March 16, 2013, the inaugural END-SURE began at the West Trailhead of the North Country Trail on the Sheyenne National Grasslands. I participated in the 50k distance (only option) with a starting temperature of -10 degrees F. Following a track made by a snowmobile I traversed 25 miles before I was gingerly taken from the final checkpoint on a snowmobile. Officially a DNF. I was cold to the core, but satisfied with my effort.
On March 29, 2014, I doubled the distance starting and finishing at the Sheyenne Oaks Horse Camp and RV Park. Andy and Grant waited a long time in the darkness to see the glow of my headlamp in the distance. A campfire, a couple of hot bratwursts, and congratulatory words helped numb the pain exuding from my blistered feet.
Since that time I have been involved both as co-director and solo director of the event. Distances of 25k and 100 miles were added. March weather has provided balmy, as well as brutal conditions. Routes have been adapted and adjusted to the realities of the surface conditions. Volunteers have driven vans, grilled food, endured the cold, built campfires, searched for off course participants, and been vital to the event. There has been nothing predictable about END-SURE other than adventurous participants!
This will be my final year of directing. Many circumstances in life, both professional and personal, have provided fodder for introspection. I have enjoyed the planning, the people, the hospitality, and the sense of community. The emotional and physical energies expended while gratifying, no longer counterbalance the effort to provide the event I envision. Simply stated, the fun factor has faded. What will happen to END-SURE? I am not sure. Unless a person or group of people express interest in assuming leadership, it will end. Everything, every person, every event has a life cycle. Changes are made. Traditions and participants ebb and flow. END-SURE is an organic, enlivening, and adaptive experience which has served a purpose.
Thanks to all of you for years of connections in conditions which mirror our lives! In my perspective life is an ultra experience.