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Turn the Corner

You should really see what's on the other side

Race directors need, or at least yours truly does, some kind of reason to keep going.  Managing races is not easy and it is not at all profitable in the traditional sense.  When you hold six races a year with plans for more, there has to be a compelling reason to drive the ship forward or eventually the whole works gets beached or scuttled.

I have an idea on how to keep it going, but this will only work if you, dear runner and reader, take part. This idea came to me on a single stretch of road in Montana on my way to Flathead Lake, specifically it was a corner on Highway 93.  There is a long incline that slowly bends to the right and when you top out on the bend you get your first glimpse of what Heaven surely looks like.

More majestic than the Madison, the Rocky Mountain Front, the Gravelly Range, and even the Tetons in Wyoming, the Mission Mountain Range in Western Montana is simply beautiful.  It’s awe inspiring.  With a single glimpse, you feel life’s possibilities because you have proof that you live in a world of tremendous beauty and promise.  And unless you’re right there, the range is completely invisible until you turn that corner on Highway 93.  Life before and life after turning the corner is just not the same, but you cannot know that until you turn the corner.  Like with any major issue that we mere humans deal with (i.e. poor health, bad relationships, working too much, no time for kids, family, friends, reflection, etc..), the desire to make a change, to turn the corner on a personal problem, is often visible but so hard to achieve.  I want our Montana race series to mean something.  Thus was born, the Turn The Corner theme for the Greater Yellowstone Adventure Series.

It’s an apt metaphor.  Considering its location, the GYAS routes have a lot of corners. Each time you turn one, you have a new vista to see and appreciate.  There are several vistas, especially on the Madison Marathon and the Big Sky Marathon route, where you can see mountain ranges 100 miles away. Also each time you turn a corner, you get just a bit closer to the finish line and the completion of yet another race, or your first race, first marathon, first duathlon, first triathlon, or maybe your very first ironman.  Then, your life is different.

It’s not always easy to turn the corner.  It’s usually very difficult.  Whether it’s after a four mile uphill at 9,000 feet or simply overcoming a serious issue in your life, turning corners and proceeding on to a better plateau is challenging.  There are a million reasons to quit or to convince yourself that “next time, I’ll get there.”  There is really only one reason to continue and that is to see what’s around the corner and hope it’s a better place for you and your issue or cause.

I’ve shared this idea with some of the chronic marathoners and athletes of the GYAS.  They all say the same thing which is that they are running for a reason.  It’s not like in the case of Forrest Gump who claimed, “I just felt like running.”   We all run for a reason (even Forrest figured that one out in the end), and if we can turn the corner on the route and in life, life is better.  For some, it can be their first glimpse of the Mission Mountains and the possibilities and beauty of life can finally begin to shine or begin to shine again.

So here’s the gauntlet.  Here’s the corner at 9,500 feet above sea level after a four mile uphill.  Here’s how I’ll continue to be your race director. Make the GYAS meaningful by running for a reason, for a person you love, for a cause you believe in, or for yourself to find out what’s on the other side.  I cannot guarantee success, but I’m quite confident that the other side, in the space around the corner, lies a better life.  It might be a better life for you, or it might be the means for you to raise money to help others turn the corner and find a better life.  Check out the short form below and if you have something to run for and want some help from me, fill it out and send it in.

Speaking of money, I’ll be connecting runners to online crowd sourcing platforms that can help with the logistics of soliciting donations from family, friends, and others who believe in you.  I’ll also promote to the best of my ability your cause.  Finally, the GYAS will select one organization every year that best exemplifies the Turn The Corner concept.  We will donate one-half of the year’s net profits to this organization.

Run for a reason.  Tell your loved ones who you know are struggling with an inability to get around their own corner about our races and encourage them to give it a shot.  Run with them.  Find your own niche cause or organization, and let me know so I can hook you up with an appropriate platform so you can raise money on your own simply by running a GYAS event.  Most of all, make it meaningful.  A life that is meaningful is so much more interesting and fulfilling than a life without meaning.  Do this, and I promise that you’ll get a glimpse of the Mission Mountains.

Stay Happy, Healthy, and Keep Running Forward,

Sam Korsmoe

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