Mosi Smith

Dr. Horton,

 The lessons of Hellgate left an indelible imprint on me more emotionally than physically.  I wanted to write you, while everything is "fresh," and thank you for welcoming me into the HG family.  I felt honored to be given the opportunity knowing the caliber of the individuals associated with the event.

 I'm still a newbie and thirsty.  I emphasize newbie because I came to this race with the attitude that I could simply "gut it out" and finish it like most events.  Somewhere on that initial climb (Camping Gap?), reality set in and I realized that simply racing frequently in itself is not enough.   The fact was never more prudent than that point where I observed the silhouette of the mountain against the twilight sky and points of headlamps resembling airplanes ready for departure.  Somewhere around that point, I "went internal."  (One of the many -isms in the Marine Corps.  It has a negative connotation and refers to closing off all responses to outside stimuli and focusing solely on self-preservation.)  It didn't have to be dark to notice the usual smile was wiped away.  I was suffering and I just wanted to give up the ghost and quit.

 But I realized, like with every other ultra, others are going through the same internal conflicts.  Furthermore, this experience left me with a new friendships forged through shared adversity.  I will go ahead and cut this short as the alarm clock will sound early.  But thank you...thank you for putting on such an close-knit, special event.  I can honestly say that I did not enjoy it DURING the run.  On backside, I can say that I am truly stronger for the experience.  I've got some big goals in mind and this experience has helped to establish the foundation.

 I hope this note finds you and yours well and I wish you the best of luck recovering from knee surgery this week.  But then again, you're a gentlemen from a harder era-you'll be back up later that evening eyeing up the next adventure.  Relax good sir and enjoy the holidays with loved ones.  Take care and God bless.

 Semper Fi,

Mos