November 22, 2018
Giving Thanks and Race Signup Details for 2019
Black Butte Mountain on Gravelly Range of Montana. Elevation: 10,545 feet
How many marathons in the world have routes that run right past majestic looking mountains like this one? Probably very few so that's definitely something to be thankful for. You get to run by it, and you get to run a marathon. What else is there in life? The chance to run with Eduardo, the three time TBA in the photo, is a bonus!
Cam on, Xie xie, Arigato, Gracias, Thank You, Danke sehr, Grazie, Merci, Khop kun mak kha, Hvala vam, Salamat, Saum arkoun anak, ...
One view of the world is that everything has gone bat shit crazy. But, that's just one point of view, and it's a negative one, so screw that. There's enough of that these days. Instead, let's do this.
Focus on the positive. The beautiful. To be gracious to all and to do so with gusto. To be thankful and to say thanks especially today.
Twelve years ago, Robin Blazer (of Willies Distillery fame) and I acted on a brain fart of an idea. Despite having zero experience, knowledge or insight, we launched a marathon. We did so in a very remote, high elevation, and hard to get to location in Montana. In doing so, we gave people from the around the world a reason to be thankful for life and in return they gave us an amazing perspective on life. It's a gift that keeps on giving both ways.
Five years before that eventful day, a miracle arrived in my life. He later became my co-race director along with my reason for being. He is my definition of love, gratitude for a life well lived, and thankfulness that the world is going to be a beautiful place for a very long time.
This Thanksgiving Day, my co-race director and I want to say thank you and give you some details for the Greater YellowstoneAdventure Series of 2019.
We also want to share some of the more special and thankful moments of 2018.
But first some news.
Online signup for the GYAS races for 2019 will occur in three stages.
Stage One is like a 1, 2, 3....go!!! start for the New Year.
ALL THE RACES will be open for signup for the first three days of the New Year. This is your early bird opportunity for a limited number of spots. The signup links will be on our website and at 12:01 AM on January 1, 2019 Mountain Standard Time (a.k.a. ... the best time zone) these links will go live. You can save some money, reserve your Bucket List item, and know that in 2019 you will have one hell of an adventure waiting for you in the summer. After midnight on January 3, only the double marathons, TBAs, and other double race entries will remain open for sign up. Remember that our races are limited entry and the Madison Marathon has sold out several times in the past. In other words, sign up early.
Stage Two, the traditional signup date, will be at high noon of the best time zone on March 1. Each race category will have an inventory of race entries at a certain price. After this inventory of entries is taken up, Stage Three kicks in till the race either sells out or right up to race day.
So once again, here's the deal.
January 1, 2, and 3, 2019 - Online signup for ALL the GYAS races opens with early bird prices for a limited number of entries at 12:01 AM of the New Year. At midnight of January 3, all the race categories will close except for the doubles and TBAs. This is a 'On your mark [Jan 1], Get set [Jan 2], Go [Jan 3]' kinda start for the New Year. Take advantage.
March 1, 2019 - To commemorate the establishment of Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872, online signup re-opens for all the GYAS races. Each race category is set at a certain price for a certain number of spots.
Race entry fees go up after the Stage Two inventory is taken up. Think of these entries as the 'mad dash to the airport and buy a ticket' deal. If they are still left, they are more expensive because it's last minute. Signing up early is your best deal.
The 2018 race season was wonderful. Thank you all! Like in previous years, we had runners from around 40 states and several foreign countries. We also had some record setters which we hadn't had in quite a few years. Some thankful memories in photos include these.
Finn, all of eight years old, and his little sister Darby, all of four years old, manned the Mile 6.5 aid station like a pair of pros while Mom earned herself a TBA. Thanks kids.
Vannesa Garlick and Kevin Hartstein had quite the summer. Vannesa won the Madison Marathon and Big Sky Marathon and set course records for both. Kevin was runner up at the Madison and won the Big Sky Marathon with a new course record time. Three victories, three course records. Wow! Oh....they also got engaged on the trip. I'm thankful that they chose Montana for all this, but I'm even more thankful to Vannesa, who had just completed her medical residency, for attending to a runner at the Madison finish. Thanks Doc!
Seven intrepid souls completed the Madison Duathlon, Madison Marathon, and Madison Triathlon to earn the world famous title of TBA - Total Bad Ass! Thanks TBAs. See you all next summer!
I love and appreciate loyalty. Lynda Andros Clay and Eric Huff have four, count 'em four!, TBA championships each. They come back and they just keep winning (and drinking my beer).
I love courage, too. Jenny Whitaker (left) told cancer to get f**ked because she has half marathons to run. She Embraced The Suck. Thanks for showing us the way, Jenny.
TBA champion for 2018, early start van driver, and local clown Corey Hardy gets a shout out. Keep it going, Corey.
Thanks go out to a handful of tough as nails cyclists who went up and over the Gravelly Range at the 2nd Annual Tour de Gravelly. Looking for a cool Bucket List item for 2019. Check this race out. There's a 40 mile uphill and a loooooootttttt of elevation gain.
Mostly, we want to thank all the GYAS athletes who journeyed to Southwest Montana so they could compete at extremely high elevations on routes that had very, very long up hills. Thank you all!
Stay Happy, Healthy, and Always Keep Running Forward.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
Sam and Colter
The John Colter Club
The John Colter Club is a members-only club for athletes who are or have been:
An inaugural athlete in one of the six GYAS races.
Earned a podium finish (top three) in the overall men and women's category of any GYAS race.
Are a three-time returnee to a GYAS race.
We want to recognize those who went first, those who finished well, and those who just keep coming back. For a membership fee of $30 per year and immense bragging rights for getting in, members receive the following:
A personalized water bottle with the GYAS logo, your name, and the club's name.
Early access. Members get to sign up for the GYAS races before the March 1 opening.
A discount of 15 percent off the entry fee of the race you sign up for.
Do the math and you can figure out that your $30 comes back to you pretty quick. If you qualify and if you want to join an exclusive club of athletes named after Montana's most famous total bad ass, send me an email. Tell me how you qualify. I'll confirm it all and send you the application.