After a much discussed Survival Run in Nicaragua, the race director Josue Stephens announced that he was bringing a similar event to the United States. Survival Run: Hunter Gatherer 50k & 100k took place few weeks ago in Texas, and the social media outlets are still chattering about the brutal terrain.
The races that Josue organizes are hot, hot hot – and not just in the temperature sense – do not go further than the Fall 2013 of TrailRunner. Alex Kurt in his feature article “Running through Fire” refers to Nicaragua’s Fuego Y Agua as “a trail-running experience like none other”.
In today’s post, I am happy to present the man himself, as he talks about the origin of the egg obstacle, how he started organizing races, and what it’s like to grow up with 10 siblings.
What is your name?
Josue Antonio Stephens
Where are you from?
I was born in Burbank, CA, and currently live in Austin, TX.
How old are you?
What is your background? Sport? How did you become a race director?
I grew up living and traveling around Central America, Mexico, Canada and the US. Many times we lived in campers or tents in the mountains, forest or jungle. With 10 siblings living together in these types of situations and no TV, we were very outdoorsy.
Growing up I trained for an ultra between the ages of 11 and 12 with my dad, played soccer in high school, rock climbed, mountain biked, hiked and did pretty much everything outdoors.
In a nutshell, at the age of 25, I decided I wanted to get into ultras again, so in 2007 I entered my first. I then ran multiple ultras through the fall of 2007 and 2008, including winning and placing in the top 10 for several regional races. I have since run several ultras per year, 50k to 100 miles, a few marathons, Spartan Races (10th at Ultra Beast) and Joe Deckers SUCK event.
I was hooked! I had been traveling to an island in Nicaragua since 2003 and immediately knew I wanted to do an event there. The terrain was brutal and the culture was intriguing.
In 2008 I put on a “trial run” of the Fuego y Agua Ultras by doing a donation based entry. We had 27 people and a great time. After that I began putting the event on yearly with continued growth.
In 2012, a good friend and inspiration of mine, Micah True, also known as Caballo Blanco, passed away. We had been in touch since 2007, and I had run the race in the Copper Canyons in 2008. Once he passed away, the big question was “who is going to keep this race going?” I decided with my experience, passion for Latin America and love of ultras, I would help continue the race. With the help of Micah’s girlfriend Maria Walton, who heads up the Norawas nonprofit, we have brought the race back and continued the traditions.
Since then, I have been busy full time expanding the idea of extreme endurance events with a philanthropic twist. My goal is to create events that are much more than “show up, get a shirt, race, get a medal, and leave.”
Read the full interview at www.solovieva.com