Most importantly, I learned.

I learned that L I F E isn’t FAIR…..TOO BAD, suck it up princess and keep driving towards your goals.  Many things (usually unanticipated) happen to us throughout life – the same holds true for Ultra Running and Endurance Racing.  Expect the unexpected — don’t be shocked by the shit that happens; S H I T happens!  Be prepared for anything and everything. When life gets tough, keep singing happy songs to yourself and keep telling your negative self to shut the F-_- Up! (You should probably learn to accept outside help at some point too. You can’t do everything on your own.)

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I learned a lot about relationships and the meaning of being unselfish which was so wonderfully demonstrated by my amazing girlfriend Crystal.  Being an endurance racer herself, sitting on the sidelines is usually more stressful than being in the race, yet she was there, standing by going crazy just waiting for the word that crew was welcome to come.  Last year Crystal couldn’t Death Race due to an injury and this year we had it planned out that she would be support crew for both Josh and myself.  We planned an entire year for this and in true Death Race fashion, right at the last minute (day before the race), it was decided that this year would be NO CREW and completely self-supported.  I know this devastated her as these times together mean a lot to us, its what we base everything off of pretty much and yet she was still there, didn’t show a sign of frustration and always kept a smile on her face even though I knew she hated every dam minute of it.  Cheering us on, organizing things for when she could come, and doing her very best to stay up to date on what was happening.  Babe, you are awesome and I can’t thank you enough for al l the support and belief in you have in me.

I learned that no matter how old or young you are, there’s a fire that burns deep inside of each and every one of us.  Our job is to figure out how to tap into that FIRE.  I was fortunate enough to witness an amazing young lady named Madison take on 11 hours of this race in FULL GEAR, ruck sack and all! Never underestimate the power of the HUMAN SOUL ON FIRE!  Never judge a book by its cover, never allow what others think or say to affect you and your visions.  Madison reminded me that no matter our age, no matter the odds, all we need to do is just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I learned that NO MATTER how bad life is or was, or what you thought it was, YOU and YOU alone have the ability to pull yourself out and come back bigger and stronger than you were before.  Sure, getting some help along the way is amazing and sometimes needed, but the FIRE, the BURN for wanting more out of life than what it’s giving at that time must come from your thoughts alone.  IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, HOW IS ANYONE ELSE SUPPOSED TO?

Lastly, I learned to be thankful, always, for the little things and big things.

I want to give many thanks to the Race Directors and the ones who created, thought up and directed this race — Johnny Waite, Pete Coleman, Robin Crossman and their supporting families, and the MANY others who volunteered their time to help with anything this race had to offer. The planning, prep and execution is a huge sacrifice and I’m grateful for all that went into this amazing event.

Darren & Amber – Thank you for letting me and the rest of the racers share a part of Madison’s journey. She is a strong, determined and inspiring 12 year old. I can only hope that I instill these same qualities of life in my little angel. You guys and your family are simply AMAZING!

I can’t forget my other Death Racers.  Whether you “finished” or not, every single one of us WON just for showing up.  Keep in mind that 340 (I think that was what the number was) signed up and only 204 of us decided to show up at the start line for what we knew was going to be a weird form of human torture.  To my battle buddy, Josh,  for sticking with me the entire time and seeing this thing through to the end, just as we said we would from the beginning. We’ve been through a couple of these crazy races together and I know you are the one guy I absolutely want on my side.  Simply an amazing person! Even bigger thanks to his wonderful girlfriend, Cheryl (who should be his WIFE- HINT) for supporting such a selfish sport and continuing to support and love him through it all. Without you doing this, I wouldn’t have my battle buddy☺.  To my team, TEAM 3, “AWESOME “C’s”, who I was tethered together with by rope, naked and barefoot throughout over 30 hours of this race.  You guys are AWESOME and I’m a better person knowing and experiencing this with you. My new good AUSSIE friend, Jim Mullard, you are one crazy ass F%@&wit bud and I don’t think as many people would have made it through those torturous hours without your sense of humor and Aussie sang.  You are an inspiration to many others and I’m very grateful to have you in my life – as a death race partner and friend.  There are MANY others to thank as well, the list is endless, but, you should know that you have helped change my life for the better through this experience and I can’t wait until our next adventures together.

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“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat” – Theodore Roosevelt