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  • 07/22/2005
  • WildlandFire.com Team
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On July, 3rd I was making an ultra-distance run for my birthday, and at about mile 30 or so, during a moment of runner high bliss, I had a wonderful idea. And here it is!

On Sept. 3rd, 2005 at 0700 I will set out on a 52 mile run from Fox Air Attack base in Lancaster, CA. The exact route isn’t known at this time, because I need to check out the suitability of the roadsides I have ideas for, and confirm mileage. But the idea is to have fire stations, or wildland fire related points along the route. It will most likely be in and through the Angeles National Forest. I will have a back-up route in case….well, for instance….there is a fire where I want to go. Once I have confirmed the route, I will let everyone know.

Why Sept. 3rd, you ask? Well, no reason really. Symbolically, I felt it should be during fire season. And quite frankly, I like running in the heat. I had originally planned on a bit earlier, but I think this will give everyone a chance to decide if they wish to pledge. I’m kind of hoping for a lull at that time between the Northwest cooling down and the Santa Ana’s kicking up.

This run is intended to reflect the “52 Club”. In order for the WFF to benefit, we would like to ask the wildland firefighter community to pledge. Folks it’s just like when we were all kids in school and had a “walkathon”. People would pledge whatever they felt comfortable with, on a “per mile” basis. After the run is completed the referee will confirm with Vicky that it was completed, and the pledge money would be sent directly to the WFF.

The Rules:

1. The course must be completed in 14 hours. If I don’t, you pay only for the mileage completed at the 14 hour mark. 

So within that 14 hours, I can walk (trust me no one can run 52 miles without walking some) and stop for quick rests (change socks, etc.) But remember, the point is to raise money, so it would not benefit the WFF for me to walk and sit around for 14 hours. A distance like this would normally be a 12 hour cut-off time, but because I’m planning on running normal roads that, of course, will be open to normal traffic, I want to pad for unknowns. It should take, if all goes normal between 9 and 11 hours.

I will have a support team that will provide food, fluids and medical aide (blister popping, etc.). I’ve asked Tony Duprey to be the referee. He is well known and respected, and I’m sure a good motivator at the 45 mile mark. Anyway he has agreed to help us out. If for some reason he is unavailable due to fire assignment, we’ll find someone.

If anyone happens to be in the area on that day, please feel free to stop by Fox or along the route. Trust me the further along in the run, the more entertaining I will be, and as anyone who’s done big races can tell you, there’s nothing like spectators along the route.

Vicki Minor wanted me to tell everyone a little about myself. I’ve never been real comfortable with bios, but here goes.

Currently I’m an Air Tactical Supervisor, for the BLM. Before that I was an Alaska Smokejumper, and before that I was with the USFS with the Fulton Hotshots on the Sequoia NF. I also spent three summers working for the Kern Co. FD on an engine. In the spring of 2000, I injured my back during a rescue operation in Alaska. After two major operations, I now have a couple of pounds of titanium and a complete fusion of the lumbar spine, and constant lower back and hip pain. This of course limits many activities that I can do. However on a whim this past winter, I decided to run the Los Angeles Marathon, and while training for that, I realized that running didn’t make my back hurt more. It didn’t necessarily make it hurt less either, but I found something I could do. I also realized, after my performance in the LA Marathon that speed as not really going to work for me. Of course, many will tell you, it never really has. So if speed will be no friend of mine, then maybe endurance and distance would. That would be the route I would take. A perfect sport for plodders. So that’s me folks….not much there.

I am in contact with Vicki and the WFF, and I am not sure how she plans to set up the pledging, collection, etc. But I’m sure that will be worked out. I wanted to get this out so that many that are out on fires will have a chance to see this.. We’ve got just over a month.

Depending on how this goes; how much money we can raise, and how much support we can get…….there is the possibility for “52×2” in the summer of 2006. 52×2 means just that; 104 miles. Location and time limits to be determined. Unless I can get Dean Karnazes to be my personal trainer, I don’t see a “52×3”…..But who knows???

More later.
Kenneth C. Perr
Great idea KCP. We’ll post updates from the road.


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