Monday, September 21, 2009

Dr. Dave Terry -- RIP

The first time I met Dave Terry was at the Finish Line of the WS100 in 2001. I had just finished my first Western States and I was toast. Dave was there hanging out cheering people on and he came up to me as I was slumped in a chair, grabbed my shoulder and said, simply, "Good run, dude. Pretty tough out there, huh?"

Then, three years later at Western States I felt like Dave was leading the entire state of Oregon on an assault to beat me. I managed to hold him off and after he crossed the finish line he found me and said, once again, "Good run, dude. It was tough out there"

Fast forward to 2006: The "hot year" at Western States. After all of the usual pre-race hype we finally got off the starting line and began the climb up Squaw. I found myself stride for stride with Dave and thought it was a good time for conversation. It went something like this:

"So Dave, you think the heat's going to make this a rough day?" I said.
"Dude, this is going to be a classic! Mark my words, a classic!"

And, of course, he was right.

Then, a few months later, I found myself stumbling out of Lamb's Canyon at my first Wasatch. After about five minutes Dave and his pacer, Scott McCoubrey, caught up to me and my pacer Leland Barker. Dave and Scott were bantering on about this and that while Leland was trying to help me through a particularly pukey part of my day. As we made our way onto the singletrack Dave sidled up to me, took off his headphones and said, "Dude, it'll get easier after this. Do this climb with me and then you can take off." I'll never forget it. A few hours later I finished my first Wasatch and Dave finished his 9th (with his 10th to come the following year). His words of encouragment still echo in my head from time to time.

In 2007, Dave finished his 10th Western States in perfect, laid-back style and then pledged to give back to the race by volunteering as a medical volunteer for the next few years. He did that, for the first time, this past June. That, too, I will never forget.

After my finish around midnight this past year I hung around the medical tent taking in the scene and begging Dave for an IV (he didn't give me one saying I wasn't messed up enough:). Shortly before 1AM Krissy Moehl finished and needed a bit of medical help. After a couple minutes of treatment she had some sort of a spell and Dave was right there to respond. He jumped into action and cared for Krissy like she was his own sister. When the ambulance guys came to sweep Krissy away Dave assured them she was OK in his care and that he had everything under control. Needless to say, the ambulance guys left and Krissy was better 30 minutes later.

The next morning, with problems of my own, I went over to the medical tent to talk to John Vonhof about my trashed feet. It was 11AM and it was pretty hot. I looked up and there was Dave, still working medical, still in his running stuff, still working to put runners back together a day and half after he had last slept.

In his last appearance at Western States Dave Terry gave himself completely to the people and the sport he loved. He gave from his head and from his heart. He gave and gave and gave until nobody else needed him to give. Then, as he probably always did, he sidled off into the sunset with the Grateful Dead blaring and the memory of another great day on the trails behind him.

Ultrarunning brings together extraordinary people in extraordinary ways. The people who have chosen to find a path in this sport are truly the heart and soul of every event, workout and training run. When you decide to make running 100 miles through the mountains your hobby you tend to become more than just a person, you become part of something bigger than yourself and your actions speak louder than your words. Dave Terry was a man whose actions always spoke louder than his words and I, for one, will miss him.

Wherever you are, Dave, I hope your trails are rocky and rutted and the hills are all steep. Just the way you like them!

With Love,

AJW

13 comments:

Kendall K said...

When distilled to it's simplest expression, I hope to live my life so that I will be missed by friends and family when I am gone. Dr. Dave will be sorely missed.

Hank Dart said...

Sorry I never had the chance to meet someone so fondly remembered by those who knew him. Great tribute, Andy.

Brad Mitchell said...

I saw the post title and true to my nature said "WTF?"
I met Dave at Macdonald Forest 50k in 07, my first "ultra". Dave recieved his ten year finisher award that year. I saw Dave again at Waldo in 08 and while I looked at him with a stare that said we had met before, he was the first to speak and say "hello" and that we had met before.
I didn't really know Dave at all but the couple encounters I had were memorable. He made his mark on the sport and on the people involved, he will not be forgotten.
Great write-up Andy, I'm sure there will be many stories.

Gravityh said...

Dave was a great guy with tons of energy, always had an interesting perspective on things and was an extremely talented ultrarunner. The times I had hanging out with Dave at C4P and Hardrock are memorable. I was awed at his downhill running talent on the most technical of trails in Point Mugu State Park. At Hardrock we shared a cabin with other ultrarunners and had a chance to partake in his humor some great food he prepared for us. The next day I met up with him at mile 45 on the descent in to Grouse Gulch. I was worried I was moving to fast because I never see Dave in races... he is just too fast. He was having a low point but his attitude was still one of positive thoughts. He hung out at the next aid station for a few hours and then started up again... Dave finished the race with some back-of-the-packers and told me about how good of an experience it was to meet some new friends he had never run with before. Dave was an icon for me in my early ultrarunning days... he still is. May he rest in peace.
H'ard

Sophie Speidel said...

I was sorry to hear about this, Andy. Clearly Dave gave so much to this sport and will be missed by so many. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful tribute.

ultrastevep said...

Wow, Andy....I didn't know!

I was one of the BOP'ers at Hardrock that got to share some trail time with David. We were walking up Cataract Trail from Sherman in '08 and he introduced himself and I asked "Are you "The" David Terry?" He said "yeah, went out too fast today, have a good race"...and off he went up and on through Pole Creek.

Rest in peace, David...
Steve

hiroki said...

Andy. Hello. How are you?
This is Hiroki.

I understood Terry's truth from your blog. I was very shock. I am very regrettable in cannot meet his smile any longer. I am always alone toward the United States by the Japanese, and have run alone in the race. Terry called me always gently. And, he always gave me vigour. It is very sad that we cannot run any longer in the trail with such him. Always thank you for Terry. I do not forget his smile.

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