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Grateful and Happy For Everything: Jason Hanley’s Bigfoot 200

Grateful and Happy For Everything, Jason Hanley How It All Started For Run Tri Bike Magazine
Jason Hanley
Year started: 2013
Next race: May 6-11, 2024 / Cocodona 250, Black Canyon City, AZ
Favorite gear:

Wildsense Chafing Balm

Grateful and happy for everything. That’s the feeling I had sitting at the top of Pompey Peak with my wife on the final day of Bigfoot 200. It was the final summit of the race, and you could see all the way back to Mount Saint Helens where I had started days ago. It was so far away now. This was the moment that just overwhelmed me. All the sacrifice and hard work had come together. The finish was going to happen.

The Road to Bigfoot 200

My journey to Bigfoot had started almost a year earlier, right around the same time that I started Wildsense, a body goods company for endurance athletes. Wildense only officially launched about 2 months ago. For my wife and I, this was one of the biggest risks of our lives. As I worked to build the company from the ground up, it paralleled my training in so many ways. The most constant thing in both was this ever looming question in my mind: “Can I actually do this?”  In all honesty, there were way more days of doubt and struggle than there were days of confidence. Training was becoming my rock though. Ultra training has always taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to. I’ve always thought of it as this art imitates life kind of thing. Running is my art. I set goals and work to achieve them just as I do in life. It’s a beautiful process.

Race Day: Abnormally Calm

I must have done something right because the morning of the race I was abnormally calm. There was not a fear in my mind, just gratitude and joy. That was strange, but I’ve spent years honing this craft of mine. Like most trail runners, it’s where I feel the most at home, among the trees and the dirt.

Recalling the Rugged Course

I could go on for days about how rugged the course was. I’m still replaying it in my mind each night when I sleep and I’m sure that will last a while longer. There’s boulder fields and steep ridges. Sections so raw that you couldn’t see the trail at all for what seemed like miles. To me that’s beautiful though. We were in a place few people ever go. There were places that will stay etched in my mind too. Taking a picture just couldn’t do them justice.  There were summit views, the sunlight shining through the trees as it hit Lewis River. This race was like a dream, and most everything went just as I planned. It was so grand in scale that I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off (especially training for a mountain race in Houston, Texas), but if a race could be called a masterpiece, this one was it for me. The things that didn’t go perfect left the flaws that made it even better. This was a truly great adventure.

Grateful and Happy: A Final Reflection

The adventure wasn’t over at Pompey Peak that day. There were still miles to go, but I’ll never forget sitting on that mountain looking back at what I had done. The picture that I have from that moment with Kathleen by my side is one I’ll always cherish. It’s one I hope our loved ones will look at one day and say “Yep! That was them!” This was not a photo of some glorious finish or special award. The photo was just one of us doing big wild things together, truly feeling alive. I was grateful and happy.