What do you wish one of the world’s best extreme runners and the love of his life on the day before their wedding?
That is my dilemma as ultra runner Geoff Roes and Corlé LaForce are tying that proverbial knot today. I have only known Roes less than four years and LaForce about two.
That is why, as Roes and a group of buddies in town for the nuptials decided a bacherlor/bacherlorette adventure run up Mount Juneau, over to Observation Peak and out Blackerby Ridge was the Saturday pre-wedding nerves buster, I figured I would ask as many of those involved as possible what they would wish for the couple.
In no particular order of overtaking them on the trail, or more likely being overtaken by them, their sharing was my answer.
Joe Grant is from Nantes, France but lives in Gold Hill, Colo. He is a 2013 Iditarod Trail Invitational finisher, took second in the 2012 Hardrock Hundred with one of the fastest times in the race’s history, and other such accolades.
“Just lots of love,” Grant said. “It is so great to see everybody out here enjoying the mountains and celebrating this fantastic weekend.”
His wife Deanne ran a 10K in Portland, Ore., and climbed her first “fourteener” two weeks ago in Leadville, Colo., scaling Mount Shavano (14,000-plus feet).
“Lots and lots of peace and love and happiness,” Deanne Grant said. “And a beautiful life together.”
Scott Jurek is a seven-time Western States winner, two-time Badwater Ultra winner, Hardrock Hundred winner, Spartathlon winner, former American record holder for distance ran in 24 hours (165.7 miles), UltraRunning Magazine’s four-time runner of the year, and author of “Eat and Run,” and I image there are some other tidbits out there as well.
“Just fabulous times together,” Jurek said. “Good nourishment and love. Maybe slower times if we are in the same run.”
In some facet of their lives, each of the runners I burned calories trying to interview have all done something that is grand, and it was done via knowing Roes and LaForce.
Dan Lesh’s memorable outing is an over-night fast-pack adventure with Roes over Mount Hawthorne, connecting to Sheep Creek, and Mount Olds, Observation Peak and out Thoroughfare Ridge and returning on Blackerby Ridge, and numerous other dips and ups and downs.
“I hope that they see as much wild beauty as possible in the world,” Lesh said.
Judge Keith Levy has run numerous marathons.
“Balance,” Levy said. “That is what it is all about.”
Matt Callahan grew up hiking and exploring the Juneau backcountry.
“I hope they are healthy and happy for the rest of their lives,” Callahan said. “And that they have a great life together.”
Bryan Lepinskie ran in high school in Central Square, N.Y., with Roes and in college at Syracuse.
“For them to continue doing what they have been doing,” Lepinskie said. “Just living life like they want to live it, and defining success on their terms.”
Marysia Szymkowiak has run the Chilkoot trail, among other adventures.
“I just hope for a great continuation of the present beautiful relationship that they have,” Szymkowiak said. “I think they have everything aligned for that.”
Bryan Hitchcock, former Empire Cup challenger, has run ultras and had his name printed in Trail Runner Magazine.
“I hope for just a super awesome adventurous life together,” Hitchcock said. “Many years of happiness and love and all those wonderful things. They are great folks.”
Jeff Machakos is a fixture in the Juneau outdoor athletic scene.
“A long, prosperous marriage,” Machakos said. “Thriving into their 90s.”
Monica Dennis ran a half-marathon in Moab, Utah with bride-to-be LaForce.
“Just a happy and joyful life and relationship,” Dennis said. “And lots of fun adventures.”
Jen Gebhardt went to high school with Roes. She ran four miles for the first time recently.
“Lots of good sex,” Gebhardt said. “And a good life together and lost of love and happiness.”
Krissy Moehl has won numerous ultra-distance races including The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (166 km) and this past April’s Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji (161 km), yet Saturday on the Juneau Ridge and beyond were her favorites, and it was Roes who unveiled them.
“I love running in Alaska, this is my first time and I love it,” Moehl said. “I wish them lots of things. They are great people. They have a lot going for them. Just to continue their obvious building of community and love for each other and how much they bring to all of us in the energy that they put off together.”
John Nagel grew up falling down Mount Juneau, and now runs almost every mega-mile race he can get into, and blogs about it.
“They are the greatest people,” Nagel said. “Love, a healthy life, anything imaginable.”
As for me:
I wish for them “time.”
Time just to hold hands.
The greatest love I saw was that of my aged parents, in the last years of their lives, still sitting next to each other and holding hands. It was something they did as long as I can remember.
Today, as you read this, the sore muscles will have been iced, the bodies refreshed, and yesterday’s adventure will pale in comparison to the life about to begin for Roes and LaForce.