Mark Morris - Smiling from Ear to Ear

By Greg Minter

Mark is the archetypal tall, lanky Texan. Sitting in a folding chair, you'd never know that he had just run 135 miles. With his finisher medal around his neck, we discover we have a mutual friend, Paul Stone, who had run the race several times before.

"I actually just slept for seven hours in Lone Pine. I was running about the same pace that Paul had done, but just needed to sleep. It was very demoralizing coming in to town last think the town is two or three miles away, but it's more like fifteen. When I turned onto Hwy 395 and found there were two miles to the hotel, I just felt terrible. So we decided to take a break and let me regroup."

Mark's Dad, who just retired from coaching track for some twenty-odd years, walks over and hands him a phone. "It's Paul," he says. "I'm feeling better. I could have probably gotten by on a little less sleep." They talk a little longer, but then lose reception in the granite hills. With a time of 45:23:58, he did earn the coveted Badwater Ultramarathon belt buckle, and looks pretty satisfied.

Mark had great support, bringing his entire family: father James, wife LeAnn, and kids Ashton, Alex, Anna, Meagan, and Tyler. The general consensus was that he'll need a new crew for next time. His father James said "We had so much fun we're never going to do it again."