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September 13, 2009

Pure Zion; Run Tellman Run!

I’m still putting some finishing touches on my Half Dome report, so I’m giving that one another day to simmer before serving it up for public consumption. In the meantime, I have a handful of announcements to fill this space today: two from my favorite trail running company, and one about a very intriguing character who is either tremendously heroic or hopelessly delusional – or maybe a little of each.

First up: the summer apparel sale at Wilderness Running Company that I’ve promoted a couple of times is drawing to a close. There are still some very sweet deals on tech tees and shorts, and they’re also blowing out a handful of watches and sunglasses as well. No matter what kind of bargain you find there, you can still use my coupon code R&R10 for an additional 10% discount. The sale ends on September 20th, so get going.

Next is an announcement of a different sort from the same company. I’ve mentioned a few times before how dedicated WRC is to the trail running experience -and now they’re putting together an event that reflects both their love for the sport and their mission to share it with others.

On November 7 and 8, Wilderness Running Company is hosting a two-day event called Pure Zion, which takes place in Utah’s Zion National Park. It’s basically a weekend trail-running getaway in one of the most beautiful locations imaginable, with a small group of like-minded souls to accompany you.

Promo pic from WRC website

The first day features a 20-mile run through the heart of the park on the Wildcat Canyon and West Rim Trails. Sunday’s run is a 15-miler on the La Verkin Creek Trail in the Kolob Canyons section of the park.

This opportunity is unique for a few reasons: first, the group size is extremely limited by National Park policy. There will probably be no more than a dozen participants in the weekend. What that means for attendees is plenty of flexibility to adapt the runs to participant interest. For example, the first day could potentially be anything from a half-marathon to a 50K, and the second day can easily be extended to 20+ miles.

(And before you ask ... no, I probably won't be there. That shouldn't make it any less enticing for you, though - in fact, I would think it makes it more so.)

The other very unique – and very cool – aspect of the camp is that there is no charge to attend. All you have to fund is your own transportation and lodging while in town, and WRC will provide the rest. They’ll give you a pre-run dinner on Friday night, a picnic in Zion Canyon on Saturday, and all the run-related transportation and logistical support you need on both days. And since they’re in the gear business, they have some sweet product giveaways in store as well.

Sounds cool, huh? If you’re interested, check out the information page and e-mail WRC for the required pre-registration. Since the number of slots is extremely limited, if you want to sign up, don’t drag your feet.

Finally, a story that I’m not quite sure what to make of: the curious saga of Tellman Knudson, and his quest to raise 100 million dollars. This is one of those dream-chasing stories that I’d honestly love to see succeed, but I’m almost completely certain is bound to come off the rails.

Tellman wanted to do something dramatic and inspiring to raise money for homeless youth, so he came up with the idea to run all the way across America. Shortly thereafter, he was disheartened to learn that a small number of people have already grabbed that particular brass ring, so he increased the crazy factor exponentially by deciding that he’d do his run completely barefoot.

For having such a grandiose plan, Tellman has flown somewhat under the radar, although he does count Richard Branson as one of his primary supporters. I have no idea how much money he’s raised thus far, but it’s probably somewhere in the four-figures instead of the nines. On the plus side, he does have some interesting YouTube videos documenting his quest.

Tellman is also a relative neophyte when it comes to running barefoot, as he claims he’s only done it for four months. If that’s the case, one of two things will inevitably happen: 1) he’ll end up injuring himself before crossing his first state line, or 2) he’ll have to break down the 3200-mile distance into pieces so incrementally small that they’ll consume the next 10 to 15 years of his life. (As a point of comparison, I’ve been running barefoot for about two months, and the most I can go continuously is less than four miles.) If he were an experienced barefoot runner, I’d give Tellman a puncher’s chance – but without a solid foundation underneath him, I fear he’s destined to wind up far short of his goals.

On that note, I’m not going to recommend that you donate to him, for many folks have dismissed this as nothing more than a goofy publicity stunt. I guess my announcement here is just to make you aware that Tellman began his odyssey from New York’s Battery Park last Wednesday (on 9/9/09, making it easy to remember), and that the story may become much more compelling as it unfolds. He may be coming to a town near you in the weeks, months, or years to come - or maybe not. I honestly have no idea.

At any rate, here’s a video of Tellman on a morning news show in New York City, to give you a sense of the guy:

Like I said, I don’t really know what to make of it, so for now I’ll just say this: Run, Tellman, Run!


21stCenturyMom 9/13/09, 7:24 PM  

I'm hopelessly behind on your blog but did you meet Jeff of Breaking the Tape? He's there, too. He's a great guy.

I love Yosemite. Every time I go there I am left breathless with the wonder of it all and can't figure out why I don't go more often.

Gretchen 9/13/09, 9:05 PM  

Based on your final comment, I guess I'm not the only who thinks Tellman looks like Forest Gump. Did he do that on purpose? I hope he makes it!

And the Zoin thing...oooooooh! Believe it or not, I'm actually going. I put the rally cry out to some of the coolest running chicks I know, and a few said yes, so we're in! Well, okay, flights aren't booked yet, but everyone sounds committed. Yippee!!!!

Gretchen 9/13/09, 9:07 PM  

Uh, did I just say "Zoin"? Yikes.

Darrell 9/13/09, 10:24 PM  

Tellman Knudson, now there's a name. I give him kudos just for that. With someone like Branson behind him, he just might reach his $ goal.

I did get a chuckle out of Gretchen's Zoin.

triguyjt 9/14/09, 9:18 AM  

I am hooked on Tellman. Will follow that free spirited..guy with gumption and adventure...

cool stuff

Anne 9/14/09, 6:01 PM  

I actually interviewed Tellman at my former company for an article [he's a member]. He has a very captivating life story, including the reason why he's raising money for homeless teens: He was one and now he's a millionaire.

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