Sunday, September 18, 2016

BattleFrog Pittsburgh 2015 Remembered - For the Special People I Met

Hard to believe it's been a year since the BattleFrog race in Pittsburgh.  In a way it seems like it couldn't possibly be that long ago.  In another way, so much has changed since then, that it feels like an era has passed for me.  That race not only introduced me to some incredible people...both BattleFrog staff and racers forever changed how I look at Obstacle Course Racing (OCR).

And when I look back on that day, I can't help but think about all the seemingly insignificant events that lead up to this experience...and how any one of them not happening would have caused me to miss out on this life changing event.  If the bag check hadn't been backed up and build director Peter Hering had not offered to store my race bag in his trailer...if my shoulder wasn't in a sling from the dislocation the previous Saturday...if Spiro hadn't intervened with Coach to find out when I could go out on the course...if I hadn't been my usual smart-ass self to Coach Pain (Dewayne Montgomery)...if Coach hadn't reacted in the way he did with an awe inspiring impromptu speech.  Then of course, if Nick and Dana and Dayton hadn't been the people they are.  If any one of these things hadn't happened in the order they did, I would have missed out on the greatest OCR day of my life.

The thing is though, as unlikely as it was for that race experience to happen, once I got to know Dana and Dayton better that day, as well as when we met several months ago in Miami, I realized that their story was even more remarkable.  (of course Nick and I got to talk a bit more after the race as I the prematurely closed beer taps....and a good time was had by all!)  Well...back to Dana and Dayton.  Apparently, they had met not too long before this race, through the Facebook group - Trail and Ultra Running (TAUR), that helps people meet up with like-minded individuals to run.  The only problem, they lived in different states!

While that did put a minor obstacle (pun very much intended) in the way, it didn't stop them.  Interestingly, their first contact was over a casual comment on a photo he posted on that site.  Something must have clicked though, as he woke her later that same day to chat online.  24 hours later he got her number and they talked again that night.  We all know though that online relationships can be a complicated thing, so caution is understandable.

However, caution to them apparently meant talking every night for hours.  Caution to Dana also meant signing him up for two local races before they even met.  So a month or so after this first photo comment, she was picking him up at the airport for their first race...and a month after that she would be doing it again.  Later that Spring she was flying into Memphis to meet his family!  And by the way, I checked, and to paraphrase one of my favorite Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy lines, "This is obviously a definition of caution that I wasn't previously aware of".

Once again, in the spirit of taking-it-slow, by mid-year they were making plans for his move to Pittsburgh.  Thoughts of marriage were already brewing in his head.  The idea of marriage grew for both of them until he formally proposed to her...of course...on the anniversary of their first race.  So when I eventually met them at the BattleFrog race in Pittsburgh that August, it's understandable why I first thought these two had been together for much longer.

Now they're out every weekend it seems, running trails and races or just enjoying the outdoors with her daughter.  On the weekends that her daughter goes to her grandparents, they tend to go on longer trips or do longer races.  In between, Dayton is continuing to train dogs in his new business, which is fast becoming a family affair.  Oh...and this past week of course, they got married!   In the end then, the truly remarkable story from that fateful day in Pittsburgh, is the fact that OCR brought two very special people together, who likely would never have met otherwise.  A year ago, OCR allowed our paths to cross as well.  It is a privilege to tell their story and to know them...and an even greater privilege to call them friends.

Related stories:

Sometimes Being a Smartass Can Lead to an Extraordinary OCR Experience - BattleFrog at Pittsburgh 2015


  1. This is a wonderful story. Delivered with grace and sincerity. Keep up the good work and hope your shoulder has healed by now. Happy race anniversary!

    1. Thanks for your comments Cindy! Yes, shoulder's doing well enough. Looking forward to reading your work as well.