Diversified Employee Spotlights: Brian Henderson & Mike Keeling

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Brian Henderson and Mike Keeling, both Coach Operators for CNRL Albian in Fort McMurray, take the Core Values to the extreme outside of work and apply it to ultra-marathon running!

An ultra-marathon is a footrace longer than a traditional marathon of 42.195 KM. In the case of Brian and Mike, it means running, and crewing, 100 miles within the 33-hour time limit at The Lost Souls Marathon in Lethbridge, AB. It takes place September 7th and 8th and is a 300-person race through the river valley coulees.

The Runner: Brian is a proud 22 year retired veteran of the Canadian Military and has been with Diversified since 2010. Over the last few years Brian has been training and participating in ultra-marathons, and this year alone he has logged over 3,100 KM! Brian finds the time to balance work and to feed his passion for staying fit by working a split shift for Albian and running the beautiful Birchwood Trails between his shifts. Brian works remotely with a trainer out of Squamish, BC, and the Lost Souls Ultra-Marathon is part of his Dedicated training towards the Moab 240 Endurance Run in 2019, which is a 238+ mile footrace through deserts, canyons, slick rocks, and two mountain ranges in Utah.

“Running and staying fit has helped me stay focused, disciplined, committed, and simply ALIVE”. – Brian Henderson

The Crew: Mike is also ex-military and has the same ‘hurry up and wait’ mentality as Brian and has been with Diversified since 2013. He is well known as our official Diversified Santa Claus and is an absolute joy for our customers on the Christmas Light Tours that Diversified operates. Of course, he always shows up in full costume to the delight of staff and riders! In the recent Diversified Weight Loss Challenge, Mike worked hard and was pronounced our winner! Along with his stunning Positive Attitude, Mike is also an avid adventurer and is always looking for new challenges. When Brian mentioned the race off-handedly during pre-tripping one morning, it was a no-brainer that Mike jumped on the chance to volunteers as Brian’s crew for the big race. As this is Mike’s first time crewing a run like this, he has done some research into what the commitment really means. We will find out from Mike if “crew” actually stands for “Cranky Runner, Endless Waiting.”

The crew and runner Teamwork is what makes ultra-marathons possible – without the crew, the runner cannot hope to finish the race.

What you need to know about Crewing:

1. Plan for the unexpected. Being prepared and Resourceful helps the crew to remain calm and adjust to the changing situations on the fly.

2. Make lists, study maps, and know the rules. Knowing what the runner needs at each crewing station, whether it be snacks, gels, drinks, new socks, change of shoes, headlamps, or jackets is imperative to their success and their overall Safety during each leg of the race.

3. Stay focused and keep track of time. Crews are responsible for keeping Accountable to what the runner needs and when.

4. Plan for self-care. Remember to take care of yourself – ensuring you are eating, drinking, and resting when time allows.

5. Pack light and be familiar with the gear. The runner can only take so much with them and remain efficient and consistent in their run. To save time and have effective stops, the crew should know what gear is where and when it is needed so that they can get it for the runner when they need it.

6. Know when to give a runner tough love – and when not to. The crew needs to Respect and support the runner through the tough legs, by giving encouragement to move forward or the hard truth if they are unable to safely continue the race.

7. Have Fun! Crewing can provide some of the grandest running adventures in some of the most breathtaking parts of the world, often only accessible by foot. Enjoy it!

What this amazing runner and crew pair boils down to is Teamwork, Resourcefulness, Accountability, Safety, and Dedication. These two Diversified employees, Brian and Mike, have transferred Core Values into their personal lives and have both excelled at applying them with success!

Good luck at the Lost Souls Ultra-Marathon Brian and Mike!

 

BACKGROUND

The Lost Soul Ultra-Marathon takes place the weekend following Labour Day in Lethbridge, Alberta. The 100 mile (33 hours) and 100 km (21 hours) events start at 9:00 am Friday morning. The 50 km event starts at 7:00 am Saturday morning (11 hours). The trail course runs through the river valley coulees on public and private land. In this event, 300 ultra-marathoners race against each other, the elements, and the unrelenting hills. Less than 150 years ago, these valleys were the site of the last major First Nations battle on Canadian soil between the Blackfoot and Cree Confederacies.

The 54 km course resembles a pair of stacked figure-eights. The three aid stations are located at the intersection points with segment distances varying from 7 to 16 km. Elevation gain or loss is approximately 1,200 meters with 16 significant hills over the 54 km loop. Although we are on the prairies, our river valley can feel like the Grand Canyon. Top race times are around 4.25 hours for the 50 km, 11 hours for the 100 km and 19.5 hours for the 100-mile event.

The race organizers continue to keep the race small to maintain memorable running experiences. One racer commented: “Thank you to all the organizers and thanks and hugs to all volunteers, you made it possible for me to finish and enjoy spending time at each station. I will be back next year for sure.”

Lost Soul Ultra has maintained its status as a 100 km qualifier for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. We are the only 100 km event in Canada to act as a qualifier after the Western States reduced the number of qualifying races available in the world. 100 km qualifying time is under 21 hours.

For more information on the Lost Souls Race CLICK HERE