The END-WET 2020 Guest Swimmer is....

Before we announce who this year's Guest Swimmer is going to be, I wanted to do a small introduction. My name is Don Henderson and I am taking over direction of END-WET this year. The esteemed Tim Bauer will be helping me take this on. Tim needs no introduction. smiley

I have worked with Beek the last several years to learn the ins and outs of what it takes to direct this race. I completed the race twice, in 2015 and 2016, and have been involved in some capacity every year since then. I look forward to this challenge!, let's introduce our Guest Swimmer. Typically, we send out a call for nominations. Some of you may have noticed that this year we didn't do that. We thought that we could break from "the norm" this year and so something that we've never done before.

First joining us in 2015 as our Guest Swimmer, and then returning in 2016 to do END-WET twice (once the day before on her own for fun and then the race itself the next day) as training swims. Introducing our first repeat Guest Swimmer - Sarah Thomas.

Sarah Thomas, 37, is an ultra-marathon swimmer who holds the current world record for the longest continuous, unassisted, non-wetsuit, swim done in current-neutral conditions. That record-breaking swim covered 104.6 miles over 67 hours and was completed in Lake Champlain in August of 2017. Shortly after completing this swim, Sarah was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She was just 35 years old. While undergoing aggressive cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy, Sarah never gave up on her dream of doing a swim that most people thought was impossible. One year after completing her cancer treatments, Sarah did just that- becoming the first person to complete a four-way crossing of the English Channel in 54 hours and 10 minutes.

Sarah lives near Denver, Colorado, with her husband Ryan, their two beagles and their rescue mutt. She is a full-time healthcare recruiter.  She also does keynote presentations for special events, where she shares her life lessons that help her complete marathon swims and that helped her beat cancer.

Other notable swims:

  • Catalina Channel- 20 miles, 2010
  • Manhattan Island Marathon Swim- 28.5 miles, 2011
  • English Channel (single crossing)- 21 miles, 2012
  • Double Lake Tahoe- 42 miles, 2013*
  • Double Lake Memphremagog- 50 miles, 2013*
  • Loch Ness- 22 miles, 2015**
  • Lake Powell- 80 miles, 2016*
  • Lake Champlain- 104.6 miles, 2017*
  • English Channel Four Way- 84 miles, 2019*

*First person to complete this swim
**Second American to complete this swim

Notable Awards:

  • Inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, 2018
  • Inducted into the Vermont Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, 2016
  • Marathon Swimmers Federation Solo Swim of the Year, 2017, 2018
  • World Open Water Swimming Association- Performance of the Year- 2016

News Links:

Sports Illustrated (online)
5280 Magazine (online)
Red Bull (online)
The Guardian (online/print)
Good Morning America 3- Strahan, Sara, and Keke (Television interview)
Good Morning Britain (Television interview)

Upcoming Documentary Film:

Documentary Trailer (Including video from the swim)
Kickstarter Funding Request Video (Pre English Channel)

Sarah will give a talk to swimmers, volunteers and spectators on the Friday evening before the race and we hope you’ll help us welcome her back to North Dakota. 

Welcome back, Sarah!

Course Maps: Double Feature Update

Visited with Park Manager and received clarification on trails that can be used for Saturday and Sunday. I'll be composing the route maps tonight and getting them to the Park staff. Permitting requires that new map proposals need to be made for the record. The staff at Turtle River State Park are great to work with. They want this to be a positive and safe experience. When you are at the Park you will see the devastation caused by 20" of wet, heavy snow and 60 mph winds. They will be cutting and clearing areas this fall and next spring.

TOMBED....we have access to more trails than I first anticipated due to the hard work of a few people to clear debris, cut fallen limbs, and generally make the trail a place to ride. Leaves have been removed so the trail surface can dry over the next days. In an attempt to maximize the trail portion there will be changes from previous years. First...a few portions that will be head-to-head. This will occur early on double track. Follow signage and you'll be fine. will need to negotiate fallen trees. Most of these will be a simple carry the bike over. However, one in particular has to be passed on a small section of dirt near the edge of the trail. BE CAUTIOUS! Also, there are fallen tress on sections coming around curves. For at least the first lap don't ride like there is nothing ahead. You may be leaving your bike at the fallen tree while you face plant on the trail. Third...gravel will be an out-and-back. I'm not certain of the distance as of tonight, but it won't be too far.

TRAILS...same as above. The head-to-head and fallen trees shouldn't be an issue. There is grass/dirt along the side of the paved road if you want to remain on something softer. I'm not certain of the need for gravel as of tonight. I will make every effort to stay within the Park. There will be a new portion toward the completion of each loop that will be memorable.

BOTH...I will attempt to stay close to the mileage/loop of previous years. A little less or a little more, but probably nothing too significant. PLUS, I want the IMP runners to get what they paid for!

Facebook event will have more information as it becomes available:

Thank you for your patience ion all of the changes!

Finally, if any of you know David Sears, he deserves a lot of credit for his multiple hours on the trails getting them into good condition. Raking, trimming, sawing, pulling, etc is all part of making this event possible in 2019.

Course maps below:



Monday Night Musings: Double Feature Update

Monday Night Musings...when life gives you ground coffee and hot water under extreme pressure.....make espresso!

Today I was able to see in person the devastation that snow and high winds created in Turtle River State Park. Fallen trees, numerous branches both on the ground and hanging from splintered trunks, flowing water, and uprooted tress dotted the trails. HOWEVER....some of each event will be on trails!

TOMBED will not be able to access as much of the trail as the runners. However, there will be more trail riding than I first anticipated. The exact mileage has yet to be determined, but I'm hoping for at least 4 miles on trail. The surface is firm. Bikers will have areas to dismount to get over or under fallen tress. There will be leaves and no doubt some slippery spots. careful. Also, there will be a significant water crossing. It should lessen by Saturday, as no precipitation is in the forecast. As of today it was about 16" deep (for a couple feet) and maybe 15' from bank to bank. There were also stretches of snow on portions of the trail. If more trail can be made usable by Saturday you'll be on it. The gravel will be an out + back heading north and east from near the park entrance. Veterans will know it from when we used the old bridge to cross the Turtle River.

TRAILS will get more trail adventure than first thought. However, you'll be bushwhacking for small sections, climbing, crawling, going through water, etc. I also have an added section that will make for more challenge. I am hopeful that road running will be minimal. At this time I do not anticipate that you will need to leave the Park. Overall the trail surface is firm. Some slick spots and copious amounts of leaves. Some of the leaves will be taken off the trail by Sunday. Some of your tails will not be used by bikers on Saturday due to all of the tress, branches, etc that cannot be removed before the weekend. Trail shoes with good grip will be essential.

Registration/check-in will be at See Dick Run on Friday evening from 5-7pm. The store is located at: 3750 32nd Ave S in Grand Forks.

Also, daily Park passes will be available at registration on Friday or when you check-in on Saturday or Sunday. The pass is good for 1 day. You do not need to stop at the visitor's center to get a pass.

Serenity Prayer Plus: Double Feature Update

I'm titling my experience in directing events for the 2019 ENDracing season as "Serenity Prayer Plus." In March END-SURE had to be rerouted from its usual course in the scenic Sheyenne National Grasslands due to copious amounts of snow. Both END-TICK and most recently END-CHIP (both gravel grinders) were less than ideal events due to weather conditions. As one rider said of END-CHIP, "This free event is costing me plenty in bike repairs." At least he had a smile on his face!

So, both END-TOMBED & END-TRAILS are being modified due to situations beyond human control. Turtle River State Park received about 20" of snow last weekend. This on top of saturated soil. The strong winds and heavy snow caused many trees to snap, limbs to break, and generally wreak havoc throughout the Park. While Larry Hagen and the excellent, dedicated staff at the Park are working where they can (can't get off pavement due to soft, muddy, and impassible ground) there will be no usage of the trails for either event. This is not only out of concern for the safety of participants, but for the short and long-term integrity of the trail system. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change."

So, what is the modification? Both events will use the Woodland Lodge as in previous years. However, in the Park riding and running will be done on pavement. The routes for the specific events will then go onto gravel roads to the east and north of the Park. Both will consist of loops, but the challenge, skill set, and beauty of the trails will be minimal. Many people involved in ENDracing have collaborated, shared ideas, opinions, and options. This has been an emotionally taxing time while creating a bond of respect for all involved in this process.

The long established policy for ENDracing refunds: "The courage to change the things I can."

In this particular situation, in part due to the very nature of the event being changed from trails to roadways, I add the following:
While ENDracing does not offer refunds and transferring entry to another participant at this time is difficult, we will issue a 100% your payment as a credit to another ENDracing event. (Not the 75% as stated in the policy). This will be in effect for 1 year from the date of these events. HOWEVER, it is your responsibility to inform us of your decision not to participate. Simply not showing up on the 26th or 27th will not give you the 100% credit. We need to know by 10am (CDT) on Thursday, October 24th. This can be accomplished by posting on the "Comment" section of this post or at

"And the wisdom to know the difference."

I desire the events I direct to meet the long standing quality which ENDracing has established. I also am concerned for more than an event. People, parks, environment, safety, community, and longevity of relationships are of greater value to me. Please let us know if you DO NOT plan to participate in the modified event(s) so you get the 100% credit.