When I reached mile 92 of my first 100 mile race, the Burning River 100, I was told I wouldn’t finish. I was almost hoping to miss cut-offs by this point in the race, for someone to pull me off this Wicked Trail and say “You’re done. You failed.”
Standing at mile 92, shoveling fruit and baked goods into my exhausted, pained face, I realized I could actually stop right there. I could take a picture for Instagram and text my friends and family and say “I didn’t make it. 92 miles in and I couldn’t go on.”
I knew what everyone would say.
They’d call me tough. I’d be a ‘badass’ for even making it that far. 92 miles?! The phrase ‘mentally hard’ might be thrown around. I’d smile and accept the compliments, nod my head and agree with their assurances of toughness.
But that’s not why I came here, to mile 92. I came to mile 92 because it stood between myself and mile 100, not because I needed affirmation of my fortitude, my toughness. A Wall existed in my mind, and I think it exists in a lot of people’s minds; we want to stop when we’ve affirmed our desired characteristics.
If you want to be tough, or badass, or mentally hard, stop at mile 92.
Mile 92 is where the tough and badass and mentally hard call the race; it’s where people will smile and affirm your toughness. They’ll say how far it was, how tired you must’ve been, and how crazy the whole thing seems.
You have to Dismantle Your Wall, the Wall that separates the tough and badass and mentally hard from those who find goal fulfillment. Many tough people never reach what they want because their desires rest in the eyes and mouths of other people.
Separate yourself completely from opinion, from sensation, and move forward.
You can be the baddest, strongest, toughest guy or gal running the “race,” but if you don’t Dismantle Your Wall, that’s all you’ll ever be.
And there are plenty of bad, strong, tough guys and gals out there.
Alongside single mother, professional athlete, business owner, 200-mile race finisher, Candice Burt is the creator and race director for the Triple Crown of 200 mile races.
In 2014, Candice created the first non-repetitive 200 mile ultra marathon in the United States, the Tahoe 200 Endurance Run. The next year, in 2015, Candice created the first point-to-point 200 mile ultra in the United States: the Bigfoot 200 Endurance Run. Finally, and to complete the creation of the Triple Crown of 200s, Candice organized the Moab 240. This race, in staying true to the adventurous nature of the first two, is a non-repetitive 238+ mile run through Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.
She also has two daughters, a business, and races of her own to compete in.
Go ahead and talk about her consistency in training and commitment to her business. Or mention her persistence in running races of 100 and 200+ miles. Just don’t leave out her unrealism, the culture she has created for others, and the wall-dismantling presence she brings to trail and ultra running.
Don’t leave out the change she’s brought to words like adventure, experience, and challenge.
Cowards Are Realistic
Be realistic. Think of the consequences. Proceed with caution. Be like us.
Stay inside the lines. No adversity, no pain, and no fear. Live like everyone else.
Men and women become cowards when they climb into the box of culture and society, aligning with others, existing as others exist. The box of culture and society provides comfort, sows mediocrity and complacency, and reaps an individual incapable of truly living.
Ultra runner Candice Burt lives unrealistic.
Competing in ultra marathons and becoming a professional athlete each check the unrealistic box on their own, but Candice wanted to truly foster adventure and experience. She wanted to promote challenge.
She’d tasted adventure on her own, she’d faced adversity, and she decided to give others the opportunity to do so in a remarkable, badass race series.
Candice’s venture into 200 mile races was unprecedented; there didn’t exist at the time a non-repetitive 200 mile course in the United States. Such a feat, requiring complex logistical coordination over a huge distance, is daunting and –perhaps— unrealistic.
I wonder if anyone told Candice that her races seemed a bit far-fetched.
Cowards Are Realistic because people who live in the realm of realism are unable to imagine excellence and fulfillment despite odds. Dreams and passions become hobbies; as imagined duties and the expectations of others choke out ambition, hobbies become chores.
Had she lived in the realm of what was realistic, Candice wouldn’t have imagined the fulfillment of these races through unprecedented logistical challenge. The challenge would’ve appeared too great. She may have settled on manageable –realistic— distances.
She may have left the gifts of adventure and sensation, those she’s offered to runners all over the world, for someone else to bear.
Cowards Are Realistic.
Be Your Own Culture
In the creation of her 200 mile+ race series, the Triple Crown of 200s, ultra runner Candice Burt established herself as the ‘Mother of 200s’ here in the United States. No ultra marathon runner or race organizer before her imagined such organized and accessible adventure on a massive scale.
She created her own culture, and invited others to experience it.
This culture broke from, and built upon, the adventure driven pursuit that is trail-ultra running. It asked people to redetermine limits, mentally and physically, and to explore something new as a community.
The longest FKTs [Fastest Known Times], or solo expeditions into the unknown, match the adventure of the Triple Crown of 200s, but none are community-driven and accessible for any one person who dares to ask How far? Any person that desires to truly Go Farther and adventure into challenge now has the support and opportunity to do so in a never-before-imagined way.
Candice didn’t start a trend.
She created her own culture, one in which participation means incredible fulfillment by way of 200+ miles.
Adventure. Experience. Challenge. Bring others with you.
Dismantle Your Wall
While exploring the unrealistic in business and adventure, and while creating and building a community centered on runners who ask How far?, Candice tackled, and continues to take on, incredible solo adventures.
Candice currently holds the Fastest Known Time for unsupported women on the Trans-Zion trek in Utah as well as the 95 mile Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier in Washington.
Dismantle Your Wall, one of our Tenets of the Wicked Trail, isn’t just about pushing forward through physical pain or removing self-set mental obstacles to your perceived abilities.
Instead, Dismantle Your Wall, showcased in a real way by ultra runner Candice Burt, speaks to a removal of the veil of opinion. Our minds, infatuated with social media and consumption, crave opinion and direct our lives as such.
Unsupported FKT attempts alone put this veil, this shroud of opinion and visual, to the test.
This veil, this shroud, is burnt to the ground when you list her active roles: entrepreneur, single mom, professional athlete, podcast host, and race director of probably the most logistically challenging events in the country, if not the world.
You see, those who take on massive projects and passion-fueled endeavors, those who run successful businesses and are held in high regard by their peers and associates, are welcome to relax. People like Candice, and maybe you, are non-verbally invited by the actions of others to rest on achievement, or to exist within your noble pursuit.
You don’t need to take on more, your friends say.
She ought to relax a while! your family muses.
Take a break; look at us! We’re happy and content in our victories, culture, one sucked into social attention and opinion, cries out.
Dismantle Your Wall, this wall of opinion and visual and attention.
Drown out the noise: “There is so much more on the Wicked Trail. I have so much more to offer. My mind can take my life to incredible places beyond where I am now.”
Ultra Runner Candice Burt: The fine Print
I wrote this short article about Candice Burt because looking up to someone, like many runners look up to Candice, should be actionable.
It’s a bit of a weird thought.
Don’t look to people like Candice and imagine her life and accomplishments as some otherworldly gift or unattainable level of influence. Look at the example she sets, the fine print of her work, and apply it’s lessons to your pursuit.
Live unrealistic, be your own culture, and dismantle your wall.
Don’t squeeze into the lines established by your world. Don’t settle for what’s available; give people the gift of new opportunity, new sensation and experience. Don’t stop at mile 92; don’t settle for the standards of others, or the standards of your world.
Get to mile 100. Then go to 200. Then beyond.
Ultra runner Candice Burt is a warrior for change. Your life, and mine, will change drastically in reading the fine print and in imitation of the intangible.
Welcome to the Wicked Trail…