons. And so I am all the more exhilarated about my Ultra race this weekend. The waiver says it all!


~Coach Reed

image credit: Luis Escobar