Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A leg to stand on...

Unquestionably, the best thing about the extreme racing that I do is the extraordinary people I have met, and gone on to become close friends with. I may not see them as often as I'd like, but when I do it is in the most intensely bonding settings - and in between we have Facebook, etc, to stay in touch and trade energy and adventure stories.

I have written in the past about oportunities to celebrate these friends' incredible successes - quintuple Ironman, North Pole expeditions... And to support them through tough circumstances - family tragedies, major illnesses... And they are always the first to reach out to me with congratulations or concern about anything exceptional in my life. The rest of the time we are just making one another laugh hysterically and inspiring one another with our shared passion for a life less ordinary.

Yesterday, my Facebook newsfeed blew up with real news. My good friend, Mark Webb, with whom I have toiled alongside in several Death Races and a GoRuck Challenge in Iowa, had been in a serious motorcycle accident and had to have his foot amputated. This was not a story that unfolded gradually. All at once we learned - by way of a Facebook post from his family - that Mark had been in an accident (not his fault - he is an experienced rider who was following all the rules when a car pulled out directly into his path), was badly hurt and rushed to hospital, and that doctors had determined immediately that his right foot would have to be removed. The upside is that he was otherwise not in any grave danger and was getting excellent care.

Immediately, there was a flood of support, love and concern expressed. So many familiar names, and even more unfamiliar ones, were posting messages to Mark's wall. The common theme was how much respect everyone has for who Mark is as a person and how confident we all are that this will not stop him from any of his many pursuits in his awesome life. And most were accompanied with pictures of Mark smiling his way through one brutal challenge after another.

Within hours, Mark popped up himself. First, with this hilariously casual Tweet from his hospital bed ...

 Link to tweet ...

Then with this shameless request ...

Recognizing that Mark was in fine form, and knowing that he was already receiving a healthy dose of sympathy, I went out on a limb and sent him a request of my own. To which he responded with zero hesitation ...

Mark Webb is the kind of person who we all like to think we are, or at least wish we were.

A great friend. A devoted father. A badass motherfucker. An inspiring, courageous human.

The other great thing about this part of my life is that every time I do something awesome, there is always someone beside me has already raised the bar so much higher.

Case in point. I thought I was being super funny and encouraging by doctoring this picture (the first I'd ever seen of Mark, even before meeting him at Winter Death Race 2012. Suffice it to say I was actually a bit intimidated.)...

... and then saw that Jack Cary had just posted this fucking masterpiece!! FTW.

 Click to Watch!

I am so ridiculously blessed in all aspects of my life. Not the least of which is having friends like these.

I will see you next month in Vermont, Webb!! Rest up and then get back at it. Our theme song will be "Footloose" and I am sooooo looking forward to some oblivious racer complaining to you that his feet hurt.


  1. Thank you for sharing this uplifting post Johnny. See you in September!

    - Louis

  2. Johnny, this is a well written and honest piece of your soul.

    Thank you for speaking straight from it and including us in your life and sharing what is obviously special and profound to you. I hope to get a chance to meet Mark in the future, as he sounds like every one of these awesome individuals I meet who called themselves "Adventure Runners": One of a kind.

    Get back on your feet soon Mark.

    Well done brother. Kudos.

  3. Excellent post, Johnny, about someone many of us have bonded with while carrying logs, rucking insane miles and doing other stupid shit...all the while smiling :)