Bill Beitler was one of the featured runners on Season 9 of Becoming Ultra. An endlessly curious child of the ‘60s, Bill took a 40-year break from his endurance athletics career to raise an amazing family and pursue a community banking career that lead to two successful stints as CEO at small midwestern banks. A competitive swimmer in his youth who specialized in the 200 individual medley before retiring at age 15, Bill took up running in a committed way at age 55 and successfully finished the Smith Rock Ascent 50k, his first ultramarathon at age 57 as a part of Becoming Ultra. Bill and his wife Terry are the “people” for two fantastic dogs, Toby and Josie, and currently call Cumberland, RI home.
We had a lot of fun interviewing one of our favorite people, who we are fortunate to call our friend. Bill is one of the most positive and supportive people to ever be a part of Becoming Ultra. In this episode Bill breaks down his first ultra experience as part of Becoming Ultra Season 9. We get into the benefits of a supportive community and friendships that form along the way. We also talk about trail camp and the impact it can have on you. We think you will love Bill as much as we do. Included is a piece Bill wrote about trail camp. Enjoy!
Desert Highlights Trail Camp – 2021
I was fortunate enough to take part in the first-ever Desert Highlights Trail Camp. This was, hands down, one of the most epic experiences of my life! Right from the start, as we stood at the base of Garfield Mountain and looked at the peak we were about to summit, I knew I was in for an adventure. Over the next three days, that adventure unfolded in ways that far exceeded my expectations and took me places I never would have thought possible. Scott and Lauren used their exceptional knowledge of the Western Slope to pick out challenging and breathtaking trails, and our runs (and scrambles and climbs and hikes) took me over 38 miles of the most stunning country I’ve ever experienced. Oh, and I conquered 7,500+ feet of vertical gain in the process! These were legitimate efforts, pushing me in ways that brought real growth, both physical and mental, and Scott and Lauren were there every step of the way, teaching us great warmup techniques, trekking pole usage, trail mastery and more. Better still, they were supportive coaches, pushing us to excel and believing in us through every single mile.
And Trail Camp was so very much more! Great accommodations, the awesome Western towns of Palisade and Fruita, amazing meals and spectacular vineyards and wine were all made better by my fellow campers. I’ve seldom been around such a positive, motivated and down-to-earth group of people, and we formed an unbelievable bond over these three short days! I will never forget our bike tour of the vineyards with a cool local distillery thrown in for good measure and our final night’s dinner and hot-tub session. We all agreed we couldn’t ever remember laughing so well and so long!
As you can see, Trail Camp was many things, but at its heart it was about wonderful people taking the time to enjoy each other and the magnificent natural world around us. It was about living life to the fullest!