What I remember most thinking back is bumping into you and Jim Morrison at an O.U.S Ultra Race. Before long you asked me to run with the Ultimate Warriors and I was thrilled! Living out of town, I know I only made it out a few times to your Sunday runs but those experiences provided me with a wealth of inspiration and education. Talking to you, Jim and the other runners, was a textbook of information on the move for me. There’s nothing like talking to someone who’s done it …you and the other Warriors provided that crucial wisdom for “oldies and newbies” alike! You made everyone feel so welcome; I just wished I lived closer, because I know I would be there every week. I play a ton of tennis…but I’ve still yet to find anybody more friendly and engaging than ultra runners! By the way your group has grown over the years, others also feel this same, friendly vibe from both you and Iris …congrats to you for making everyone feel so at home on those runs.
I could instantly feel the “ultra connection” on those Sunday morning runs with you guys. You know how it is; the world’s full of naysayer’s and mudslingers when it comes to ultra running. To step into a group like that where running big mileage was the norm, was incredible. You didn’t have to explain yourself, why you wanted to run a 100 miler…or Death Valley for that matter! Everyone there was thrilled that “you got the ultra thing too”, and off we went.
I recall also that both my parents were very ill at the time …you and Jim were great. I believe one of Jim’s parents was very ill at that time too (probably around 2006 I think). To know that he was able to fortify himself through ultra running, toughing out the rough times like I was, was a huge help to me as I ran my solo ultra training runs on Sunday mornings along the parkway. I knew you guys were doing it 100 miles away and I always thought of that when I ran. So while you may not have known it then, you, Jim and the other Warriors helped me out in that regard, from that point onward. I’m still greatly inspired by your updates and all the accomplishments of you and the others…thanks so much for continuing to send them and for keeping me on the list! I’ve been fortunate enough to have done quite a few ultras, and you and the Warriors are to thank in promoting my love for ultra running.
And what can I say about you Jeff? I’ll never forget it …we were running the Vulture Bait 50K. You told me about how you had broken your neck years earlier playing hockey. You worked through the pain, got yourself better and there you were…running ultras! In fact, running them extremely well too! That blew me away…here’s a guy who could have given up, babied himself and not run one step but you didn’t. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you at times to get to that point. You helped me immeasurably when I felt (feel) lazy about going for a run. I think of how you did it no matter what, with the challenges you had with your neck. That makes it so easy for me to get off my butt and get out there. That’s another way you’ve helped me beyond belief, as far as motivation and inspiration. Sunday mornings, I know what you’re up to …that still keeps me motivated and out on the roads & trails.
Most importantly, all your work with the Warriors and everyone associated with them is appreciated in more ways than you’ll ever know. You’ve inspired and helped so many people over the years; I’ve been told that over and over! Everyone knows “Cooper’s The Guy" and everyone has a story about the Warriors! Your tireless commitment to them and your unique way of motivating and making everything fun, continues to enrich everyone you come in contact with. Not only for helping people achieve their goals, but also for having running be a vehicle to enjoy and rise to the challenges in life that can only be experienced if you’re an ultra runner.
I marvel at the passion you and Iris have for the sport and obviously for each other in the process… I couldn’t be happier for you both to be enjoying ultra running and all its benefits as a couple. That’s really fantastic on all fronts!
Thank you again for everything Jeff. I will be back one of these days, and I can’t wait till that happens! All the best, Frank R