The DPMR family lost one of our own on Christmas Eve. Lucas Horan (39) was taken from this life far too soon and has left a deep void in our hearts and on the trails. We send our deepest condolences to Lucas’s family and loved ones in the wake of this devastating loss.
Lucas embodied the #unafraid spirit in many ways, having jumped into the trail running world in the spring of 2016, quickly increasing his mileage from 1/2 marathon to 50 miler to 100 miler in about 7 months time. He went on to finish more than 30 ultramarathon distance events in the following years, (while being coached by Peter Fain of Run on Dirt) including two 330k Tor Des Geants and two Castle Peak 100k’s. During his first 100k (Castle Peak), Lucas notoriously tripped and crashed five miles from the finish line – he still got up and ran it in, meeting his dad (a doctor) at the finish to pop his dislocated shoulder back into place. His mom recalls him saying, “Just give me a beer and I’ll be ok!”
Lucas was passionate about trail access and volunteered with the Donner Party Mountain Runners and the Truckee Donner Land Trust doing trail work, and he also financially supported both non-profit organizations. Immediately following an all-day trail work day on the Elizabethtown Trail, Lucas organized a small group run from Sugar Bowl to Squaw for dinner and then back again, finishing around 2:30 am: this was classic Lucas style.
Lucas spent time volunteering at races (Broken Arrow, The Canyons, and races in the Bay Area, where he lived), but he will mostly be remembered for his lively presence running the races, as he joyously ran down the trails (or stopped to take naps), while meeting and interacting with as many people as possible. Lucas was enthusiastic about getting friends out on the trails. He truly believed that anyone could do whatever they put their mind to – and he relished in encouraging and supporting others. He had friends around the world to show for it. Lucas was always coming up with new and crazy adventure ideas and reaching out to friends to try to rope them in. A friend of his, Maureen, recently wrote “I think so many of us are wishing that we said YES to Lucas’s wild ideas more! It speaks so much to who Lucas was that we will continue to learn from him and strive to be better & kinder people in his absence.”
Lucas will be missed for his downright crazy and untamable spirit. Just over a year after he began trail running he decided to circumnavigate the Bay Area Ridge, completing 350 miles over 8 days, mostly solo, with a lot of route-finding along the not-complete trail. Lucas went on to do this entire circumnavigation again in 2019 with a friend (who he met while running Tor Des Geants, and roped her into the idea from across the world).
Professionally, Lucas was a brilliant scientist at Eureka Therapeutics, passionately working on cures for cancer and most recently, a 10-hour nasal spray (still in preclinical trials) that protects against COVID. The world is a better place thanks to his years of dedication and research. A colleague, Tim Acker, reminisced: “His impact to the field will undoubtedly carry on through his ideas and his impressions on his colleagues. He brought all of himself to the effort, challenged everyone around him to be their best in their work and rarely let the fact that he might have often been the smartest person in the room get in the way of seeking truth toward our shared goals.”
A couple of his friends have written beautiful remembrances:
Mat: Remembering Lucas
Lucas’s sister, Lisa, created a Facebook page for friends and family to share photos, memories, and music to help keep our memories alive. Please share any memories or photos you might have on the page, to help his loved ones through this difficult time.
In the coming months, our club will find a way (working with Lucas’s family) to honor his legacy through a group run, race, or another event.
In the meanwhile, I suggest celebrating Lucas’s life by making the most of every run you are given. Take naps out there when you feel like it. Always say Yes to adventure. Adore Life.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you while cares drop off like autumn leaves” – John Muir