It’s About The People: Gorge Waterfalls Weekend

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Words by Corrine Malcolm with images from Somer Kresiman.

We could wax poetically about the blistering hot paces and incredible performances that were thrown down Gorge Waterfalls weekend – but we all know it was more wet than hot. And while the podium performances were top notch the success of the weekend is a lot less about that and a lot more about you all – the people, we couldn’t do it without you. So here is a little thanks for making it the best annual weekend of our lives.

This race is unique in that it brings two families together in partnership – Freetrail x Daybreak Racing. While you all might bring the energy, this race would not be what it is without the foundation provided by Jeremy and Aaron Long and the Daybreak Racing crew whose time and work are critical to operating the event successfully and safely.

It’s about the people.

It's about the people.

You all came out in the rain to run, race, crew, support, and cheer. You volunteered your time, energy, and likely a layer of skin from your feet. You all make this event exactly what it is, something incredibly special.

You came out to your first ever trail race, your first ever ultra, your first ever 100-kilometer.

You shared housing accommodations with near strangers all because you are part of the same Freetrail community.

You huddled together under pop up tents waiting to make a tunnel for Riley to run through. You told another runner to keep going – that they’ve got this.

You made sure Katie was okay when she fell and bloodied her knee, and you hugged each other with big wet sweaty hugs at the finish line.

You worked aid stations as ‘broth boys’, making perfect quesadillas, and served red bull in champagne flutes. You wore suits while coaxing runners not to drop out.

You gave Rhodes one million tiny high fives.

You came out to spectate not to see one person in particular but to spread a little extra trail love to all the ‘trailers over the course of three days.

You showed us that getting this race back off the ground after the devastating Eagle Creek Fire was more than worth it, and you even marveled at the waterfalls despite finding the saturation point of your Gore-Tex.

You chased runners with GoPros and gimbals and listened to Dylan say things like, “A tough warmup for your boy!” on the Instagram Live as he chased Vincent and Alex out of an early aid station.

You generously shared the trail with two-way traffic and hikers out enjoying the same spaces we love so much.

You cursed at least one rock and thanked at least one volunteer.

You were first and DFL – and celebrated all the same.

You are the reason this thing exists, and the reason why we will continue to cultivate a culture that turns strangers into friends (and pacers) because we share a common love for time spent chasing a dirt ribbon through the woods.

We love you all, and while we can’t control the weather we can promise the 2024 edition of the race will be just as amazing – because of you. It’s all about the people.

Meg Morgan and Katelyn McDaniel hug after the 50km at Gorge Waterfalls 50km

To learn more about Gorge Waterfalls checkout Daybreak Racing, you can find this year’s results here. Want to hear more stories from the race? Join Freetrail Pro to join the community and the conversation today including member only podcasts. Last but certainly not least – stay right here to check out Ryan Thrower’s highlight video from race weekend, you’ll be signing up for the 2024 race in no time!

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