One of the best elements of ultrarunning is the characters that exist within the sport.
There are names and places too numerous to mention within the realm of my experiences, but one who will always stand out is an icon and patriarch - Eric Clifton.
It would be possible to write on for pages regarding Clifton's accomplishments. He holds the course record at the JFK 50 mile at 5:46, and is also a winner at the brutal Badwater 130 mile desert run.
I first met Eric when living in Greensboro, North Carolina in the mid 1980's. He was a top triathlete and his wife at the time, Shelby, was a top competitor in the Race Across America (RAAM) ultra bicycling event.
I remember one occasion when Eric and Shelby rode 100 miles from Greensboro to Charlotte, raced in the triathlon there, and then rode home.
On another occasion, Clifton told me he was worried about a few pounds he had gained. He was doing 100+ mile weeks in the mountains of New Mexico and living on one bowl of ice cream a day.
I just love ultrarunning.
Eric went on to ultra greatness. He was a regular winner at many national events, in many cases going out like a rabbit with a win-or-implode attitude.
As the image at the right demonstrates, Eric is a bit on the flamboyant side. He has been making and marketing rather "unique" running apparel for some time...check it out at:
Eric now lives in southern California with his wife Noni. He hasn't been quite at the forefront of the ultra scene like he used to, but Clifton is still good for a top-10 finish at almost any event he chooses to enter.
It's characters like Eric Clifton who have make my life ultra-rich and ultra-rewarding.