My thoughts on Power. Purpose. Passion.

(Read by me publicly at the lululemon Worth 100% speakers event in San Luis Obispo, Ca.)

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Thank you to lululemon for the invitation to speak. It is truly an honor to share my short story with you all tonight in hopes that you too will exercise your power, connect to your purpose and use your passion to create good in your life and the world. Bare with me tonight as I read this rather than just speak it. Usually I do not get nervous speaking in public but as I stand here looking at each of you in this intimate setting, I want to really really see you. All of you and each one of you eye to eye and heart to heart. So in truth your beauty is distracting me.    

Power.

“I found my POWER late in life (early 30’s) after no shortage of failures and misery. Raised by war surviving immigrants, 1st American born, my childhood was less like the ‘yellow brick road’ and more like the Great Wall of China. Mc Donald’s grown chubby kid, who’s teenage eating disorder slowly traded up for drugs & alcohol. By age 16 I was living on my own lost, but searching. I moved a lot, tried countless new jobs, endless new boyfriends and ultimatley just as many self destructive words to say internally to myself. 

Young to marry, young to Mother, young to divorce. I made a lot of money, lost a lot of money and all of my desperate attempts to succeed at both business and fitness failed. My sense of self worth was close to bankrupt many many times. But like any true female Leo, I relentlessly pursued ME, but better.

By my early 30’s I hit the dark deep bottom with depression and a serious health crisis. Thankfully, I those hard ass life lesson “POWER muscles" had developed in my soul and they began to flex. I knew I could not live another day feeling so disconnected to my body and emotionally worthless. Sick and exhausted curled up on my bathroom floor I committed that very moment to simply start over. I wanted, needed and deserved a do-over. It was time to develop my body, my voice and my wisdom. I self INVESTED in my POWER. That was 18 years ago. Years and 50 lbs less later, I am the person you all know now. Race SLO CEO, Ultra Athlete, proud Mother & Wife, wild & crazy friend and empowered community leader.”

Purpose. 

“I found my life’s PURPOSE along that hilly path of empowerment. Self investing in exercise, education and like minded human connection I got healthy & fit.  It was then I determined my purpose was to help others who are also in search of themselves, but better. I became a Certified Personal Trainer, an Endurance Coach and then a Race Director. Founding Race SLO over 10 years ago. Over the Sam 2.0 journey there has been no shortage of challenges and failures. But now that I operate from a place of daily self investment and self-worth, I no longer get drug down into the dark disfunction. My own daily rituals of quality sleep, exercise, solid nutrition, stress reduction and (of course) my morning ritual (coffee & reflection) are simple ways I value myself. I learned it’s not selfish- it’s self aware and honorable to start with the self. Only from a place of WORTH can you show the world how to truly value you in return.” 


Passion.  

“My life sparked a hot PASSION fire when I discovered Endurance Sports. Towards my late 30’s, the work of going from Couch Potato to athlete was a total rebirth. I not only rebuilt by body and life from the ground up but I reshaped my heart. I have had the honor of coaching hundreds of others on their health & fitness journey, producing life & community changing endurance races plus the gift of self trust I developed over my own body & life- all by using endurance sports as the platform. Over 100 races later, including 5 x 100+ mile runs, Ironman and countless ultra outdoor adventures, I truly proved to myself that I am my own best self when exploring my boundaries. I have found both my beauty & true self while experiencing the physical world of endurance races. I’ve lay speechless in the cold dirt at 2am, at mile 68 of my first 100 miler, talking only to myself words of encouragement to get back up and move onward. Despite every single toe being covered in blisters, being severely undertrained and no fuel left in the tank- I somehow found the deep inner courage to finish that 100 mile race. Or when I was the only woman & least experienced member on a team running from Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim across the entire Grand Canyon and then back non-stop and 3 of the 5 got sick and were in danger. I was able to run ahead, secure nutrition and provide leadership for us to get out safely. You see, these ultra endurance events are not just about training, they require you to examine your purpose, develop self worth and ignite passion to dig deeper than you ever knew existed. Next August I turn 50 and I can honestly say BRING IT ON. I am preparing now for my next ultra endurance challenge and will continue to seek them out as long as I am alive. Because it is then I feel most fully ALIVE. “

“Lets pause and then circle back together on this…… We are each born with 100% full worth. Then life often provides us negative experiences that detract from our sense of value. But ultimately it is up to US to decide OUR true worth. Daily, we each have the POWER, the PURPOSE and the PASSION to not only invest in ourselves but to teach the world our true value.”


Together lets roar our truth. Read together from tonights program with me please:

My sensitively is my strength. 

My vulnerability is my fire. 

I feel, I heal, I experience deeply. 

I create. I impact.

I am powerful beyond measure. 

Enough already. 

We are Enough, ALREADY. 


- Samantha Pruitt, Founder & CEO of Race SLO

Race SLO Community Ambassador - Jarod Contreras

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together.

Home Trails

The early morning sun illuminated the fog hanging over the ocean as my father and I power hiked up a favorite local climb: Pirate Trail. As the name suggests, this trail is wild and rebellious in its difficulty. On that quiet summer day in September of 2017 both my dad and I had a lot on our minds, for much the same reason. In a couple short weeks I would be heading off to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Meaning that I would be leaving my family to attend a school four hours north, a fact that was causing my dad and I much consternation on that dusty run.

The act of moving out of the house for the first time causes many parents and children consternation, I know, not just due to the significance of the shift, but also due to the realization that the child is no longer a child. As Pirate pitched ever upwards our thoughts were on much the same idea, but there was also something more. My family and I are best friends, which may sound odd coming from a 19 year-old, but in most cases I would much rather embark on an adventure with my family more than anyone else. My dad, mom, sister, and I are a tribe and leaving the day to day rhythms and security of that tribe would be one of the hardest things I’d ever do, both my dad and I knew.

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As we approached the top of Pirate we began to discuss our love of our home trails. The place where I began to run and trained to adventure everywhere from the Grand Canyon to the Sierras to the Bryce Canyon 100, which I had run just a few months before. Leaving my home trails would not be as hard as leaving my family, but challenging nonetheless.

Instead of turning around at the top of the climb to do another lap, as we usually do, we decided to do some exploring. We headed off into the open lands surrounding the small neighborhood atop the hill, running and hiking with smiles as we opened our horizons on the trails we ran everyday. As we made our way overland we chatted easily, about nothing and everything, as we tend to do. The hillside pitched steeply upwards yet again and we traversed the sagebrush, eventually finding ourselves standing on a small road. We walked down the road a bit and emerged onto more trails unknown to us. The vista from that spot was magnificent, encompassing our trails, the Pacific, and Catalina Island, all sitting quietly in the distance.

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Looking out at where I had grown up, and faced with the coming change, I began to cry. I looked over at my dad and he began to cry as well. We held each other tightly and through our tears we carried on a conversation that I will forever hold dear. My dad emphasized to me how close, in the grand scheme of things, my hometown was from college. He told me that I must remember that he, my mom, and my sister were always there for me, no matter what. He reminded me how much he loved me.

That conversation armed me with the confidence to approach college with a new outlook: as an adventure to be had and a time to grow, not as a terrible change. The fact that that exchange occurred on a trail was significant to me as well. It signified and solidified the notion to me that whatever happened in the coming year of college I must remember that I would forever be able to return to the solace I find in a run in the mountains and the subsequent peace that I find in myself.

Endurance Town USA Podcast Features Sports Icon and Survivalist Nellie Ballengee

For the latest episode of the mini-series Faces Behind the Races, presented by Race Roster, the Endurance Town USA podcast host Samantha Pruitt traveled to Moab, Utah, to sit down with the successful race director, endurance adventure athlete, professional coach, small business owner and wilderness survivor Danelle “Nellie” Ballengee. Their rich conversation touches on Nellie’s growing up, how she discovered her love of sports and outdoors, then finding herself directing races, surviving a near-death trail running accident and ultimately coming through it all with her return to racing, owning a restaurant business and building a family.

Included in her personal accomplishments, Danelle holds the female speed record for climbing all 54 of Colorado fourteeners in fourteen days, fourteen hours and forty-nine minutes. She won several hundred events in various endurance sports, including one of the most punishing iconic endurance adventure races in the world, Primal Quest, a 400-mile self-navigated team adventure race over water, mountains and dangerous desert terrain.

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Danelle's life turned upside down when in December 2006, she went for a trail run, slipped and fell 60 feet, shattering her pelvis and breaking her back. She survived two nights and three days in sub-freezing temperatures with her dog Taz, who eventually led the Search and Rescue team to her remote location. Reflecting on the accident, Danelle says, “It slowed me down and forced me to really appreciate life, all I have and what I had accomplished in my athletic career. It made me really think hard about the bigger perspective of life.”

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Since 2011, Danelle directs the Moab Trail Marathon. “I came up with this loop, which ironically, part of the loop was on the route where I fell. And I think a part of my motivation for including that course segment was to prove to myself that I didn't do anything stupid, it was truly just an accident.”

Danelle still competes in trail and adventure events, but her priority at this time is raising her two sons, Noah and Will, then giving back to the outdoor sports world she loves so much.

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To hear more episodes from Faces Behind the Races mini-series of the Endurance Town USA podcast, including professional Race Directors and athletes Krissy Moehl, Doug Thurston, Ian Adamson, Maria Burton, Luis Escobar and Samantha Pruitt, download the Endurance Town USA podcast by visiting the website or by subscribing "Endurance Town USA" on your favorite podcast device.

About Endurance Town USA

Endurance Town USA is a state of mind, where listeners escape their daily grind and connect to their community of like-minded people, exploring their best selves through endurance sports. We dive deep into the story of WHY our guests use the common thread of endurance to weave their world. Through endurance sports, our storytellers are transforming their lives, the industry and the community at large.

Third Annual SLO Ultra a Perfect Ending of Summer

On Saturday, September 1, Dairy Creek Event Center at El Chorro Park welcomed SLO Ultra trail enthusiasts for the third annual event produced by the Central Coast's endurance sport leader Race SLO. 700 runners and hikers savored the exclusive opportunity to access the private trails of Camp SLO, Cal Poly and SLO County Parks to compete in a Road Runners of America (RRCA) 50K State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon and a trail 5K. Children enjoyed a half-mile race at the Dairy Creek Golf Course. Epic scenery and warm weather made for a spectacular day of outdoor activities. In addition to the races, public was invited to a free Race SLO Dirt Festival, with live music performance by Cuesta Ridge, expo with vendors from running industry, hot BBQ and cold Lagunitas brew. Camping was available for the participants in El Chorro Park. The 2018 race  beneficiaries of SLO Ultra included the Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks and Team Red, White and Blue.

Crowned RRCA State 50K Champions, Brian Tinder, an Adidas-sponsored athlete from Flagstaff, AZ was the first male to cross the finish with a blazing time of 4:10:58, and Elite Runner Lauren Totten of Santa Barbara was the first female with an impressive 4:35:51 time. Lauren decided to run her first 50K two days before the race. “Really thankful for a good day, to come away with the win and a personal record,” she said.

Other RRCA age category 50k State Champions crowned were Logan Laszczyk (29-39), Nicole Judd (30-39), Natalie Lee and Samuel Vonderheide (40-49), Linda Sereno and Sean Curry (50-59), Paulette Odenthal and Eric Clifton (60-69), and Tom Jefferis (70-99).

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In the half marathon, Race SLO Ambassador Rob Meade of Templeton, CA placed first with a time of 1:36:21, defending his title from the previous year. “I won last year too, so that was cool. I got tired about 10 miles in, I started to cramp a little bit, but it was a gorgeous course and I had fun,” said Rob. Lauren Bordeman of San Luis Obispo, CA was the overall winner among the women’s field with a time of 1:58:21.

In the 5K race, Race SLO Ambassador Pepe Gonzales of Paso Robles placed first in the men’s race (20:16), and Colorado Springs’ Catherine Frame won the women’s race (22:13).

“This year’s SLO Ultra offered runners from 21 different states the opportunity to taste our little slice of outdoor heaven here in SLOCAL,” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO. “We created a challenging but breathtaking private access course and first class experience for our guests, letting them both rave about our beloved town as well as feel deep satisfaction in their finish line victory. Next year we plan to move the date to November 2nd to increase attendance, add a yoga & music festival, plus be able to build a bigger Cal Poly partnership with students and faculty.”

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Photo by Luis Escobar

The 4th annual SLO Ultra & Yoga Music Festival will take place on Saturday, November 2, 2019. Early bird registration is now open. Racers and Yogis can register at https://raceroster.com/events/2019/19123/2019-slo-ultra-trail-runs-yoga-music-festival with 50K for as little as $99 and half marathon $69. 5K and kids race registration is also available. Organizers are adding Yoga & Music all-day festival and the $29 ticket will include a collectible unisex shirt or tank top.

The 2018 SLO Ultra was made possible by amazing land partners and sponsors including the City of San Luis Obispo, Camp San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly, Slo County Search & Rescue and SLO County Parks; Race SLO corporate sponsors Fluid, Glenn Burdette, Left Coast T-Shirts, Rick Engineering, Sunset Honda, Lagunitas Brewing and KSBY; and Race SLO corporate suppliers Core Financial Strategies, Action Wipes & Life Elements, Culligan Water, Estero Ham Radio Club, Meathead Movers and Pacific Energy.


ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the 2018 Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience, 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races, 3rd SLO Ultra trail races, US Trail Running Conference and NEW Endurance Town USA Podcast and athlete travel platform.

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Visit RaceSLO.com for more information.

Labor Day Weekend with SLO Ultra

The third annual SLO Ultra trail races are a perfect family-friendly activity for the Labor Day weekend. Produced by the Central Coast's endurance sport leader Race SLO and benefiting both SLO County Parks and The Land Conservancy of SLO, the SLO Ultra will take place in San Luis Obispo, starting and finishing at the Dairy Creek Event Center.

On Saturday, September 1, trail runners from all over the state will compete in a 50K Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Trail Championship. The Road Runners Club of America is the oldest and largest national association of running organizations dedicated to growing the sport of running since 1958.

Runners and hikers of all levels are invited to take part in a cross country half marathon, 5K trail run and new kids race. Those who aren't participating in the races can enjoy the free Race SLO Dirt Festival with Cuesta Ridge Band live music, vendors, hot BBQ and cold Lagunitas brew.

 

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“We couldn't wish for a better host partner than SLO County Parks,” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO founder and CEO. “We are stoked to move this event where we can open up opportunity for our guests to experience the private trails of Camp SLO, Cal Poly and SLO County Parks. Our new home at Dairy Creek Event Center and El Chorro Park allows for camping plus boosts inspiring views of the Seven Sister mountain range, truly showcasing the best of SLOCAL.”

The SLO Ultra will be held in conjunction with the 6th annual US Trail Running Conference (USTRC). Estimate attendance is 100 for the USTRC and 750 for the SLO Ultra. According to the event director Terry Chiplin, the depth of expertise and innovation that the speakers, sponsors and exhibitors bring to the event is unrivaled in the trail running market, making this a must-attend event for both trail race directors and trail runners. Leading the way, USTRC is collaborating with the Cal Poly Digital Transformation Hub, the world's first university-based innovation program powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The trail running industry professionals will be provided with an overview of Amazon's Working Backward process and conduct a problem/opportunity identification exercise addressing industry challenges and business solutions.

Among the dozens of industry leaders and professional trail runners coming to compete in San Luis Obispo is Kyle Robidoux, a legally blind ultra-marathoner who has completed the so-called Double Boston, running the full Boston Marathon course backwards from the Boylston Street to Hopkinton in the early morning, before turning around and running the 26.2 miles again with the rest of the crowd. Kyle manages United in Stride in which he recruits and trains sighted guides, and provides technical assistance to race directors to create Athletes with Disabilities Divisions.

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Kyle Robidoux

Other noteworthy runners include a rising star Tayte Pollman, elite mountain and trail runner sponsored by the Nike Trail Team; Ian Torrence, a legend in the trail and ultra running community having now finished more than 200 ultras and JFK 50 mile Champion and world record holder Emily Harrison Torrence.

Race Roster is sponsoring the event along with the City of San Luis Obispo.

For more information and to register, please visit SLOUltra.com and USTrailRunningConference.com.

 

ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the 2018 Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience, 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races, 3rd SLO Ultra trail races, US Trail Running Conference and NEW Endurance Town USA Podcast and athlete travel platform.

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Visit RaceSLO.com for more information.

FIERCE AT FIFTY

Many of you know I'm a podcast junkie (and the host of Endurance Town USA podcast).

I L.O.V.E. human connection and authentic storytelling. But last month while out on a long run I heard one that stopped me in my tracks. Why?

Because I am about to hit my halfway mark! Yes, I had already given some thought to my upcoming 49th birthday, but more in focus I was dialed in on the reality that I am turning 50 over the course of this next year. Being interviewed by Rich Roll, his 50-year-old male podcast guest was sharing his own journey and perspective on life when he boldly stated “I only have 29 summers left and I wake up each day and say that out loud in the mirror.” WTH?

Obviously, no one truly knows exactly how long they will live, however he then stated that the average American life span is 79 now. So he figured he better get down to business and use the next 29 years living life to the fullest, savoring every single summer. That is no joke and frankly, my dears, it lit a wildfire within my own soon-to-be-50 soul, inspiring me to dig in way deeper with my own life's mission.

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As I write this now, I sit on the sunset of being 48 years old. In the morning I will do what we all do every single year and age up. That morning's alarm clock and calendar will then count down my 365 day path towards the age of 50. So what does that mean? Why should I think beyond birthday cake? Because honestly, there are dark moments in life where the truth is scary to face. But there are also bright rainbow moments in time where that reality feels limitless and beautiful. So what I have decided to do now with this new year of my life is to shift both my mindset and my experience towards the rainbow. The rainbow has no start or finish, holds more colors than we can name and leads me towards a heart, body and mind of gold. Only I define what fifty looks and feels like. Only I decide how to think, act and feel at fifty. And I have decided that I will self invest this next year by becoming FIERCE AT FIFTY.

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Fierce: the combination of positive mental spirit, bold words and unapologetic actions used collectively. Animal Spirit: Lion (Leo)

Being #FierceAtFifty means that I will spend each precious day becoming my best self; physically, mentally and spiritually. #FierceAtFifty means that the next 365 days of my life will not be taken for granted or wasted on fear, stress or negative energy. It means that I will explore my limits, garden my relationships and honor my Earth. #FierceAtFifty is my priceless pot of gold.

It is time for bed now and the close of my 48th year in this life. With deep satisfaction I can close my eyes knowing it's been a wild ride so far. And with butterflies of anticipation I can also honestly say that the best is yet to come.

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ENDURANCE TOWN USA PODCAST IS LIVE!

Race SLO, the California Central Coast's endurance sport leader, in partnership with professional marketing and content creation company Rock Harbor Marketing, have launched the first of several endurance sports specific podcast mini-series. “Faces Behind the Races” mini-series, presented by Race Roster, is live now.

The podcast is hosted by Race SLO founder and CEO Samantha Pruitt, an ex-couch potato turned endurance coach, ultra runner, Ironman, adventure athlete and race director. The Endurance Town USA podcast offers listeners an escape from their daily grind while giving them an opportunity to connect with an endurance lifestyle community, learn about athlete-welcoming destinations and do a deeper dive towards exploring their best selves using endurance sports as a catalyst for growth.

“This new storytelling and content platform will take the flexing of our #1 brand value ‘Human Connection’ to a whole new level,“ said Ms. Pruitt. “Collaborating with industry leaders and influencers, we are now able to provide high quality content that will touch all demographics and allow us to use our shared passion to connect, educate and inspire others to embrace the endurance lifestyle. Endurance Town USA is not a place, it’s a powerful state of mind.”     

 Samantha Pruitt, Endurance Town USA Host & Co-Founder

Samantha Pruitt, Endurance Town USA Host & Co-Founder

The first 10-episode mini-series of Endurance Town USA’s podcast, presented by the leading endurance sport registration platform Race Roster, is titled “Faces Behind the Races” and focuses on professional Race Directors from all over the United States. Each up close and personal episode is built around a wide-ranging interview with a notable industry professional, highlighting how through endurance sports they transformed their life and impacted the industry and the endurance community at large. Interviewees at launch include World OCR President, three-time Guinness world record holder for endurance kayaking and the most successful adventure racer of all time Ian Adamson; ultra runner, professional sports photographer and founder of All We Do Is Run, Luis Escobar; retired professional expedition racer and CEO of North America's greatest expedition adventure race Primal Quest Maria Burton; runner and triathlete, as well as Executive Director of the Big Sur Marathon Foundation Doug Thurston; and the personal transformation journey of the Host, Samantha Pruitt. The next 10-pack mini-series titled “Faces of Endurance” focused on the athletes’ stories is set to be released in September 2018.

“Race Roster continues to double down on the endurance space,” said Brandon Laan, Race Roster’s VP of Sales. “Projects like this are easy to support when you trust the people behind them. Samantha’s enthusiasm for the sport and the community at large are infectious, and we believe that these stories need to be told. It is our hope that race directors can continue to learn from each other and that participants may have a greater appreciation for what it takes to host a spectacular event.”

Visit EnduranceTownUSA.com to download and listen to the podcast on your favorite device now, and to subscribe. Coming soon, the Endurance Town USA will feature endurance sports travel opportunities, training camps and video content for additional inspiration.

 

About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, Race SLO event portfolio currently includes the 8th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races, 3rd SLO Ultra trail races and Dirt Festival, the US Trail Running Conference, our new Endurance Town USA Podcast and coming soon endurance athlete travel and training camp platform.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Visit RaceSLO.com for more information.


About Rock Harbor Marketing

Established in 2012, RHM is a professional marketing and content creation agency specializing in digital advertising and marketing formats. Keeping its core mission of being a real human voice among a sea of digital noise, RHM manages social media platforms for organizations world-wide, designs and manages top-tier websites, provides content curation and copywriting for major events, and produces podcasts.


About Race Roster

Race Roster is a marketplace that helps runners register for running events and works with North America’s leading endurance events. As a trusted technology partner, Race Roster’s extensive industry knowledge and data insights help solve event challenges to achieve goals. We pride ourselves on supporting event organizers and their participants from start to finish. For more information, visit RaceRoster.com

Race SLO Community Ambassador: Bruce Skidmore

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together.

In 1979, I found out I had a kidney disease following a tough tackle playing Rugby at Penn State and was told the disease would eventually lead to dysfunction, dialysis, and ideally transplant. My fitness levels have always been high as I started running for fitness at 15 playing rugby all through high school, college, and a few years after that. Following a couple knee surgeries and bad ankles, I picked up cycling in 1995 and have been addicted ever since. It all started with an organized century ride, then one a month for 5 months before I joined a club and started racing Cat 3 and masters on the road (mostly crits and road races participating in two Masters National Championships). 

After 23 years of 150 miles a week, my kidney function was at the point where I went on dialysis for about 3 ½ years and hoped a living donor would step forward for transplant and a double nephrectomy (kidney removal), all at the same time. During dialysis, I continued working full time leading successful hotels sales and marketing teams around the country, and fortunately was able to ride all during dialysis except the day after my twice a week, 4-hour treatments. Two-hour rides before work 2-3 times a week, and a 3+ hour ride on one weekend day kept my spirits and fitness at a high level.

Fortunately, Colleen, an elementary school friend’s wife stepped forward to test as she saw me in my cycling team kit during a charity ride in Boston with my “beer belly” (my kidneys weighed over 12.5 pounds when they are normally 10 ounces; twins together average 11 pounds). Sure enough, PERFECT MATCH!  In May 2016 they performed the nephrectomy and transplant at the same time. I was only spinning (about 35 hours a month), the month before surgery as I didn’t want anything to happen that would jeopardize the transplant. Surgery went great, 4 weeks later I was spinning; at six weeks, riding 100 miles a week outside. 

Less than 4 months later, I planned to ride a small fundraiser metric century with my donor and her husband. We left 10 minutes after the 100 milers and about 5 minutes in, our group of 20-25 was just one - me. Rather than slow down or wait, I tried to catch the 100 milers. As I approached the 17 mile rest stop, they were pulling out. In another 3 miles I caught them. At the metric century turn-off, I decided I didn’t want to ride the last 38 miles alone so continued on with the 15 or so 100 milers. There were 3-4 others along with me that shared the pace-making and 4 of us were the first finishers. I felt great and shocked how well I rode, especially those last 15 miles. No cramping, nothing, again, all less than 4 months following an 8-hour procedure.

Most importantly, I can’t express enough the enormous and never-ending debt of gratitude I have for my donor Colleen and her beautiful and giving family for their sacrifice and support of her. I can’t neglect to mention a huge thank you to my wife of 33 years, Grace; to our son Andrew, 26, his wife Aaliyah, son Grayson (2), and our granddaughter Charlotte Lily-Grace (6), for the years of work they did on my behalf actively advocating and campaigning for a donor to come forward. Yes, I’m a grandpa too and thanks to the generosity of the human spirit of giving, I live to see my family another day, month, year…

We moved to SLO in February 2017 (after beautiful stints in Monterey and Long Beach), and have been loving it, mixing our family hikes with mountain biking and lots of road rides. This year, my focus is to participate in an organized century ride in CA once a month. All is good, my new kidney is working great and I love supporting Race SLO, taking the long route on the SLO Ultra MTB, volunteering for the Marathon, and participating in other regional events in the region like Eroica California and the SLO Triathlon.

In support of the donor community, please register as an organ donor on your driver’s license since there are so many others wait-listed for transplant who aren't as lucky as I was. You never know who in your family, or maybe a friend, may benefit from this enormous act of kindness. See you on two wheels!

Bruce Skidmore

Race SLO Ambassador


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REGISTRATION FOR SLO ULTRA NOW OPEN. On September 1, 2018, join us for an epic day of trail running, live music, BBQ and more! Pick your race - 50K Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon or a 5K run. Plus kids races! Racers can register HERE.

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Race SLO Community Ambassador: Victor Hurtado

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together.

Five years ago I was in the worst shape of my life. I was weighing in at 240lbs. My health was poor,  I was obese, and on the verge of becoming diabetic. My diet consisted of eating anything and everything I wanted, every single day for many years. I was tired of feeling sick, tired of being hung over in the mornings, tired of being unhealthy. One day I decided enough was enough. It was time for a change! 

I began to run as much as I could each day. Some days I could run 10 minutes, some days 15, some days less. But I didn't give up. I was determined to change. Eventually, I started running longer and faster, and started to lose a lot of weight along the way. With a combination of running and eating healthy, I lost 70-80 pounds in just short 5 months. Once I dropped to my ideal weight of 160lbs, running became easier and easier. Running has given me a second chance at being healthy and fit and for that I am very, very grateful.  

I have now ran over 40 half marathons and 8 marathons which all have been Boston Qualifying times. I wake up happy every morning and you can find me running 10-15 miles, 6 days a week, year round. You can follow my journey and passion for running on Instagram @running_victor.


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REGISTRATION FOR SLO ULTRA NOW OPEN. On September 1, 2018, join us for an epic day of trail running, live music, BBQ and more! Pick your race - 50K Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon or a 5K run. Plus kids races! Racers can register HERE.

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Race SLO Community Ambassador: Sharyl Naftal

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together.

I’ve spent most of my life in Atlanta, but after visiting San Francisco in 1992, that was it! I would make it out west someday and that was that.

Then on April 16, 2001, my world changed. I lost my mother to cancer after a long six-month battle.

I have always been a runner, but had never run more than 6 miles. My running buddies thought it would be good for me to train for a marathon. Not having run nearly that long before, but being the driven “I can do anything” person, I said yes. We trained for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. in October, 2001. I remember the race very well.

As we ran past the Pentagon, where the damage of the 9/11 attacks just happened, I was overcome with emotion. It was not only my first marathon, at a difficult time, but then passing what was left behind from what happened to our country on Sept 11, 2011 – was overwhelming. The Marines were at the finish line putting medals over our heads – I remember how I felt – but the next thought that came to my mind was OK, I’m ready for my next race!

I did four more full marathons afterwards, three in California, and too many half marathons to count. I came out to run the San Francisco half marathon over the years many times, always knowing I’d be back to live on left coast for good. I still do the SF half marathon every year.

When my daughter finished college and my son high school, it was time! We packed up and headed west. We moved to SLO without knowing one single person.

I keep up with friends and family on the other side of the country and miss them very much. But I can truly say I am a happier person being where I was meant to be. My runs have so much more meaning. When I run I can work out my thoughts, plan my days, revisit situations needing attention and just get inspired to live more productive days.

At 55, I can honestly say that running has given me the strength, energy and power to make every day count.

I think we all have something that gives us that. If you don’t, you must find it and make it part of your life. Running has always been there for me as the one constant through raising my kids, the times of celebrations and the bumps in the road of life along the way – puns intended. Now, I must go run...

Sharyl Naftal

Pismo Beach, CA

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

NEW COURSES ANNOUNCED FOR 2018 SLO ULTRA

New private access courses are set for the September 1st SLO Ultra & Dirt Festival Labor Day weekend on the California Central Coast. The third annual SLO Ultra races, produced by the Central Coast's endurance sport leader Race SLO, sponsored by the City of San Luis Obispo and benefiting SLO County Parks, offers a 50K Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon, 5K trail run and new kids race. All races will start and finish at the Dairy Creek Event Center in El Chorro Regional Park, offering exclusive access to private trails belonging to SLO County Parks, Cal Poly SLO, Miossi's La Cuesta Ranch and Camp San Luis Obispo. Trail maps can be viewed at the SLO Ultra website.

 Sneak peek from the trek to scout out a section of 2018 SLO Ultra course.

Sneak peek from the trek to scout out a section of 2018 SLO Ultra course.

All levels are welcome to run or hike these private trails made of golden hills, tree lined canyons and epic mountain top views of the Seven Sisters coastal range. The 50K course limit is 10 hours, roughly a 19:20 minute/mile pace, on 60% fire roads and 40% single track trails, with 6,200 feet elevation gain, and offering 11 aid stations plus drop bags at mile 20. The half marathon is 70% fire road and 30% single track trail with 6 aid stations and 3,500 feet of gain. The 5K trail race is all fire roads with one aid station, and the kids race is within the golf course pathway so parents can supervise or join in the fun! All participants will receive a wood and leather finishers medal, race shirt, race photos, ample course aid-medical-directional support and a first class finish line in the Race SLO Dirt Festival. Camping, BBQ, Lagunitas beer and live music is open to the public as well, making for a great way for the entire family to enjoy the holiday weekend.   

“Our Race SLO team is stoked to partner with SLO County Parks in this new venue, providing new private trails, camping and a fun holiday weekend full of healthy outdoor activities for the entire family. Together with 1,000 guest athletes from all over the state we will raise much needed funds for developing and maintaining public open space with the Land Conservancy of SLO, Team RWB and SLO County Parks Department,” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO.

The SLO Ultra will be held in conjunction with the 6th annual US Trail Running Conference, August 29-31, bringing industry leaders and professional trail runners to San Luis Obispo. Household names include founder and executive director of American Trail Running Association (ATRA) Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the Council for Responsible Sport Keith Peters, Race Directors Tia Bodington, Paul Gigliotti, Jim Harman and Aaron Saft, and professional ultra runners & coaches Emily and Ian Torrence, Krissy Moehl, Megan Janssen and Peter Maksimow, among others. Register at www.ustrailrunningconference.com.

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All day on September 1st during the SLO Ultra races, the Race SLO Dirt Festival is open to public and race participants for free, featuring vendors, live bluegrass music, athlete recovery lounge, hot BBQ, cold Lagunitas brew, non-alcoholic beverages and plenty of inspiration.

Camping is available in El Chorro Regional Park on a first-come-first-serve basis through SLO County Parks by calling (805) 781-5930 and selecting option 4. Parking will be available for $5 in the park or at Cuesta College.

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The third annual SLO Ultra benefits the Land Conservancy of SLO County, SLO County Parks, and Team Red, White and Blue.

For more information and to register, please visit SLOUltra.com.


ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the 2018 Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience, 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races, 3rd SLO Ultra trail races, US Trail Running Conference and NEW Endurance Town USA Podcast and athlete travel platform.

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Visit RaceSLO.com for more information.

 

How I Reached 180 Miles At Born To Run Four Day 2018

I’ve had a couple requests for how the Born To Run Four Days went so I’ll try to summarize as best as I can. First, I’m 50, I'm 215lbs, I undertrained, and I had a 4-day goal of 150 miles. I honestly had no idea if that was even possible but it started at 100 miles and over the weeks and months grew to 140 and then eventually to 150. I had my travel trailer with a bed, hot shower and fridge and planned to sleep at night. I broke the race into days instead of one chunk of miles that seemed overwhelming. I work best when I simplify things to the basics and deal with them that way. I decided to look at this race as simply an ultra a day for 4 days.

I rolled on to the ranch on Tuesday evening and was immediately greeted by PJ and then Luis, the Race Director (also a long time acquaintance and friend). Next thing I knew I was in the back of a CJ5 hanging pink ribbons in trees along the course. It was a good sneak peek for a couple of the hills I’d come to hate over the next 4 days. We got back to camp and about 10 of us went into town for burritos and chips. I only knew Luis and PJ but quickly learned that the other guys were certified Ultra badasses. The stories quickly became about crewing and pacing Scott Jurek on his quest for the record on the Appalachian Trail and it turned out most of the guys at the table were integral parts of the journey. It was amazing and inspiring and I knew I was totally out of my class here.

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As Wednesday rolled around about 32 of us headed to the start area where Luis explained the course and loop system; pink, then yellow, then pink, then yellow. Blue is bad. Basically take a pink 10 mile loop and then turn around and take the yellow 10 mile loop and if you are somewhere that you’re looking at blue, you’re off course. Simple enough. We recited the pledge that went something like, “if I get lost, hurt or die it’s my own damn fault” and off we went at noon(ish). Pink loop was pretty flat(ish), smooth road and trails, not too bad at all. I met Kara on that first loop and she explained that she was looking at each day as a “work day” and that her miles were her job and when she was done she was off work. I loved that thought process and immediately adopted it. Thanks, Kara! I got lost on my very first loop (wouldn’t be the last time) but adjusted and got it done. Then came the yellow loop. There was over 1400’ of vertical gain on that loop and chunks of the downhill weren’t runable, well at least not until your quads are blown out and you can’t stop yourself! I completed one more pink loop and called it a day. Wednesday was just a 50k day. Miles: 30

I showered, ate and got plenty of sleep that night. PJ was great about checking in, offering any help he could and basically being a great support person even though he was there to run his own 60 mile race.

Thursday morning I planned to do 40 miles so I was up and going around 6am. I had to start on the yellow loop. My hate for yellow had already started to grow. I was tight and had a couple blisters that I popped the night before but were still uncomfortable. I finished that loop and felt pretty good going to pink. After my 4th loop of the day I felt good and was ahead of schedule so I struck out for one more loop making 50 miles for the day. I figured that was just miles in the bank in case the wheels fell off later in the week. Slaby had arrived by then and was great moral support. He kept me motivated and moving and was a great help (I’m sure he doesn’t realize how much of a help he was to me). Shower, food, bed. Miles: 80

By Friday morning I realized I was going to be battling blisters for the rest of the race. I run in Hoka One One Speedgoats and rarely get blisters so this was pretty new to me. I had popped another 5 on Thursday night and covered them with bandages and moleskin. It was uncomfortable to walk on them but got better as the day went on. Nothing specific stands out about Friday other than Monica and David arriving, more support and motivation. My crew also arrived that night in the form of Taylor and Julie. It felt great having Julie there and I knew Taylor could identify and fix any funk I found myself in. I had planned on doing another 40 miles Friday but again finished earlier than I thought I would and decided to add another lap. Thanks to the WTM crew there for the encouragement and prodding to get back out. By now my goal seemed very attainable and I was considering resetting it to 170 miles. I got another good night sleep Friday night. Miles 130

I woke up Saturday to shotgun blasts and mariachi! Seriously, I love this shit. Up to 6pm Friday the 32ish of us had the course to ourselves. About 75 runners were added Friday evening at 6pm, the 100 mile badasses which included Jeff who crushed that race. Saturday morning the remaining 400 or so runners took off for distances of 10, 30, 60 miles. While the pack headed out on the pink loop, I headed out for a 4 loop day. There were some interruptions to the run on Saturday including stopping for the 12pm 0.0k race that I had also entered with Taylor and Julie. Yep, we paid to NOT run. Essentially you gather at the start area, recite the same pledge and at the blast of the shotgun, just walk away like nothing ever happened. When that was over I headed back out for a lap. I had agreed to do a quick auction for Luis and a charity that he loves. They help homeless get on their feet and get them running which boosts self esteem and productivity. The way my legs and feet felt at the time made me wonder why a charity would punish homeless people by making them run, but we sold a few items, made a couple thousand for the charity and I stood on the stage until two wonderful volunteers helped me down! Off for another loop.

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I did have one pretty dark loop. I believe it was loop 16 so I had completed 150+ miles by then. I was hiking up a canyon on the yellow loop and could hear a woman screaming for 15 minutes or so. There was nobody around me though. Later that lap I heard a motorcycle and while there was one at camp, it wasn’t out on the trail either. I shook both of those off but when I crested a hill I saw a mound in the trail with dozens of jet black scorpions crawling out of it. Yep, they weren’t actually there either. By the end of that lap I’d developed tunnel vision pretty bad and by the time I shuffled past camp, I was really just staring at the ground in front of me because that’s all I could see. I got some food, talked to everyone and eventually felt good enough to go finish one more lap that night. Miles: 170

I have to admit, when I woke up Sunday morning I really didn’t want to do another loop. I reasoned to myself that I was already 20 miles over my goal and that was good enough. I had to work that evening and still needed to pack up and get cleaned up and that running wasn’t a good idea. Taylor and Julie were still asleep and I was warm and comfortable. The problem was I kept hearing Slaby telling me to get my ass back out and get some miles. It didn’t take long to realize I’d regret not doing it all year so I got up, put shoes on my blistered and swollen feet (I was a full shoe size larger than the day I started) and headed out the door for one final loop.

The course was pretty quiet again with just a few of us 4 day’ers and the last of the 100 milers finishing out their race. It was a long slow lap but I got it done and when I got to the last stretch Julie and Taylor were there to run (ok, shuffle) it in to the finish. I got to the timing tent, rang the bell and watched my name pop up on the TV monitor: John Glines, 180 miles. I thought briefly about trying one more lap but that thought didn’t last long. I received my 100 mile buckle (my first but not my last), my traditional finish line hug from Taylor, and headed for the truck.

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There was one more unexpected adventure during this race. On Saturday, Taylor sketched out a petroglyphic drawing on her iPad of a Hawaiian running man with mountains in the background that she’d seen on a cup I bought there from Tracy at Marvelous Mud. She added her own touch with a cactus (girl LOVES cactus) and asked what I thought of it for a tattoo. I loved that she drew it freehand and told her to talk to the tattoo people across the road in camp (yep, professional tattoo shop right there on site). I headed out for a loop thinking about it and deciding if I wanted a tattoo that night! Backing up a little, the entire race I had really strong feelings that my Mom was watching me from above. I even spent some time on course talking to her – out loud. I don’t usually have that feeling during races but it was really strong this time and for all four days. Mom loved Seagulls, in fact her wedding band was custom made with a seagull on it. It hit me that lap that I needed to add a seagull to Taylor’s design.

When I finished the lap Taylor said the artist was going to be expecting me at 7pm. I passed their trailer and saw that Taylor had sketched out the tattoo and it was hanging there with her name on it. I showered, ate and headed over with Taylor to get the work done. I was a little concerned how it would feel since my calves were rock hard and already pretty sore. Kim assured me it would feel like a massage. Kim is a liar. It was a very simple design with no color or real shading and only took about 20 minutes to apply to my right calf but I suggest not getting a tattoo on top of super tight muscles! I love the finished work and it’s extra special to me because Taylor sketched it and added the personal touch of the cactus and seagull above.

I went to see Clay at Empower Massage Therapy on Monday and realized immediately it was the best thing I could have done. He worked out some knots I didn’t even know where there and I left feeling much better. It took almost a week for the swelling and blisters in my feet to go down enough to put shoes on. My head is still foggy, sleep is odd and I go from starving to stuffed in about three bites. Again, I love this shit.

My hat is off to those that completed the 100 mile course including Jeff who finished 14th overall and Joanie who earned her first 100 mile buckle after fighting through demons after her 7th lap. PJ killed it in the 60 mile and looked like he hadn’t run at all by a couple hours after his finish. I may have gone more miles but I know they worked harder than I had to because they pushed straight through to get their races in.

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There are a lot of people to thank for helping me get this done, starting with all of the volunteers. Those aid stations were incredible and The OASIS aid station for 4 day and 200 milers was like nothing I’d ever seen. Manley and Mara were amazing! Everyone on course offering encouragement and laughs, the people I met and spent minutes or hours running/walking with. Taylor and Julie and all our WTM crew. And of course, Luis Escobar for putting on such a weird/wonderful event. Thank you to everyone!

Will I be back next May? Damn right I will and with a 200 mile goal. In the meantime, I’m planning to run the SLO Ultra Marathon on Sept. 1 with some great friends! David Bird, Sean Anderson, Erik Beckmen, Kristie Clay and Ian Marshall Nevarez will be there. If you’re looking for a fun trail race take a look at that one at www.sloultra.com. Distances range from 5 miles to 50K and I have a code for a little discount as a RaceSLO Ambassador (RSA2018GLINES).

I’m also headed Back to the Ranch the first weekend in October for Luis' newest race. It’s a timed event ranging from 6hrs to 48 hrs. on a mile(ish) loop. Check out www.allwedoisrun.com for details and sign up info (I may even have a discount for that one as it gets closer).

For anyone that read this far, thank you! I don’t mean this to be a brag page by any stretch, rather I hope it’s taken as a statement that if I can do this, anyone can do it. Don’t look at a distance and feel overwhelmed, break it down to segments and do it a bite at a time. I’m a proof you don’t have to be fast, you just have to keep moving forward. Even when your body thinks it’s done and has nothing left, your brain can override that. When we stop listening to our body telling us when we are done and start listening to our head we can go incredible distances. Oh yeah, also learn the difference between “Hurt” pain and “Injured” pain. Keep moving through Hurt, that pain ends eventually.

We can do anything because everything ends”. Taken from Scott Jurek’s first book and so appropriate for an Ultra Marathon.

You finish somewhere out on the course and then you make it back to the finish line.” Sean Corvelle

by John Glines (photos courtesy of John Glines)


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REGISTRATION FOR SLO ULTRA NOW OPEN. On September 1, 2018, join us for an epic day of trail running, live music, BBQ and more! Pick your race - 50K Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon or a 5K run. Plus kids races! Racers can register HERE.

Race SLO Community Ambassador: Charles Intrieri

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together.

The Trail

There is a long trail from my home in San Luis Obispo, CA, near Broad and Orcutt Avenues, to the train station and beyond.

I tried to walk it once but only made it partway. My son has done it many times and I asked him how far I went when I told him where I stopped this time. He said, ”Approximately one-fourth of the way.”

On TV, I watched a 90-year-old run a long race to the finish line. I thought if he could do it so can I, at 74 years old. I tried the trail again. I passed the spot I stopped at the last try. I kept going. I saw the picture of the 90-year-old man in my mind. I kept moving forward at a faster pace. I saw places I had never imagined on the trail, never thinking about the distance I had gone. I saw two guys playing Frisbee. I saw people on bikes and running on the trail. I kept going. I saw houses and neighborhoods.

Next I saw a wrought iron fence. I saw shacks and train parts. Could I be getting closer? Next, I saw the steps to somewhere. As I got closer they were the steps to cross over the trains and train tracks. I went over the bridge. I saw the locomotives. I took the stairs down. I saw a statue of two men setting train rails many years ago. I made it!

Don’t ever give up! The trip back was easy. I thought of Rocky and Rocky’s theme music played in my head. I wanted to stop and dance and put my arms in the air. I didn’t!

Charles Intrieri

San Luis Obispo, CA


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REGISTRATION FOR SLO ULTRA NOW OPEN. On September 1, 2018, join us for an epic day of trail running, live music, BBQ and more! Pick your race - 50K Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon or a 5K run. Plus kids races! Racers can register HERE.

 

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Choose Adventure

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May 8 thru 14th was a grand adventure! Just what the doctor ordered. A spirit refill of wild leaps down the path of my New Year's resolution to “choose adventure.” This quest to fill my adventure deficit actually started in December when I wrote down “choose adventure” as one of my five New Year's resolutions. Once in ink and consciously committed to taking on more adventures this year, my mind shifted open to begin seeking out opportunities. I was on the prowl for things that would flex my adventurous muscles that had sadly atrophied over prior year.

Not only with my fitness training and racing, but in my work life as well, I wanted to seek this adventure shift. Intentionally then, one of the business people I reached out to was a fellow female adventure race director, unknown to me but deeply respected, Maria Burton of Primal Quest. In fact, I regularly connect to other women endurance sport race directors and over a year ago founded WCRED - the Women’s Collaboration of Race & Event Directors. We share best practices as well as friendship in a very male centered industry. I had heard Maria’s story on a podcast and chased her down to simply give her kudos on bringing back such an iconic world class race, as well as invite her to join the WCRED sisterhood.

Maria and I became fast friends. We are like minded, powered by the sun, adventure seeking women of leadership using endurance sports to change lives. Surprisingly we also happen to be the same exact age and share the love of both coffee and daily mega doses of humor.

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Fast forward - just a week after our SLO Marathon & Half race production - to 8am on May 8th and find me in my car driving 4 hours to Northern California. There I jump on a plane with my 40lb duffel on my back full of outdoor adventure gear and food. Maria is waiting for me in Vancouver where we will meet face to face for the first time, after months of calls and emails. She bravely has hired me to join her Primal Quest Expedition Adventure Race production team and our week ahead together is jam packed with team meetings, scouting and logistical planning in British Columbia. Right up the adventure alley!

At 2pm that day I board the Delta Airlines plane to Seattle. At 5pm I attempt to board my next flight to Vancouver - only to find my passport has gone missing. #WTF! I’m on the floor with my backpack contents strewn all over like a 5-year-old kid with their LEGOs. The Delta rep talks me off the ledge as I see my plane pull out of the gate without me. Four more-than-gracious Delta reps, six phone calls, and two hours later I am back on a plane but instead headed backwards to San Jose to retrace my steps. Sure enough I hug the TSA employee as she hands me back my identity that had apparently just been sitting on the put-back-on-your-shoes bench all morning. I guess no one wanted to be me for the day?

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Now 9:45pm, I go back to the Delta counter where Hung greets me with a huge smile. They close in 15 minutes! He has to locate, then bring me my bag, get approval from his manager to NOT charge me for a completely new ticket, rebook me on the next flight out in the morning and most importantly not make me feel like an idiot. He and his Delta teammates do all that and more. Of course I invited them all to @raceslo where they will be our guests and run the SLO Ultra this September! #customerservicerewards

At 11:15pm, exhausted and lugging my beastly duffel around, I board the airport shuttle back to my car (aka 4-wheel hotel for the night) and set my alarm for 4:30am. Wild hair pajama party look, I catch my 6am do-over flight up to Canada. San Jose, Seattle to Vancouver with golden passport in hand. Across the finish line of leg one after 4 planes, 4 car-shuttle rides, half a dozen new friends made and 28 adventurous hours later, I am face to face with #LadyBoss Maria. I hit transition smiling and changed up for the second part of the expedition.

The next six epic days we were on our own private adventure race, both working and laughing our asses off. Covering hundreds of miles by car, boat, foot, rope and bikes. Logging countless hours on the laptop, phone and in strategy meetings with our Primal Quest production team mates. Consuming massive amounts of caffeine and snacks. With ‘No time to explain.....get in the van!’ Then on the 7th day together we sat in peaceful satisfaction, hot coffees in hand and hit the record button. Finally, our chance to share Maria’s personal story on our new Endurance Town USA podcast, the Faces Behind the Races miniseries. This @raceslo podcast passion project finally allows me to truthfully tell the beautiful stories of my fellow race directors around the globe. Humans who I have not only come to respect but deeply cherish. Not unlike my prior ETUSA podcast interviews, we spend the next 75 minutes peeling back the layers and exploring her WHY behind living the race director's path. It was the perfect final leg of our week long race together. We laugh, we cry and we dig deep into the earth of truth.

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I type this now as I’m being hurled back home through space, peering down on the clouds and North American landscape below. Me towards California and Maria on her ride over Canada. Oddly enough I am not tired nor overwhelmed from the months worth of information, experience and work we distilled into a week. I am instead only wiser, stronger and hungrier for more adventure. I close my eyes and welcome day dreams full of more human connections and adventures ahead. Knowing that like everything else in life, it all begins with one conscious choice.

#ChooseAdventure
Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO

Race SLO Community Ambassador: Ashley McComb

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together.

How running set me free: the magic in the misery. 

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.” —George Sheehan

My heart beats fast,

Each step a gong ringing in an ivory temple.

One by one, my strides lift my body into moments of weightlessness. The in-between that feels more elongated as the miles accumulate: timelessness. 

I run to feel alive, 

I run to escape the pain of living fully,

I run to feel as the birds do in flight above raging seas or an ocean made of glass pink sunsets. 

The feeling is indescribable: my pulse in rhythm with my breath, and blood infusing with oxygen like the roots of a tree in a spiraling interwoven masterpiece. 

These are the moments I feel the untamed freedom of aloneness. 

Nothing between me and the fire of my thoughts: or the gentle wind of my run-dream hallucinations. 

The world is at my fingertips, 

I am strong and fiercely unstoppable.

My running body knows no end, nor does it even remember a beginning. Present fully in the here and now, and this is the only subtle glimpse of this very moment I will ever experience. 

Rewind to the beginning: running changed my life. 

I started running what I thought was only a few miles with my dearest and most cherished friend. She was the greatest four-legged companion who loved more unconditionally than any being I have ever encountered. She and I would explore the seemingly endless beige battered trails — freedom, both of us unleashed: our tiny frames felt limitless. I was young, and feeling broken, but these moments running wild on the trails of Santiago canyon set my heart on fire. 

Later I found that our beloved daily run on the streets of Mission Viejo was far more than just a few miles. My darling husky-mut and I were running nine-miles in just under an hour and a half, thinking I was traveling at snails pace for a three-mile jaunt. When the veil of the distance unraveled from my eyes, I did not realize that from that moment on, my life had completely changed: I would run forever and running would save me. 

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Needless to say, it did. I ran and ran. Months and years accumulated, and I ran nearly every day religiously. Not because I had to, because it was my only taste of freedom and over-flowing white light: I had something to look forward to, even when the moments of stress and darkness enveloped me. On those rare occasions of needing to skip a run, my body longs for its daily kiss with freedom. 

Some days I run a mile or two, other days 30 or more. In the misery of the moments beholding 10 miles times three, four, or five, my body becomes one with my soul. Or perhaps it is better to say that my soul seems to transcend my body. 

There is magic in the misery: carbon consciousness holds no power over the transcendental runners-high. I run with a hunger to feel more alive, and those moments in steady stride remind me how precious life is. What a wild and rare gift it is to even exist.

Ashley McComb

Yosemite National Park


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REGISTRATION FOR SLO ULTRA NOW OPEN. On September 1, 2018, join us for an epic day of trail running, live music, BBQ and more! Pick your race - 50K Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon or a 5K run. Plus kids races! Racers can register HERE.

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

SUNDOG RUNNING OFFICIAL COACHING PARTNERS OF THE 2018 SLO ULTRA

Emily Harrison Torrence and Ian Torrence, professional ultra runners, Stagecoach Line 100 Race Directors and Sundog Running coaching founders, are partnering with Race SLO to offer personal coaching and training plans for all levels preparing to race the September 1st SLO Ultra race.

Emily entered her first ultramarathon in 2012 and placed second in the prestigious JFK 50 Mile. She holds the second fastest North American Road 50K time of 3:15, and won a 50K World Championship in Qatar. Ian finished more than 200 ultras, 27 of which were 100-mile races. In all, Ian has won 53 ultramarathons.

“At Sundog Running, we believe in the training fitting the athlete, not the other way around, which is why every plan is customized for each individual,” said Emily Torrence. “Personal coaching is a hands on approach to training with weekly or unlimited communication between coach and athlete. Training plans are more hands off. We build your plan in its entirety and send you on your way. We are thrilled to head to San Luis Obispo this fall and take part in the event and US Trail Running Conference.”

Moving to a new location at El Chorro Regional Park & Dairy Creek Event Center, the third annual SLO Ultra Trail event, scheduled for Saturday September 1, offers a 50K Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon and a 5K run. A new kids race will also take place within Dairy Creek Golf Course.

 Photo by Luis Escobar

Photo by Luis Escobar

“Emily has been my own personal ultra running coach for years. Her and Ian are top notch so Race SLO is stoked to have them join our team of Ambassadors and Coaches for our athlete customers. They can help any level athlete achieve solid results and having them here at the race and conference in person proves the next level of their commitment to Race SLO and our athletes’ success.” said Samantha Pruitt  

All levels are welcome to run or hike private trails that connect El Chorro Regional Park, Cal Poly SLO, the Miossi Ranch and Camp SLO. At the life changing finish line, participants and spectators will enjoy live music, athlete recovery lounge, hot BBQ and cold Lagunitas brew. The festival is open to the public and free, parking is $5 in the park or at Cuesta College. Camping is also available through SLO County Parks at El Chorro Regional Park on a first-come-first-serve basis by calling (805) 781-5930 and selecting Option 4.

The 3rd annual SLO Ultra benefits the Land Conservancy of SLO County, Team Red, White and Blue and the SLO County Parks Department.

The SLO Ultra will be held in conjunction with the sixth annual US Trail Running Conference, sponsored by the City of San Luis Obispo and Race Roster on August 29-31. The first two days of the conference focus on industry professionals, with a full expo featuring education and brands specifically for race directors. On Friday, August 31, the content is dedicated to trail runners and coaches by offering clinics with professional athletes, including Emily and Ian Torrence, Krissy Moehl and more.

For more information and to register, please visit sloultra.com.

 

ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Visit RaceSLO.com for more information.


 

2018 SLO Half Marathon with Race SLO Ambassador John Luoma

Our Race SLO ambassadors share their stories about motivation, determination, endurance and growth to inspire us and remind us that we are on this journey together. (Psst - in this post also included a link to early bird registration for 2019 SLO Marathon, Half Marathon, Relays & 5K! Offer ends on May 6 and you don't want to miss it.)

    Race SLO Community Ambassador John Luoma

   Race SLO Community Ambassador John Luoma

This year as I prepared to return to run the SLO Half Marathon for the third time, I reflected a bit on competition. We often think of competition as being adversarial, to compete against one another. A few years ago, a mentor of mine shared the origins of the word ‘compete’ with me and it really stuck with me. It comes from the latin competere’ which means ‘to strive together.’ There is something compelling and empowering about this kind of competition, and I have experienced it most clearly through races. My preparation and participation in the SLO Half Marathon this year were a clear picture of this ‘striving together.’

I hadn’t run consistently since my last half marathon in 2015, and when I became a Race SLO ambassador, it was part of a resolve to reestablish the healthy habits and routines required to train for the race. My goal was to PR, which meant beating my time from the last time I ran the SLO half marathon in 2013. As a grad student with an infant son at home, the road back to race shape was a steep one, which required sacrifice not just from me but from my wife. She very much partnered with me in my training, carving out time and space for my long runs, encouraging me to eat healthy and stay the course.

On race weekend, old friends came alongside me to ‘strive together’ towards my goal. My upstairs neighbor in San Francisco gave me a slick new haircut (look good, feel good, do good.) A former pastor of ours from Calvary SLO allowed us to stay at their AirBNB unit in Grover Beach. Some good friends cooked us a great pre-race meal, allowed me to borrow their car to get to the starting line in time and sent me along with a sandwich and bar for my early morning nutrition. My wife showed up to cheer me along on the course. My good friend (who helped train the Grizzly Academy team) shouted encouragements when we ran past each other. The pacers I ran most of the race with helped coach those of us in the pace group through the hills and wind, helping us reach our best effort. And I had the honor of striving together with all the other runners participating in the race that day. The good vibes were downright tangible.

 Photo credit Luis Escobar

Photo credit Luis Escobar

The result? I ran with the pace group that would have seen me beat my previous time by almost two minutes. At around 11 miles, I realized I had started out too fast and had no gas left in the tank. The pacers encouraged me to power through it, and helped me hang on with the pace group for another half mile or so before I dropped back a little bit. I ran the last mile and a half at a much slower pace, still pushing as hard as I could. I got a fresh burst for the homestretch and bolted across the finish line, content just to finish. Then I realized that I had still beat my previous time…by a matter of six and a half seconds. With a margin so slim, I am confident that I wouldn’t have beat my time without the support of each of the friends and family I mentioned above (and more I failed to mention). I mean we’re talking about less than a half second per mile pace differential. The thing I love about this vision of competition is that it has more to do with community than contention. And we’re better for it.

I’m already looking forward to next year. Will you sign up for 2019 and strive together with me?


EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION for the 8th Annual SLO Marathon + Half + Relay Races is now open. Racers can register HERE. Early bird pricing runs through May 6, with half marathon as little as $55 and full marathon $75. 5K and relay races registration is also available.

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

MORE THAN 3,500 PARTICIPATE IN 7th ANNUAL SLO MARATHON, HALF & RELAY RACE WEEKEND

The 7th annual SLO Marathon + Half & Relays presented by Pacific Premier Bank, and Race SLO 5K and Kids races presented by Idler's Home, attracted over 3,500 runners from 38 states and 7 countries. Starting and finishing at the landmark Madonna Inn Meadows, racers were cheered by 1,000 local volunteers and staff. Spectators and supporters were entertained by live music, vendors and exhibitors, free family yoga by lululemon, activities for children, hot BBQ, cold Lagunitas brew and more. The event benefited Jack’s Helping Hand, Grizzly Youth Academy and Team Red, White and Blue.

Phillip Reid of San Luis Obispo was the first man to cross the half marathon finish line, setting a new course record of 1:07:29. Kara Thorne of Grover Beach was the first woman to finish the half marathon with a time of 1:22:30.

Phillip Reid of San Luis Obispo

Kara Thorne of Grover Beach

In the full marathon, Landon Woollard of San Luis Obispo placed first with a time of 2:40:40, and Lindsey Arrillaga of San Luis Obispo was the winner among the women with a time of 3:13:54.

Landon Woollard of San Luis Obispo

Lindsey Arrillaga of San Luis Obispo

Robyn Schmidt of Atascadero was the first woman inducted into the annual SLO Marathon Hall of Fame. Race SLO also honored the 70 legacy runners who have participated in SLO Marathon + Half event each year since its inception with a special gift bag.

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“Our Race SLO team and the City of San Luis Obispo was thrilled to host another first class event, once again putting our beloved town on the map nationally as an endurance sports playground. We launched our new Endurance Town USA podcast this weekend, and together with 48 hours of activities for all truly blew the roof off this year’s event,” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder and CEO.



Early bird registration for the 8th Annual SLO Marathon + Half + Relay Races is now open. Racers can register HERE. Early bird pricing runs through May 6, with half marathon as little as $55 and full marathon $75. 5K and relay races registration is also available.

Fast Facts:

  • Entrants: 3,500-plus overall (500 Marathon, 2,300 plus Half-Marathon, 130-plus relay competitors and 700 5K and kids races)
  • 1,000 local volunteers and staff
  • 30 event sponsors
  • 7 countries (including the U.S.) and 38 states represented
  • 3 event beneficiaries – Jack's Helping Hand, Grizzly Youth Academy, Team Red, White & Blue
  • 1 Inductee into the SLO Marathon Hall of Fame – Robyn Schmidt
  • 60.3% Female, 39.7% Male
  • Average age 36.5
  • Oldest participant: Giovanna Schaefer, 83, Grover Beach, CA

ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO endurance event portfolio includes the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races (Spring 2018), 3rd SLO Ultra trail races (late Summer 2018) and the recently added US Trail Running Conference (late Summer 2018).

The Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive running events year-round to create human connection through fitness and raise funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

SAN LUIS OBISPO MARATHON, HALF MARATHON & RELAY RACE ROAD CLOSURES NEXT SUNDAY

Numerous road closures are scheduled for Sunday, April 29, as 3,000 people achieve 26.2 or 13.1 miles on foot in the San Luis Obispo Marathon, Half Marathon & Relays, presented by Pacific Premier Bank. The seventh annual race starts at 7 a.m. on Sunday at Madonna Inn, taking runners and walkers on a course through downtown San Luis Obispo and into Edna Valley.

Several streets will be closed to thru traffic from 3:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday to ensure athletes’ safety. Most road closures around downtown start about 4 a.m., with many reopening again to traffic by 8:30-9:30 a.m. Exceptions include Islay, High and Archer Streets: Portions of those streets will be closed from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Marsh Street on- and off-ramps at Highway 101 will be closed from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“No parking” signs will be posted on the course, and vehicles will be towed if left inside the road closure. California Highway Patrol officers, San Luis Obispo Police Department officers, Professional Traffic Control Personnel and safety course marshals will be at affected intersections to ensure safety and provide motorists information. Please use caution and slow speeds while driving in and around the course. For a full schedule of road closures, visi ww.slomarathon.com/the-races/road-closure.

The SLO Marathon, Half Marathon, Relays Sunday & 5K and Kids races Saturday are organized by a professional team and 1,000 volunteers. The Race SLO Festival at Madonna Inn, April 28 and 29, is free to the community and includes live music, yoga, vendors and food. Annually, Race SLO endurance sporting events deliver more than a $4 million countywide economic impact with thousands of athletes coming from all over the USA. In their ten years as a local business, Race SLO has additionally raised and donated funds of over half a million dollars to non-profit programs that foster health and fitness.

“e are dedicated to providing our athletes the most memorable SLO experience at our events. Equally, we are passionate about giving back to our community because we know it takes the whole community to produce this event and we want our town healthy!” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder and CEO.

Beneficiaries of 2018 SLO Marathon includ ack's Helping Han, providing assistance and programs to children with cancer and special needs; izzly Youth Academ, intervening in the lives of 16-18 year old dropouts, producing program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens; an eam Red, White and Blu, enriching the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.