Hellgate – December 13, 2008

By:  Rick Gray

 Friday night, Sophie was asking those present at her table what one word describes Hellgate to them.  Her’s was “Fearless” and Horton’s was “Special”.  I was not present at her table, so I was hearing the conversation for the first time during Saturday’s early morning running hours.   

I was quite during those hours as I was pushing to stay with Sophie and her merry group.  During the hours that followed, Dan Lehman and I stayed together, but I kept thinking about what Sophie had asked.  I kept coming back to a book titled “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.  This book discusses different management styles, but I believe that it has relevance to Hellgate also. 

Jim Collin’s book describes a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” as being the center of three entwined circles.  The three circles are made up of the following concepts: 

*What you are deeply passionate about

*What you can be the best in the world at

*What drives your economic engine 

Hellgate brings to the table all of these things in each one of us.  We are deeply passionate about trail running.  Hellgate hands out to each one of us, one of the toughest and most challenging courses and conditions present.  This challenge then drives our engine through body, mind and spirit to strive and do our best.   

In Webster’s Dictionary, it describes audacious as being intrepidly daring.  Intrepidly is then further described as being characterized by resolute fearlessness, fortitude and endurance.   

David Horton has given us the opportunity to experience something very SPECIAL.  In order to grasp and experience that specialness, you must be FEARLESS!  You must be ready to make and grasp that BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL! 

This was not my year for a stellar performance, but there will be others.  For the fourth year in a row, I have been able to experience and complete Horton’s Special race.  I am already looking forward to receiving my five year finisher’s award.  When I receive that award, I know that I will have earned it.  Horton gives nothing away, but he thrives on us doing our best.  Thank you David! 

To the volunteers, I thank you for being so passionate and willing to help a bunch of trail runners.  To be up all day, all night and all day again is such a sacrifice and then to do it in some lost world called “Hellgate”, I can’t thank you enough.   

To Sophie and Dan, I want to personally thank you both for your assistance.  To Sophie who was hoping to pull me along to a new PR and to Dan, who stayed with me long after he should have left to see me to the finish, I thank you from the depths of my heart. 

Not only have I run this race four times, but Tammy has been my “Head Handler” each and every time.  Not everyone knows me, but everyone knows Tammy.  She acknowledges my “Hootie Hoos” as I come into an aid station.  She picks up and hauls for other runners.  She encourages us all on.  To Tammy, I give you my final thank you for being my “Head Handler”.  I LOVE YOU!  Rick