In 2008 I was at the San Francisco Marathon expo and doing what most of us do, I was wandering around looking at the booths. I came across a gentlemen sitting at a table selling a book he had written about running. I stopped at the table, said hello, looked at the book and moved along. About five minutes later I thought: "I should go back and get that book." I'm not really sure why I was drawn back to that table, yet alone back to that book. I had never seen the book before, or met the man that wrote or heard anything about him.
So I went back and bought the book: "My Life on the Run." He asked me if I would like him to sign it... i said sure, thanked him and went about my day. Little did I know that I had just interacted with a running icon. A man, that I'm, ashamed to admit, I had no idea about or who he was to the running community.
Later that year I read the book and learned all about the legend that is Bart Yasso. His adventures, how Yasso 800's came to existence and was instantly motivated. I wanted to do those things. I wanted to experience that same excitement on my running adventures. I friended Bart on Facebook assuming (like most celebrities) we would get updates and not much interaction. I posted this photo (above) and tagged Bart, saying that I was enjoying the holiday season with a good book and coffee. Little did I know, that I would get this response from Bart in my comments:
Running, books and coffee that is the trifecta. Bart
Blew my mind. The cool thing about Bart is that he is always accessible and interacts with the running community. You can ask him a question, tag him in a post and (usually) you'll get a response back or a 'thank you.'
In early 2009, my sister was training for her first marathon and raising money for Team in Training. I wanted to host a raffle to help her raise money and since I had enjoyed Bart's book so much, I wrote Bart an email to see if I could buy a couple of his books and asked him to autograph them. He kindly donated the two books to the cause and shipped them my way. Amazing. He made two winners extremely excited.
I then met Bart again later in 2009 at the Big Sur Expo. This time I was ready. I had my camera, wanted to thank the man in person and was prepared for celebrity interaction. Down to earth as usual, we chatted and he wished me luck on the race and snapped a photo with me. He even made a comment about thinking my handle Pavement Runner was "pretty cool" considering most people go by trail runner, road runner... he liked that I used pavement. A comment he has since made to me on other occasions. We always smile about it.
Here is a blurb from my 2009 Big Sur Race Report:
Random moment of the race: being escorted by a motorcycle cop, a Lexus SUV was making it's way past us (slowly). The license plate said RUNHER 1, so I made way to see who was in it. The car wasn't traveling fast and hanging out the back seat window was one Mr. Bart Yasso talking with runners as the car made it's way down the road. The car's speed was slow, so he was holding casual conversations with runners who were willing to chat. Pretty cool moment. I think I stayed within ear shot for maybe a half mile.
That was one of my favorite moments in my race history. It really doesn't get much better than running the beautiful Big Sur course, next to a running icon chatting with runners from his car. A moment that might never repeat itself.
Okay, one more photo. Here is Bart and I in 2010 at the San Francisco Expo. He usually attends that particular expo and of course was willing to snap a photo with me. Bart and I were working on a radio/podcast project earlier that year so we chatted about some ideas we had. Sadly we eventually left the program, but it was great to interact with him on a regular basis on a side project. Who knows, maybe we'll work together again in the future. (Runner's World office in San Francisco? I know a great graphic and web designer willing to make that dream come true... hint hint)
Thank you for all that you do Bart. You continue to motivate and inspire people simply by being who you are and sharing what you love. Happy Birthday and may all your wishes come true. Cheers, to many more birthdays and many more miles.
Share your Bart Yasso experiences below. What was you favorite moment with him?