Can’t we just let them be and celebrate what they choose to invest themselves in, instead of wearing sackcloth and ashes because there aren’t enough black people (what, at least 12% representation means we’ve overcome systemic racism?) The Ice Age Trail is a 1,200 mile (1,900 km) trail in Wisconsin so called because of the geologic features left behind by the glaciers that once covered Wisconsin. Yes, your position is clear. Let’s see for the next FKT or race! It was his first time flying to a race, and he forgot a pair of racing shorts. He started on the trail’s west side, where the first 400 miles are fairly remote. There are 11 National Scenic Trails in the USA. I didn't cover the mileage that I needed to, but I was still able to keep my ankle moving. What can truly help the black community more: anti-racism training for the police force or even dismantling police departments, or something like reforming the welfare system that has led to the breakdown of the black family which is linked to so much of the problems that plague the black community (e.g. All the profiles are available on the website! “I trained for some of my best races, like the Western States 100, on the Ice Age Trail. But it is not easy. And I don’t think your assessment that the treatment that Coree received from Wisconsinites is proof that it’s become “so progressive” is right. Less than a month later, the rest of the world met Woltering up close after Amazon released Eco-Challenge Fiji, where he raced with Team Onyx – the first all-black team in expedition racing. We all judge our friends, spouses, and life partners by these metrics – there is no one who doesn’t! At the same, I’d be willfully blind to not notice the underrepresentation of BIPOC folks in our sport. Thanks for the time you put into your reply. Why can’t rational people discuss issues like that without being shouted down as racists? If this piece is indeed a result of a shift in thinking, I welcome it joyfully! My other daughter’s classmates say she is going to hell because she doesn’t go to church. Of course, due to living in homogeneous communities and thus lacking in many cross-cultural experiences, they are bound to have misconceptions. It took 21 days, 13 hours and 35 minutes – along with 14 pairs of shoes – for 30-year-old Ottawa, Illinois, native Coree Aussem-Woltering to run the entirety of the 1,147-mile Ice Age Trail. The trail wasn’t too wet, but the spiderwebs, mosquitoes, and ticks were really making me rethink this June start. But Woltering’s experience was far different than what the news reflects. All of the positive stories that we have from what happened out there truly make me think we will be okay as a country.”, [Author’s Note: The original phrase “gay marriage” was updated to “his marriage with his husband.” We apologize for using a phrase that inherently reinforces inequality between marriages of various sexual orientations, which was not our intention. I’m a fan of supporting trail systems and supporting people exploring outdoors, no matter what that may be for them, whether that’s section-hiking for three to five miles at a time or thru-hiking,” he says. Photo: Carly Ries, Morgan Tilton is an adventure journalist who writes about the outdoors with a focus in travel, industry news, and human endurance. Thank you for putting this there – well done! Great article and runner! Should people be judged by their skin color or their sexual orientation? I’m also proud that our sport is very open-minded and full of love. At the beginning of June, people of all ethnicities and races gathered for protests statewide. This has not been true in the broad history of American and not in the last twenty years. So while I don’t at all doubt that you’ve heard private racist comments living there in the South, they aren’t the crux of the matter for me. After all, you’re only human and learning from experience is what we as humans do. We can’t have productive conversations if we are oversimplifying the conversation. 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It’s not satisfying to read terrible news about violence or racism. Of course I endorse it !!! The 30-year-old had to deal with ticks during the early stages of the run. "I was eating and drinking condensed chicken soup, Spaghettios and was eating all this stuff cold, not even heating it up, just eating it cold on the side of the trail," he laughed, saying he consumed between 6,000 to 8,000 calories a day. I’m trying to get this job done. But, those folks are almost never honest about this in public. My family went to Greenville College, so I was expected to go there. Regarding the identification of “gay marriage:” that was important to include here to identify to the reader that Coree felt support in his identity of sexual orientation but not necessarily in the age gap within his partnership. Fans were able to follow his run on a live tracker and he regularly updated posts to his blog and, Although such attention came as a surprise, it was the perfect opportunity to raise money for the volunteers who maintain the trail, and for. Born and raised in Ottawa, Illinois, Woltering was always a runner. Thank you so much. Because, I still don’t know I’ve had enough time to fully think about all of this…. Take care. Thank you for the opportunity to learn with us.]. in distance running (or chess or water polo or children’s literature, or, or, or)? He also chipped off the men’s previous supported record, by close to 17 hours, which was formerly set by Jason Dorgan. Do I genuinely wish that the “overwhelming majority” of rural America was “loving and accepting”? So using that example really doesn’t allow you to make your point. Also, there is no “right” way to view race or sexuality – you should open your mind to the idea that other ideas may be complementary to yours. August 20, 2020 8:14 AM. Coree finished this FKT in 21 days, 13 hours, and 35 minutes. And if you are a black, brown, or gay liberal, the idea that good news about acceptance would upset you–well, that’s crazy talk. Do you know how many social issues there are in this country? Thank you, Nick. Despite having relatively little preparation time, he set off with just a small support team in tow -- including his husband Tom. "But when you're doing something of this magnitude, you're just using whatever you can to keep going.". I am not saying that I don’t see color in people or that I can understand fully the experiences of those who are not of my tribe. But I do think we should look to what most Americans have done or not done (as opposed to what they might think or say), rather than what a few bad apples in the headlines have done—which again points to the importance of the dominant narrative in America. A Black-person story. Then, he called me on the way and said, ‘I’m flying into Minneapolis, Minnesota, and they are closing down certain streets [for the protests]. Are most Americans hateful and unaccepting?”. I could not be more thankful to the people of Wisconsin for what they did. I was like, ‘Here we go!’ And ‘Speedo Man’ was born. First, I don’t know how you could interpret my comments as my saying this is all about me. He also played soccer and baseball through school but his love for running soon took center stage -- he would turn up purposely late for baseball practice so his coach would make him run as a punishment. Ultimately, Woltering says, “An openly gay, Black man passed through the [rural] communities of Wisconsin. I don’t think every company/website must make a stand on every social issue or else be guilty of supporting some sort of systemic injustice by its silence. I wanted to be flexible and adaptable. Gay couples are tolerated by some. Could you agree with that? But Coree Woltering isn’t most people. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email (required) (Address never made public) On June 1, Coree Woltering started running at the western terminus of the Ice Age Trail in St. Croix Falls. As the born-and-raised Illinoisan navigated this route in Wisconsin, which creates a winding hook between the state’s west boundary at St. Croix Falls and Potawatomi State Park out on the Door County peninsula of the state’s east side, Woltering’s daily menu included 8,000 calories in gas-station hamburgers and didn’t stop there. This is a balance we’d like to achieve going forward. This is probably a good place to leave things. (And btw, saying “sexual preference” rather than sexual orientation was a huge red flag that Ron was not engaging in good faith.) They’re happy that he and his husband have been accepted by his friends and the running community. View all posts by Morgan Tilton. Ludvig – do you endorse this piece and the coverage of diverse participants in our little sport? He improvised and threw on his Speedo bathing suit instead. My daughter’s soccer teammates ask me if I’m from China. Of those, most spend two to three months hiking. Sorry, not going to “open my mind” to ideas like Ron’s. We are going after this FKT. Do you find it hard to imagine this story being aired in video form on NBC Nightly News or CNN? You didn’t mean every social issue? I am asking in good faith. Coree Woltering on his Ice Age Trail FKT, Catcalls, & Tick Removal (Ep.67) September 22, 2020 by Jonathan Ellsworth Coree Woltering on his way to setting the FKT for the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin. Earlier this year, he set a record for the fastest-known time on the 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin. "I can do anything for 10 seconds," he told CNN Sport. What are you craving?’ I said, I’d love lasagna and red-velvet cupcakes. Staying focused on the task ahead did become difficult with so much swirling around him but he felt it was the right thing to do. Woltering, a Black, gay man, ran the route’s rugged singletrack, town streets, and segments of private property during one of the most historic times of civil and human rights unrest in the modern United States—coupled with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Can you consider that maybe some of those commenters are perhaps conservatives or rural Americans? On June 21, 30-year-old ultrarunner Coree Woltering finally stopped running after setting the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the 1,147-mile Ice Age Trail that winds its way through the state of Wisconsin. “I was born into a family that went to church. In the spring of 2016, Woltering ran the Down to Run Endurance Challenge 50k in Florida. Great article! “I couldn’t care less about the color of your skin or the preference of your sexuality” is such a loaded sentence, I am really disappointed that you didn’t pick up on how problematic it is. This dialogue has actually been very encouraging to me, as it seems so much more productive than the images I’ve been seeing in most of the media. The 30-year old has his sights set high, as he attempts to run the entire 1,147-mile trail in just 20 days or less. “I would totally do it again now to see if can do it faster. If you read the comments you’ll see that people are in fact thrilled to read about Coree because he’s black and gay and a great runner. However, given the current U.S. movement against racial injustice, you will see the voices of Black runners uplifted in that particular column. This is my big beef with rural America: the proud, vocal racists or anti-gays are few. People choose what they like, whether it be sports, cars, cereal, underwear, etc. S.K., I am trying very hard not to use any knee-jerk labels or generalizations. And my takeaway from Morgan’s article is that whatever opinions the Wisconsinites had about blacks or gays, they showed hospitality and care toward Coree. But at times, when he stopped off at any public locations, he wore one. And during Woltering’s time in Colorado, he discovered ultrarunning when he paced a friend at the 2014 Leadville Trail 100 Mile. When the couple does travel together for his races, they typically fly in, race, and then hit the ground running to see all of the historic sites and art museums. this article is long overdue and it makes obvious that it has been published here because of recent and systematic racism in us. Coree Woltering has recorded the fastest known time for running the near 1200-mile Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin. Aussem-Woltering was fresh off setting the fastest known time at the 1,147-mile Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin when he spoke to Out, in fact. There will eventually be a full 1,200 miles. This FKT is only the beginning for him. Members of the local community would join him on sections of the route which cuts through some of the most beautiful places in the country. And let’s not forget that even in running, it’s clear what black Americans largely choose to participate in: the sprint events as opposed to ultramarathons. If I’m sending my crew, which includes a black gay dude and a white gay dude, and I don’t know what’s going on in Northern Wisconsin at this time. Instead, when given the chance, they will do the right thing and offer help. The Ice Age Trail starts in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, and ends in Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay. "If that doesn't work, then you just tell yourself left, right, left, right and that's what you just keep saying over and over and over. Such a feat of … If so, why not? They in fact looked to make each of these victims responsible for their own deaths. Now, there are opportunities that come up with shorter notice, so we’ll have someone else there for me as crew,” says Woltering. If you can’t imagine that or believe that, then I think it makes productive discussion very difficult. It took 21 days, 13 hours and 35 minutes – along with 14 pairs of shoes – for 30-year-old Ottawa, Illinois, native Coree Aussem-Woltering to run the entirety of the 1,147-mile Ice Age Trail. This is observable in everything from the history of our police forces, to housing loan policies, to redlining, to educational curriculums, to the literal design of bridges. At the same time, I also ask myself “why has this site said nothing of the uprising we’re seeing all over this country and the world?” “Why has IRF remained silent when so many other companies and brands have spoken in support of Black and brown communities?” It breaks my hear to think that we don’t care. As the born-and-raised Illinoisan navigated this route in Wisconsin, which creates a winding hook between the state’s west boundary at St. Croix Falls … Thank you, Morgan, it is much appreciated! Coree Woltering. If systemic racism is so entrenched in America, how can those good people and good actions exist? Also, it’ll be friendly invitations and actions (e.g. I know people (and you probably do as well) who circulated racist memes about President Obama or Michele Obama. You’re just Coree.’ I thought, Isn’t there supposed to be a big moment?”. They don’t discriminate, they don’t harm them, they don’t swear at them. The ultrarunner shattered the record for running the 1,147-mile Ice Age Trail in one shot. In 2018, Feeding America provided 4.3 billion meals. At print, he is signed up for the Javelina Jundred, which has not yet been canceled. The duo married that summer. Fun fact! <3. It doesn’t always go in a straight line, heading west, east and south, twisting and turning. (Heck, maybe even a few of them were policemen. Woltering’s running eventually inspired him to try triathlons. Our local food bank uses Feeding America as do some in the [Midwestern cities of the] Quad Cities, Chicago, and Wisconsin. People were doing anything they could to help me succeed. Yes, there is still much room for improvement, but I for one am very proud to be from the U.S. of A. That agenda is absolutely coming from the left, and that’s what I meant when I said those with that agenda would not be happy to see this article. What if I’d written something like, “Sure there are some good people among the black urban youth, but most people and their belongings would not feel safe around them.” You might think that my statement is somehow terrible and racist while yours is just an experience-based observation, but if so, I’d challenge you to ask why that is. I believe that it's really important to have representation," he said. Wow, let’s see, where to start? He’s an incredibly positive soul. Let’s do this,” he says. In the long-term, the Ice Age Trail is not yet complete. Woltering started his three-week effort on June 1. That would be awesome,” he says. In my comment, I absolutely was not trying to reinforce that systematic racism and bigotry does not exist; nor was I supporting Ron in his assumption that “most of us do not care” about color of skin or sexuality, as I personally think the latter invalidates that fact that biases are systematic regardless of our individual intentions. If you donate $10, that is potentially 100 meals. They aren’t angry that you (who I guess is representing aggrieved white America) are getting your redemption. ), I don’t know if Ron represents “aggrieved white America” as you suggested–btw, you might want to ease up on your knee-jerk labels and generalizations–but as an Asian-American, I am also tired of the media/celebrity/elite-driven narrative that ignores the reality of the existence and actions of those Wisconsinites. I have lived in the Chicago suburbs and in urban Chicago and I prefer country life. The fact is, this is a rare, accurate depiction of the overwhelming majority of our nation as a loving and accepting community. I also agree that racism and homophobia are not the greatest sins in America. “I’ve been lucky enough to always have food on the table. A meal of red velvet cupcakes and lasagna, cooked for him by a supporter, still lives fondly in his memory. The very notion that what’s happening is something that one can be silent about is fundamentally a political one, and one that is available only to those of us who are white. RWD, I didn’t see Ron deny the existence of racism. This is a deficit we are committed to correcting, and I invite you to read the article we published a few weeks ago which discusses what we’ve learned about our previous mistakes and our commitment going forward. Perhaps you meant only those social issues that you think is important and that you’re convinced you’re on the right side on. “[My friends all] said, ‘We always thought you were gay.’ Then, when I came out to people back home, I thought it would be this giant thing. irunfar or any other website wouldn’t have time to address them all. But I actually don’t think that’s the case. 3) Because I believe point #2 to be true, I don’t think it’s useful to play the thought-police game, legislate morality, or engage in cancel culture because someone made a joke or holds an opinion that’s outside of group-think. Here is Woltering’s fundraiser page for Feeding America donations, and here is Woltering’s fundraiser page for the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Of course I understand that racism still exists, and we should do everything we can to correct that, but I don’t think the solution is to constantly push an agenda that promotes hate and divisiveness. Coree and Tom can’t just stop in a typical small town cafe in rural America and act like a loving, married couple without considerable worry. He now has a frightening back catalog of ultramarathons and blistering times, which are a testament to both his physical and mental fortitude. Is that wrong? - Coree Woltering, Ice Age Trail Record Holder After this amazing accomplishment, Coree told us: “I believe King Buddha CBD was a huge help! ‘Hey, Black people, gay people, the LGBTQ community—we all love the outdoors. Should we acknowledge the reality that people are judged based on those immutable characteristics? I bet you could DM him on Instagram and he’d respond :). Remember that in private, middle and wealthy conservatives make fun of rural folks plenty. Like Dylan sang, the times they are a-changin’…. I’m delighted to see him featured in such an in-depth piece, highlighting BOTH! However, I agree that in everyday speech it’s essential to normalize ‘gay marriage’ as ‘marriage.’. Though, for the past ~1.5 years, I’ve covered the monthly column “WeRunFar”with profiles of individuals from all over the world. What a great article–I wish I found this sooner. Brown and black people would not feel safe running out in public in a speedo. Almost none. SUBSCRIBE NOW $3 for 3 months. “People were like, ‘Hey, how are you healing? I am trying to dig up your story on UltraRunning magazine right now but it’s locked!! But in private plenty of people (close friend groups or families or social media friend groups) will openly admit that they don’t like blacks, Latinos, or Muslims. 3 talking about this. “Speedo Man” racing at the 2019 The North Face Argentina 50k. I’m happy to provide concrete examples to any point I’ve made. Ultramarathon Training: A Guide to Everything, Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons, Lacking Diversity… and How to Change That. Congrats Coree on your FKT! Anything that disrupts their narrative is infuriating to them, because they in fact don’t really want a color-blind society. And seriously, I cannot believe that you believe that the overwhelming majority of Americans are loving toward and accepting of gay marriage. Ever think about running the entire 1,200 miles of the Ice Age Trail? Finally, since you brought it up, I would genuinely like to know how you think Ron should “push to be better”. The Ice Age Trail group is for trail users of the 1,000-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail. "Hopefully when people see me in a magazine or in an ad for The North Face, some kid will see that and be like, 'Cool, there are people that look like me doing this sport' and then maybe want to try it.". I wish you/your family (or any person) didn’t experience any of those hurtful comments. Because those are really the only two options available. Joel Patenaude. Again, I’m speaking very specifically here. Also during his college years, Woltering was back home for a visit when mutual friends introduced him to his future husband, Tom Aussem, 51, who also grew up in Ottawa. Woltering completed the task in 21 days, 15 hours and 35 minutes. Are most Americans hateful and unaccepting? Everyone was like, ‘Yeah, okay, and…? And brown, black, and gay people aren’t flocking to rural America because of how open-minded it is. This country is full of hate and divisiveness right now, but you know that it’s coming from both sides. But by and large, “It’s not everything you see in the mainstream news. “I ended up coming out to friends in Colorado,” says Woltering. Along with the challenges came moments he won't forget in a hurry. The trail was usually wide enough that he didn’t need to wear a mask, to help prevent the spread COVID-19. Racism and racists certainly exist here—though having lived/traveled outside of the US for more than half my life, I can say that there’s far less of it here than in most of the world—but I think it’s an unfair stretch to go from the actions of a few bad policemen to say that the entire structure of America is racist. I respectfully refer you to our archives for significant previous coverage of Black-identifying trail runners and ultrarunners from all over the world, both in and out of competitive situations, including in Ethiopia, Morocco, South Africa, Reunion and Rodrigues Islands, Europe, and the USA. Coree and husband Tom Aussem celebrating Pride Month in June. And why are you suggesting that “hate and divisiveness” is only coming from the left? “I had not come out at the point when we met. Woltering received widespread support when he announced his marriage with his husband, though it hasn’t all been easy. Of course people care, because, as people, they’ve experienced certain things and have learned/heard certain things growing up, and it’s impossible to cognitively or emotionally ignore those things. And so the mostly white rural midwesterners need not be singled out as being somehow more racist or mean than the urban black or the progressive elite. I hit a rough patch less than 10 miles in, and my pacer, Abe, stepped up. Ultra Runner. (You said: “Rather than try to condemn/punish people for opinions they might have, I think it’s more useful and fair to look at how they behave.”) I strongly disagree with you on this point, S.K. Ultra trail runner and professional athlete Coree Woltering, of Ottawa, Ill., is attempting to break the record for the Fastest Known Time logged on the Ice Age Trail. inviting someone to go on a run, helping someone make their first training plan, going on runs with someone) that’ll win converts, not writing white-guilt articles about the lack of diversity. Is it white policemen or black gang members? No way! A lesbian couple lives down the road from us. Not content with seeing his training go to waste, the athlete took on the crazy challenge of recording the fastest known time across the. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. He pursued a biology degree and ran Division III track and cross country in the 400- through 3,000-meter events. I love Coree!! Despite many race cancellations, Woltering has also managed to race several times in 2020. Just a couple of thoughts before I get to your reply to my comment. Thanks again for your thoughtful reply. "I figured that if I give myself a bigger purpose to run for, then when things get really hard, it's going to make it easier to continue on," he said. If it becomes a full 1,200 miles, I would run it, and I’d love to see what they could do [with the trail extension]. I know plenty of racists and people who think homosexuality is a sin. At the same time, it made sense for him during that stage of life. Instead of arguing that everything’s fine, push to be better. Can you imagine that your comment would upset a very large number of people who do their best to treat everyone equally, who do not see blacks or gays as subhuman? He is also an African American, and he said, ‘I would absolutely love to be a part of what you’re doing, because of the times.’ The really hard part was, I was trying to not have the times become something about what I was doing at the time I was doing it. “I continued to train on a lot of the southern sections of the trail. This has always been true of small town America and it’s mostly true in the rest of the rural world as well (change comes slow; outsiders are not always welcome). Following in the footsteps of his mom, aunt, and uncle, he attended Illinois’s Greenville College (now called Greenville University), located a few hours south of Ottawa, on an academic scholarship. Each dollar donated provides up to 10 meals, which is insane. Neither are treated or thought of as normal by most. She works with close to 50 publications. Let’s keep it real. As a lifelong coastal urban hip dude I’m finding my geographic bias being tweaked here: when did Wisconsin become so progressive? I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed when Coree does not run in his Speedo though! Do you think we should judge people by their skin color and sexuality?” You just pretended that the commenter RWD said or suggested something like this, when this is not at all true. And I understand how anyone who has heard racist or ignorant comments would mistrust the community from which those comments came. Coree Woltering spent most of June running. But I think that this article goes against the “only whites and most whites are guilty of racism” narrative that’s pushed by the left-dominated media/elite/celebrity culture in America. Again, just twenty years ago, conservative groups were outraged that the Ellen show was portraying homosexuality as a normal lifestyle. But I agree with you about anybody getting shouted down. His is most cherished meals were gifted by supporters, who followed along virtually and showed up in-person during his journey. 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