This month I have been crew (Bishop High Sierra,) aid station captain (Broken Arrow Skyrace,) fundraising chairperson (Tahoe Donner Summer Concert,) pacer (Western States 100,) and race photographer (all of the above.) But most importantly, I’ve been true to my nickname: Trail Mom.
As a very busy month came to an exciting close with the completion of Western States, I gazed at our running family with unbounded pride. We were camped in the middle of the Placer High School track, seeking refuge from the unrelenting sun under two shade tents. I cherish this experience not for what our individual runners did out there, but how we did it: together.
We shared those shade tents with our sister club, the Silver State Striders. The most venerable of groups led by the famously eloquent John Trent. During the race, we volunteered with and were served by our other sister club, the Tahoe Mountain Milers. They put their legendary race and aid station hospitality on display at Lyon Ridge.
We are the youngsters (maybe not in age, but certainly in experience.) We look to our running-club cousins for advice and support. And they give generously.
Five years ago we were a loose group of runners who sometimes connected via email groups and the up-and-coming Facebook world. On March 27, 2014, as the incorporator of a new nonprofit called “Donner Party Mountain Runners,” I appointed our initial board of directors. I didn’t feel like a leader. I felt like an administrator.
The real leaders, I thought, were those accomplished runners such as Peter Fain, Mike Tebbutt, Betsy Nye, and Gretchen Brugman, to name a small sampling. It was, and still is, an honor to count them as friends and mentors in our running community.
Our club is growing up. I am proud of our programs: Castle Peak 100k, weekly group runs, trail stewardship, educational and social events, snowshoe runs and the Racing Gnome. In January we switched up roles, with Peter Fain stepping down as president and me stepping down as Castle Peak 100k co-RD.
Now I am the president of the nonprofit that I first incorporated. But that is just a job and a title. I am happily only one cog of the many gears that make the club go. (Honestly, there are so many insanely competent leaders and contributors in our club that I would be chagrin to name them.)
Facing the loss of two dear members (Britt and Julia) in the past year has changed me. There will be more losses as we age, and I don’t think it will ever become easier to navigate. I don’t always know what to do or how to shepherd this amazing running family. I am learning and trying, and, thankfully, I don’t have to do it on my own.
I am Trail Mom. I will do my best to show up when it’s important to you. I will kiss your boo-boos and give you a bandaid. I will pace you and crew you. And I will try to take pictures and write about it all, so we can reminisce about these days when we’re finally all growed up.