There will not be a Mogollon Monster 100 in 2016. Or the indefinite future.
Every day this site gets requests for registration, people from all over the world just excited for the opportunity to come to Arizona and run this course. It's incredible the interest this race has for some people, people that have the same interests I do, looking for the same things in a race and ultra experience. It's exactly what I envisioned five plus years ago when I started this journey. Yet something has to give.
In five years though I've gone through a lot of personal changes and it's become more than I can handle, or maybe more appropriately, more than I'm willing to handle. That's a difficult thing to admit because I've always been one to simply put my head down when more work needs to be done. However, this no longer is something that I can continue just "outworking." I struggle every year knowing that I didn't put 100% into the race because of time constraints created by a heavy work load professionally and the demands (and my desires) of family life. Many people likely look at this race as a busy weekend but anyone that has directed 100 mile races knows it's much much more than that as an overall commitment. It's simply not a commitment I can continue keeping. So I've decided to suspend the Monster for the 2016 year and indefinitely, until I'm able to tackle this with a full effort. I don't know what future will hold for the race. I just know I won't be in front of a 100 mile race come September.
A lot more goes into this decision of course, but at this point in my life, the Monster doesn't match up with my life and my key supporters every year in the race are in similar situations. I've been very fortunate to have so much help surrounding this race from so many different people through the years that it has become the key reason I've waffled on this decision for two months. I know people will be disappointed. I know runners wanting to run this course, or return to this course, will be disappointed. I know volunteers that come out and camp every year with their family and have started a new tradition with our race, will be disappointed. I'm disappointed, writing this feels like the drive to the vet to put your dog down. Some things are just necessary, regardless of your wants.
For now though, this is how it will have to be and with that, I want to truly thank everyone that has supported the race. Our volunteers have been an incredible part of our team. Above and beyond doesn't even begin to describe them. The HAM radio teams and Jim Pierce's leadership literally make this all possible. Their involvement in 2013 changed the course of the race and without them we absolutely would not have gone on to year 2. We needed every one of them. Aid station captains and annual volunteers like John & Sam Vaupel, Kate Hansen, LindaVan and entire Pinchot Cabin Aid station crew every year, Grandpa Jim & Cheryl Fowler, Danny & Helga Speros, Honey Albrecht, Margaret de Hesse and her husband Ted, Heather & Dan Lightfoot (who one year literally drove 2 hours to Phoenix one night to help load the U-Haul, then drove right back at 9pm...), Laura Reyburn, Paul Rondeau and all the WMRC runners, Mark Cosmas, Chris & Sierra Cantrell, Cesar & Jeanna Tapia, all of the Daneks generations, Liza Howard, Nick Coury, Jamil Coury, Team Red White & Blue members Tommy Lunetta, James Akers and Bill & Nancy Egan (and many more), Deron Ruse, Scott Lumpp and his family, Joe & Megan Galope, Deva Lingaman, there are many I can't possibly list them all but appreciate every one of them and every minute they spent helping us. They all deserve so much more than a casual mention in a blog post, they've all helped so very much, for so very little. It's what makes ultrarunning so amazing sometimes.
Jay & Traci Danek especially have been incredibly essential supporters, they put in preposterous hours of work for the race very year, all year and have always been there when we really needed them. My brother Noah and his wife Jeanine started from the beginning and helped grow this race to something that actually stuck and without their support, enthusiasm, and old fashioned farm life hard work, my hours would have tripled. Without Noah's never ending pride and enthusiasm, I doubt we would have made it this far. Sometimes I come up with ideas and Noah just gets roped into these things because he's my younger brother and well...he doesn't have much of a choice, but Noah was always pushing this race forward, always making improvements, always thinking of ways to make the race more enjoyable, more efficient, more runner friendly.
Jeff Jones designed the course and was a huge motivator in getting this race off the ground. His knowledge of the Mogollon Rim area sparked the idea from just that, an idea, into a full blown race. He put it on a map and we ran with it. I made very few changes to that original course we had simply talked about over a few beers, and its served us really well. A big thank you to Jeff for all his input and vision for this race.
My wife Jennifer deserves the biggest thank you of all. She stuck with the idea when it was just an idea I came up with while wandering the Superstitions. She was supportive of the time and needs of this race from the beginning and without that support I never would have made it through the major work projects, newborn children, and the Monster at the same time every year. She put up with no garage for three years, our house riddled with random yeti items (lets be serious, those aren't going anywhere...), and was patient when I would leave on my only day off in a month to run a group run on the course. She has been incredible throughout the process, even with 2 newborns in those years. When I wanted to take this plunge into a the world of race directing, with zero experience mind you, she didn't blink an eye and dove head on with me into it all. That's just amazing to me.
Thank you to every single one of you that supported us for the last four plus years, from the great people we met on group runs, course marking, clearing, to volunteers we met at the race and continued with us year after year. To just people saying kind words about the race to fellow runners, thank you. We built a solid reputation for an old school 100 miler that was incredibly difficult, rugged, and wild. We nailed down Hardrock qualification after one year on little more than word of mouth. It's everything a hundred should be, and more, and it will always be a special place in all our hearts, and I hope yours as well.
Thank you to everyone once again. Maybe we'll see you out on the trail soon!