The January issue of Trail Runner magazine is out. I spent a few days running potions of the McKenzie River Trail and hanging out at MRTR aid stations to write a piece for the Take Your Mark department. Below is an excerpt. For the full piece check out a copy of Trail Runner: One Dirty Magazine.

TAKE YOUR MARK Basalt, Blood and Beauty. Why you should run Oregon’s McKenzie River Trail 50K.

At the start they stand in a loose herd, arms hanging, shoulders rolling, exchanging greetings in muted voices. Then, the start gun stirs them to action. In the dawn’s grey mist 200 runners explode down a winding forest trail. In a trailside stream, wild trout rise to feed on fall caddis, and, above, Northern spotted owls sink long talons into the bark of ancient cedars.

For miles black lava rock protrudes from the trail like Grendel’s broken teeth. By the finish, many participants have battled the terrain and lost, and runners regularly cross the line bruised and bloodied with small chunks of basalt still imbedded in their knees, palms and elbows. Continued at Trail Runner magazine.