Dr Horton,

Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family as well. My Hellgate experience was everything I expected and oh so much more. I am new to this running thing this year so I have limited experience from which to compare. I can honestly say I have never met a volunteer that wasn’t helpful and cheerful: the fact that yours did it in the frosty night and all day was exceptional. The coffee at Headforemost was absolutely necessary, I was literally asleep on my feet for an hour or so before getting there and it took some serious internal debate to not crawl into your van for a powernap. You know how that would have probably turned out… Thanks to all who volunteered from the bottom of my  toes. The course was as tough as I imagined, you folks have some hills down there for sure. I ran well up to Bear Wallow Gap where I made the mistake of sitting down on the ground to change shoes and socks. The result was a large and tenacious cramp behind my right knee. Lesson learned….anyway, I was ok on time, so I ran what I could, walked what I must and made it in well before dark.  These runs can put us in some tough patches, mental and physical. I believe your “family” of runners and volunteers you assembled at Hellgate are collectively the most supportive and encouraging imaginable. My night and day would have been much more difficult without this atmosphere, truly special and rewarding.

Good luck with your knee surgery, although I am certain you will be just fine, strong bodies and positive souls have an advantage…

Thank you and Happy New Year,

Jeff Best