I have been wanting to write about how Team Renegade came together. I realized to address how I pulled my dream team together I have to go back to the dream that started 15-20 years ago. I can’t believe it has been that long, but it was 20 years ago that Eco Challenge first aired on MTV of all places. I was in college and a certified nerd, but I knew I wanted to do one. After Eco Challenge then I watch Primal Quest and still knew I wanted to do one. Maybe my first step was running my first marathon in 2003 after identifying 4 years before I wanted to do one. Or maybe it was after coming back from a week long vacation at a resort in Manual Antonio in Costa Rica and realized what I would have prefered a week in the Costa Rican jungle instead?
It’s been a journey to follow my dreams and do things I once had no idea how to do such as run an ultra. Over 2 years ago I wrote a post after competing my first Winter Death Race about a part of this journey. You can find that post here Melody”s Death Race Journey. It’s a long read, but I feel it explains so much
Back to building Team Renegade In August 2014 my friend Chris Way that was my teammate for The Endeavor Team Challenge in 2013 and who has similar adventure dreams, brought to my attention that Primal Quest was coming back after 5 years and in Tahoe in my backyard. Initially there were discussions if it was really going to happen. Chris and I both had a dream to do an expedition style adventure race on a competitive team. We started to plan a team. One of the people we reached out to to see if they were interested was Joel Gat. Joel also had the same dream to do an expedition style adventure race and was in. However we will still one short of getting a 4th to commit. We had many interested, but that could not commit to a week long event a year in advance due to family or other obligations. We waited and followed the PQ announcements. I never gave up on forming my dream team, but I knew we needed to wait till closer to the event to find our 4th. I had someone in the back of my mind that I knew had the experience and would be there perfect 4th for our team. We had been introduced last summer by a mutual friend who thought we might make good training partners as we had the same passion for endurance races and adventures. That person was Justin Shook. I initially did not ask him as I know being in the military can make scheduling difficult and I knew I would have to wait till closer to the event. I finally did ask Justin to join the team and he agreed. Unfortunately by this point Chris had another commitment at the same time, so I had lost my initial co-captain for 4th member of the team. Being one short I reached back out to all the people Chris and I had originally reached out to and I started forming a list of new endurance athletes I knew who had the right skills and personality needed to round out our team. One of those was Richard Kresser. I had met Richard at a trail race a few years back that he ended up winning. Besides being a talented ultra/mountain runner I knew he was an adventurer/mountaineer first, so he had the experience in other disciplines besides running. Luckily Richard said yes and Team Renegade was formed!
Finishing Primal Quest will require pushing hard, patience, adapting and perseverance. The same set of skills it takes to turn a dream into a reality. These also happen to be critical skills when trying to find 4 talented athletes with the same goals, willing and able to commit to a week long endurance race.