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Email to Heaven.

I just sent an email off to my former running club, The Crested Butte Mountain Runners. Located around 3,000 meters high up in the Colorado Rockies. Expat Englishman, Martin Catmur is still organizing incredible trail races as he was when I was there over 10 years ago. As I typed, such was my excitement that I had to backtrack many times to make numerous corrections.

I remember the first time I heard of Crested Butte…

I was between jobs and at the end of a 3 month road trip in my camper van. I had lived in a town called Brush! which is a couple of hundred km’s away. Before the road trip I packed up and moved out of my apartment so I really didn’t have anywhere to go back to. In fact I was not even sure I wanted to return. I had been living there about a year. I don’t think I even did my homework properly when moving to the area from Ireland. I had just looked at the map and said… ” 1,400 meters…Sure that’s mountains!’

When I got out of the Greyhound bus and looked around I felt like Jim Carey in the movie Dumb and Dumber and also said.. ‘ Gee, I thought the Rocky mountains would have been a bit rockier!’

Brush! was no ordinary town,at least they said. The eastern prairie town had some kind of a local ordinance that required them to have an exclamation mark after the name of the town.

Now I was on the road… I was not really in a hurry back, think I really just wanted to extend the trip a couple more days. I was a bit bored. I parked the camper for the night down near the local park on Tomich Avenue in Gunnisoni. Not really knowing where I was going I just wandered around.

Karaoke was on in Timbers bar that Friday night so I stopped by. I had always fancied myself as a Bob impersonator. Dylan’s ‘Rainy Day Women number 12 and 35′ was my party piece at that time, it went down well the students of the Western State College…
Several times they came over to me buying me drinks saying ‘Hey Dude That was awesome… Especially the ‘everybody must get stoned line’ Hey now tell me about rainy day women 13 and 36..Anymore!!?

Gunnison is up around 2,600 meters and is cold in the winter.. Really cold. Its in the vast Gunnison valley where the cold wind gets trapped little escape. Many a winter day its the coldest day in the USA. Damp hair turns into icicles in seconds. You go indoors it melts rapidly, out again frozen hair again, wrecks your head.

At that time many of the Western State university students were from New Zealand on scholarships.. They were fine track athletes, some had even ran in the Olympic Games. They were also running the cross country season and skiing for cross training. Tonight they had a traditional start of cross country season dinner in the college.
In the morning at 8am there would be a 2 mile time trial. Coach had gone to bed early, and as students do all over the world they were burning the candle at both ends not really concerned about their run.

I got invited to run the time trial and though I hadn’t run much in the last year was surprised to clock something like 11 minutes and at altitude, I was delighted. I was well down the field but didn’t care. Some of the hungover Kiwis ran it in the low 8 minutes.

Main Street, Crested Butte, Colorado.

Earlier that night construction workers from the highway project between Gunnison and nearby Crested Butte told me to drop by their site office on Monday morning as they were looking for crew. I did just that and was hired on the spot… I lived out of the camper on the site. I couldn’t believe my first weeks wages.. It was a union job and they paid the federal construction rate.. I came out with over $1,000..
The job lasted till Christmas. The foreman took care of us with a nice bonus. The day we were finishing up he filled up his pickup with beer. We had the mother of all parties on the site after work.. I brought out my ghetto blaster and played my U2 Cd’s. The Joshua Tree was the one everyone wanted. I sat down in a quiet corner, looked out over the site fence up at the distant spectacular mountains. Track 7 for evermore will be indelibly stamped in my mind. That moment I coined the phrase for my beloved Colorado when I heard ‘ In Gods Country ‘ rattle out of the ghetto blaster.
I looked around and couldn’t quite believe the sheer beauty as the sun set around those spectacular Crested Butte mountains. I was in Heaven. There was no going back to Brush! I had found my nirvana.

Please visit the Crested Butte Mountain Runners website:

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2 Responses to “Email to Heaven.”

  1. theworldjog Says:

    Hi Jackie. Not a totally adequate reply but I touched on it in an earlier post (written in a hurry.)
    Scroll down to older entries and click on ” The genesis of The World Jog ”
    I hope to address it in the next week with a blog titled ” More on the genesis of The World Jog ”
    In short I got the idea while out running.. I have coined the phrase ” Prisoner of my dream ” because in over 20 years it has never been further than a few waking hours from my mind.

    It was only yesterday that I realized I am subconsciously feeding this monster by my involvement with some of the people on the links of the sidebar who are friends of mine.
    Also reading so many travel books about world walks and camel crossings of Africa don’t help eradicate this out of control beast that The World Jog has become before it even starts… But hey..I hope that is not too dark! If I gotta to do it in order to start living my life in a normal fashion again – I will make sure I will enjoy every second of it :)
    Thanks Jackie, I hope we will talk again on the road! Tony

  2. theworldjog.com – blog » Blog Archive » Some older posts. Says:

    [...] Email to Heaven. [...]

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About Tony

I have always considered myself to be an average runner. In school, I was even bullied for I was a sports wimp. Through hard work, dedication, perseverance, self-belief and a strong mind I succeeded in not only running around the world but breaking four ultra running world records during my competitive career. Having previously cycled around the world I didn't start running until I was almost 30. Then I had a dream of running around the world. For many reasons, I waited for over 20 years. One reason was to establish my pedigree as an endurance athlete. I started and finished my world run as the current World Record-Holder for 48 Hours Indoor Track 426 kilometres (265 miles), a record I have held since 2007. I also broke and still hold the World Record for 48 hours on a Treadmill 405 kilometres (251 miles) in 2008. When I retired from competition, more pleasing than any of my world, European or Irish records I had the respect of my fellow athletes from all over the world - in my opinion, sports greatest reward - an achievement I am most proud of. Then I finally put myself out to pasture, to live my ultimate dream to run around the world! This blog was written on the road while I struggled to find places to sleep and to recover from running an average of 43.3 kilometres or 27 miles per day for 1,165 road days. There were many nights I typed this blog on a smart phone, so fatigued my eyes closed. Many journalists and endurance athletes have referred to my world run as the most difficult endurance challenge ever attempted. During my expedition I rarely had any support vehicles, running mostly with a backpack. In the more desolate areas I pushed my gear, food and water in a cart which I called Nirvana, then I sent her on ahead to run with my backpack once again over altitudes of almost 5,000 metres in the Andes. I stayed in remote villages where many people had never seen a white person before. I literally met the most wonderful people of this world in their own backyard and share many of those amazing experiences in this blog. My run around the world took 4 years. There were no short cuts, I ran every single metre on the road while seeking out the most comprehensive route across 41 countries, 5 continents, I used 50 pair of running shoes and my final footstep of the run was exactly 50,000 kilometres, (almost 31,000 miles) I eventually finished this tongue in cheek named world jog where I started, at the finish line of my city marathon. I started my global run with the Dublin Marathon on October 25th 2010 and finished with the Dublin Marathon on October 27th 2014 at 3 05pm! Thank you for your support, I hope you can share my unique way of seeing the world, the ultimate endurance challenge! Read more...

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