FYI: MCQ continues his guest-posting with us. He’s brilliant and witty in every way.
As I told you a week ago, some friends and I decided to run the 177 mile Wasatch Back Relay from Logan, Utah to Park City, Utah, in an attempt to memorialize and honor the family of my friend Chris and the example of forgiveness that he set for us. We started Friday at 9:00 am and finished Saturday at about 12:30 pm (in case you can’t tell: that’s not fast). Chris heroically insisted on running all of his assigned legs despite the fact that (unknown to him prior to Thursday) he had a lingering injury to his knee from his car accident. He will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair that injury.
Over the course of the race, we encountered temperatures ranging from over 100 to lower than 45 degrees. We slept less than three hours Friday night, after being short of sleep Thursday night as well. Some of the legs were at very high altitude; some were very steep, either up or down (some both). We experienced exhaustion and pain, dehydration and diarrhea. I got sick after my last leg and threw up in front of dozens of my fellow racers. I lost ten pounds in two days. It was fun…sort of, but there were times we may have asked (if only to ourselves), “Why are we doing this again?”
The tough parts of this effort were tough indeed, but we also got to spend some time together, which, for friends who have known each other for 25 years (some even longer) but who typically don’t see each other more than a few times a year, that was a real pleasure. All of the old jokes were still funny, though there are some new ones since the time that we were all freshmen in college (thank goodness).
After it was over, we hugged Chris and went our separate ways and I wondered whether this effort accomplished its stated purpose. Did we honor Chris’s family and his example, or did we just create enough lactic acid to power Las Vegas? What is it that makes us think that suffering is an appropriate way to honor others, especially the dead? Is it a Mormon thing? Does the Pioneer Trek honor the Pioneers or just amuse them? Is this gift acceptable?
 A re-enactment of part of the journey of the Pioneers from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake
Valley; performed by hundreds (perhaps thousands) of Mormon youth and leaders every summer.