Photo Credit Mike Wheeler


Conversation and connection. Friday at Zumbro is by far and away the slowest, most mellow day we have between the handful of races we produce. Having just 40 runners spread out over a 17 mile race course creates a lot of ‘down time’ between each runner. What stood out to me during that time this year were the conversations I had, and the conversations I overheard. Like many of you I am sure, I find myself in plenty of social situations where the conversation does not come easy, or is just not that interesting to me. What never ceases to amaze me is the commonality, humor, and depth I quickly find with those that attend these races. These conversations are sometimes about running, but often about much more. Zumbro 2023 was another great reminder of how much I love and appreciate the people in this community, and how much I see you loving and appreciating one another.

Another thing I chewed on during the race this year is our ‘volunteer system’. I Sometimes have a little doubt creep in when we are all sleep-deprived in those wee hours or are bone tired in the final hours of an event. I volunteer for a couple of organizations, so instead of being the volunteer coordinator as I am for our events, I also have the opportunity to be among the ‘coordinated’. Each organization does it differently, some admittedly with more structure and specificity than I do. What I have learned over the years about those that volunteer with us is that they are extremely intelligent, highly skilled individuals, and that 9 times out of 10 will come up with better and more efficient ways of doing things than I could have ever prescribed. I have simply learned that if we get enough people in the right positions and then get out of the way, they will not only do what needs to be done, but will create the magic that our events are known for… read; Cheri and I pull together the ingredients, but you are the ones that make the special sauce! I hope this system works / continues to work for you – that said, if you ever have any questions, concerns or feedback, I am all ears.

I feel extremely fortunate to get to do this with you. I am humbled that you continue to choose to do this with us. Our entire running community is grateful for your dedication and service.

Thank You,

John Storkamp
Race Director
Zumbro Endurance Run