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


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 - 50-mile ultra race, Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Marathon State Trail Championship, cross country half marathon or a 5K run. 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.