Jon Murchinson has been an active club volunteer since 2014, DPMR Board Member since 2017, the main force behind the DPMR Instagram page for the past few years, and is also going on three years of serving as chair of our Retail Committee (thanks for all the awesome swag, Jon!). When not volunteering for the club, you might find Jon running the trails of Truckee or Marin, or volunteering at any number of other races. Jon’s smile and energy are contagious – one of my fondest Jon-sightings was during a low point for myself at the Marin Ultra Challenge – he just popped out of nowhere, jogged with me for a bit and totally brought me back to the reason I was out there. If you ran Castle Peak 100k this year you may have seen Jon – he both pre-ran a section of the course and then worked the night shift in the Palisades. Jon’s volunteered as a sweep for Western States for the past three years (read about his experience from 2018 here), and has also been a tremendous help to our monthly newsletter contributing Member Highlights (alternating with Renee), regular race reports and more.
Jon’s enthusiasm, energy, smile, encouragement for fellow runners, and his eagerness to share his love for our community through his photographs, writings, and endless hours of selfless volunteer work are just a few reasons I think you should get to know Jon a little better, as this month’s Member Highlight.
Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m originally from Scarsdale, NY. My wife, two kids and I live in San Francisco.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why? I started running short distances after I moved to NYC following college. I had signed up for the Chilmark Road Race and needed a consistent way to train so I started by running the reservoir loop in Central Park, moved on to the Outer Loop and then started running NYRRC events. I focused on 5Ks and 10Ks for several years with my longest race being the Cherry Blossom 10-miler, when I lived in DC. I had no interest in long distances at the time such as what I considered to be self-inflicted punishment of running a marathon.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you? I do like to race and having a race day goal is motivating but haven’t done so this year beyond the Broken Arrow 26K. What also motivates me is enjoying nature and friends while on the trail.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)? I ran Sierre-Zinal in 2018, which was my first experience racing in Europe. My family and I vacationed in Courmayeur afterward and the atmosphere, terrain, scenic beauty and people there were enchanting. So all of this is a long way of saying that I would love to run one of the UTMB events one day.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy? Favorite post-run meal or beverage? I swear by Huma gels and Tailwind when on the trail but my nutrition “strategy” for races is not exactly a science. I try to supplement those two items by eating solid foods (PB&J, potatoes, chips, etc.) for as long as possible. In the later stages, I’ll add in Mountain Dew or Coke if (when) my energy is flagging.
What was your favorite running experience this past year? My favorite running experience of the past year was sweeping Western States. I’ve been on the WSER sweep team for the past three years and it is always an inspiring and humbling experience. This past July I swept from Red Star to Robinson Flat and in previous years I have done the section of the course from Robinson to Devil’s Thumb. Regardless of the segment, I always enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow sweepers and the perseverance and determination displayed by cutoff-fighting runners who are far removed from the glamour and spectacle of the leaders. I’m grateful for the privilege to volunteer for States.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year? I developed a Baker’s Cyst behind my left knee in 2018 that has caused me to significantly reduce my running mileage. This has presented me with physical and mental challenges as I am not able to get out and run with the frequency I’d like to do so and has caused me to feel less connected to the trail running community. Thankfully the cyst has subsided considerably with rest so I’m hoping that 2020 will be my comeback year!
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans? I’m entering the TRT 55K lottery when it opens on December 1 so wish me luck.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training? I work in executive communications for software company SAP. The thing that makes finding training time difficult is having two school-aged (14 and 11) kids who both have lots of activities! I coach my son’s lacrosse team from late January to early June so that obligation takes time away from running adventures on Saturdays and Sundays but of course, it is a trade I’m more than happy to make.
What led you to join the DPMR? Back in 2014 I needed to get myself into better shape so I started running in Golden Gate Park. We have a house in Truckee and I was interested in running in the area. I stumbled upon the DPMR site on-line and attended my first event – the Roller Coaster Half Marathon – on a whim. I was 100% certain that I would not be the type of runner who even considered distances of marathon length and beyond on a trail (I hadn’t even run 13 consecutive miles at that point) but I was game to try anything once. I was pleasantly surprised by the welcoming and remarkably self-effacing people that I met that day. I spent most of the morning running with Diana Schlaff (we went 13+ with some bonus miles tacked on when we got lost) and it was a great introduction to DPMR and led me to the realization that maybe these ultra running folks could be my people.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far? My favorite DPMR-related experience was pacing DPMR member Dan Brounstein at the TRT 50 miler in 2017. It ranks as my favorite due to the combination of the strikingly beautiful course, the number of familiar faces (runners, pacers, crew, and volunteers) seen during the event and the fact that he finished the race, due of course to expert pacing!
Favorite local trail? My favorite local trail in the Bay Area is the Ninja Loop. It is a beautiful, hilly loop that rewards runners with a gorgeous view of the bay at the end.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have? After trail running, alpine skiing is my other true outdoor passion.
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share? I once overslept and missed a flight on Air Force One.