I've been asked a few times, "why would you want to return to McNaughton Park a 3rd time?!" I'll be honest, my hope for this year was to run The Barkley Marathons in Tennessee. But ever since last years adventure, McNaughton has been in my head. Why did I quit last year? I could have continued on. There were a few factors into why I stopped last year, all of which are no match to the guilt and disappointment I've felt ever since. I spent quite a while last year thinking about it, going over the what ifs.. and then I saw a video and the fire was lit inside me. It's been burning ever since and after watching it.. I had to sign up and return.
The video I speak of is below. Of course it's a video of David Goggins himself which was filmed during last years race. This video will give you a pretty good idea of what it's like at McNaughton Park. Just take a look at how messy David looks as he continues his rounds of the loop. But its not only the challenge of the park that lured me back.. it was what David does at 5:09 in the video.. the jumping jacks... watch closely and listen to what he says.
Yup... you heard him. He does a few jumping jacks and said, "Who needs a pacer?" The answer... was me. Here is the story. As I was finishing and quitting at the 100 mile mark last year, David Goggins ran in right behind me and finished his 150, setting a new course record. I had just told RD Andy Weinberg that I quit when he turned to David and said, Hey.. Sherpa John needs a pacer. David responded with the Jumping jacks and the quote. And I dropped my head, turned around.. and walked away. I felt so robbed. I felt like finishing 100 miles in that muck was a great achievement.. but in the end.. I felt like the worlds biggest loser. And when I saw the video.. and every time I've seen it since.. the fire inside me burns... burns to return to the park to finish what I started.
That coupled with the fact that this is Andy Weinbergs last year directing this race, it was the site of my first 100 and you just have to love the ultra atmosphere here and I couldn't turn the chance down. So I March into McNaughton as healthy and prepared as I possibly can be, excited to be racing again and pushing myself to the limit.
For those who love to read old race reports you can check out my reports from the last two years by clicking their respective links below.
2007 - 100 Miles
2008 - 100 Miles (150 DNF)
Here is another view of the 10 Mile Loop: