Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the current runners of the 2012
All of the runners except when otherwise stated, work with me on the Arroyo Grande Hotshots. We are firefighters for the U.S. Forest Service and travel all over the country to do our part. I have the upmost respect for these guys, and I am happy to say they are all like family to me.
The crew at Mount Rushmore
Claire Mellien (Claire Bear) -
Claire was my first supporter last year. Being a great friend of mine, I told her about my idea for the walk, and she wanted to join immediately. She is a constant source of support then and now for this years event. She is extremlely strong as well, typically beating out many of us men on the fire crew. She plans to run a full marathon on the first day. It is also very likely that she will choose to run again the next day for however long she chooses!
Claire, Ben, Myself, and Doc during the walk last year
Ben Holmes (Roy Dibble) -
Ben was my other partner in crime last year during the walk. Known to make rash decisions, he decided to join us for the walk the night before it began! This year, He didn't need to wait that long to decide to run. Another constant source of support for these endeavors, he plans on running the first marathon and probably more as well as we continue on. Ben is the most physically fit guy on the crew so I'm sure he will manage it fine.
Richard Murdock (Doc) -
Doc works for the U.S.F.S. on Engine 16. We bacame friends when i used to work in that area. Last year, he became one of our biggest supporters and even joined us for a our longest 37 mile day. He has a heart of gold and didn't hesitate a second on deciding to join us for the event this year much to all of our delight.
Jason Hall (Broski, Liam, Bundee) -
Hailing from South Dakota, Jason expressed much support last year during the walk and even a slight bit of regret for not joining in for some of it. I was excited when he wanted to run in this event. Hall is an extremely loyal and honest friend. His work ethic is hard to parallel and his play ethic is even harder to match.
Hall with his Niece
Nic Elmquist (Niko) -
Niko is one of our captains, and currently working his way to being a batallion chief one day. Niko has been supporting these endeavors well before the walk of 2011. In 2010 he would always ask me how to support these children. He quickly began
one of the kids I live with when I am in Rwanda. He has continued since, giving his child a sense of friendship that he never knew. Niko loves to run, cares much about the problems of the world, and is a great leader.
Niko is on the left during a different relay race
David Weber (Web Dawg) -
Web has helped me a lot in planning this event. On a very rare day off, he accompanied me to San Francisco to route out the relay. For 8 hours we scoured the west coast up, mapping out important landmarks and such to plan properly. All the while, Web never complained and helped me out more than I could have imagined. On top of that, he is all about good times and hospitality, as many times I have stayed at his place when I have my "nomad" situations.
Erik Mueller (Mule) -
Mueller comes originally from the Bay Area, so he will mostlikely be running his portion closer to the city as he is more familiar with it. living at the same place as Web, he also has shown the same hospitality to me and friendship. Mueller likes to have a good laugh, pretty much always which makes him perfect for these kinds of endurance events to keep peoples' spirits up.
Damien Arine (Eagle, Bagel) -
Eagle as many will attest to, brings out the best in other people. He has incredible charisma and makes others laugh better than many I know. One of the older of the crew members, he is strong as an ox. The word from him is that his lovely wife Sara may join for a little on her bike and help logistically. Hopefully they will bring their pug names Bodie.
With his wife Sara
Dylan Todd (Sweeny) -
Dylan is an apprentice in the U.S.F.S. which makes him bounce from different work places. We were fortunate to have him in the 2011 season. I am speaking for everyone when I say we were very happy he is joining us because we have missed him this season. Hailing from the Bay Area as well, he will be running closer to the end as well.
Dylan with one of his sons Logan
Rudy Gaytan (Rudito) -
Rudy is another apprentice that we fortunate to have this year. Rudy truely loves to work and exercise so I wasn't surprised when he told me he wanted to run a full marathon. Rudy can be very soft spoken, but his actions speak louder, and that is the basic motivation behind this event so Rudy is perfect for it.
Bart Powers (Captain Ron) -
Hailing from Pennsylvania,
Bart is very good at many things I am not. He has offered many different and brilliant ideas I never thought of doing to raise money for the cause. For example, last year, he tried very hard to get us on the news at the last minute and almost succeeded. This year, with so much time and his own motivation, I think many good things will happen for the event. I appreciate his help and support. Bart is very resourceful and jumps head first into any project he can find.
The captain on his boat
Robert Sturtevant ( Lou) -
It was Lou's idea to turn this into a relay that kept everyone relatively together. Not only did I appreciate his opinion but I loved it too. Lou wanted to work hard and do osmething good but he also wanted everyone to be together and have a great time. We agreed there isn't much better than those two things combined. Lou is doing duble duty in November running a half marathon in Malibu in memory of a loved one, and then running with us at the end of the month. He's named after Lou Ferrigno so I think he will be alright.
Brett Hildibrandt (Hildie) -
Hildie was present with me when I first began to plan the Walk back in 2011. We were on a fire in The Sequoia National Forest in California. At night, we would make a warming fire and eat our military rations all together. One of these peaceful nights, Hildie and I brainstormed a handful of ideas we could try to raise money for the porridge. That was the moment that began this wonderful journey. He was very supportive then, and even more so now.
Joshua Blacksmith (Schmitty, Schmeegs) -
Schmitty gave us our biggest donation last year. I won't say how much but I will say he helped feed a lot of children many many days. Schmitty was gung-ho to join for the relay this year. Wasn't surprising, as he is gung-ho for pretty much everything. He also chose to run a full marathon. He is a man of incredible patience as many who know him would agree with.
Shaun Sullivan ( Sully) -
I am Sully, and it should be obvious now how much I care about these kids. I am lucky to have a few extended families. I am even more lucky to be able to run this event with one of them, for the other. My immediate family still lives in New Hampshire, as do I when I am not in California for the fire season, or in Rwanda. I will run the first and last marathons of this event. I am not sure I will hold up well but I wasn't sure about the walk either and we made it through. My reasoning behind running the two marathons in two days is because I feel I must make as big of a statement as possible for the cause. If it gets us one more
than it will be worth it.