Profiles of Participants

Some of the participants in the 2022 Banana Slug Backyard Ultra are featured below. See the complete roster for a complete list of participants.

Glenn Armstrong
Not Glenn Armstrong

Here’s a picture of “not me” but it’s how I feel while training through soccer playing with guys at work. I feel I am way out of my league with this race but I guess that’s how everyone feels when they do something new. I’ve trained half of what I should which is twice what I’ve been motivated to so I guess I’m ready. I’ve worked hardest on the taper and the carb loading this week. I’m actually pretty jazzed to do this event and am pleased the weather looks good. My goal it to run at least a marathon length anything after that is farther than I’ve ever run so will count as a plus in my book. I’d be over the moon if I get 2 marathons in and hit the 50 (my age) plus mile mark. Should be fun and challenging. I sure do feel good right now with all the easy running I’ve been doing plus a weekly cardio workout in soccer. Good luck to all! See you Saturday if not Friday.

Saulius Bračiulis
Saulius Bračiulis

I'm Saulius (Saul if you want), a Lithuanian that lived most of my life in Washington state. I started pursuing running more seriously as my used 2003 Ford Escape car broke down and the expenses were way too much for the constant repairs in 2019 and couldn't drive to trailheads to go hiking. One day I've decided to try my own self supported flat marathon as which used to be a distance I might typically hike with my dad in a day on my weekends and completed that run in 5h. After that, I got hooked to the point where I realized I don't want to look into getting a new car even though it's still always a challenge and would rather invest my time and effort into something that's been giving me an unexplainable source of inspiration to explore and be active.

I bike to work as part of my cross training and sometimes run or bike to the mountains as that is a lot more rewarding than just hiking in the mountains, gives me extra motivation to keep learning about running. One time I've biked to Mt. Rainier from Seattle, ran around it and biked back. Another time I've ran from Seattle to Canada and accidentally got detained temporarily. I enjoy routes that get me to different places rather than just loops but also learned how to deal with loops.

My first paid race, I went to Bigfoot 73 but lucky got funded for that race and this race will be my first one I'm paying for! This will be my first official backyard ultra! I'm looking forward to meeting and chatting with new people and seeing some of my friends I've seen before too!

Julija Soryte
Julija in a trail snail costume

Hello, fellow runners, current and future friends! My name is Julija, I am Lithuanian girl who currently lives in Pacific Wonderland – Oregon with my boyfriend and several furry four-legged children. I am a lawyer by education and the trail snail in disguise. I have registered for the Banana Slug purely for the fun of it, as I tend to feel much joy when running long distances (my favorite racing distance is 100 miles, but I hope/plan to go on much longer adventures in the future when I grow up a little more). Although I do not have any special training/preparation for this particular race, I plan to keep on running until I run out of joy. I’m really looking forward to the weekend of April 23rd!

[Note: While the Banana Slug Backyard Ultra obviously features slugs prominently, we're accepting of gastropods of all kinds. So the trail snail is more than welcome to come spread joy! -Editor]

Philip Brundage
  • Phil out for an easy training run

    Phil out for an "easy" training run

  • Phil out for a hard training run

    Phil out for a "hard" training run

Hey everyone! I’m Phil and I’m looking forward to meeting you all and sharing this exciting/dumb/amazing race with you all! I enjoy running, biking, rowing, getting lost in the woods and finding my way out, eating, etc...

I’ve been practicing for by walk jogging around the block I live on a bunch of times. I’m up to six miles until I quit of boredom. I’ve also been playing extended sessions of 8-bit Nintendo games to train my mind to do things that it doesn’t actually want to do. So this should be fun. See y’all soon!

Jackie Fisher
Jackie climbing out of a canyon in New Mexico

I have been running road races for over a decade and just recently switched to trail running and fastpacking. I am a transplant from the East coast / Midwest and am awe-struck by the beauty of the PNW. I think it's easier to spend days out on the trail when the landscape is this beautiful! The backyard ultra concept really appeals to me because I am not a fast runner; I prefer cruising at a 9-10 min pace and love having snacks along the way. My mantra since starting running has been, "It may not feel good. It may never feel good. But that doesn't mean you can't do it." and I think I'll really have to put this to use after running in loops for a while. Looking forward to meeting all of you other crazy runners!

Keith Callaway
  • Keith Callaway
  • Keith Callaway and friends
  • Keith and Becka Callaway

I’m Keith! There are 3 of my friends participating in this glorified sufferfest and I’ve decided to join them. My wife, Becka, and I live in Canby where I own a business and she is a kindergarten teacher.

I’m pretty much an expert at full to mostly full rest races. I hear it’s not a great plan but still keep sliding in just under the time limit in each race.

My running career began in 2019 and I’ve loved the adventures and camaraderie. Although my love for running is basically so I get to eat anything I want, it’s still a lifestyle and adventure I would not trade for the world!

Joe Carroll
Joe Carroll

Hi, I'm Joe. I'm excited and grateful for the opportunity to put in some miles with all of you fine runners. As it turns out, this sport wasn't monotonous enough for me so the idea of running in a circle an infinite amount of times sounds magical. If you wouldn't mind though, it'd be great if we could wrap this whole thing up by 7:30pm because I've gotta work the next day. Also, Carl? If it rains do we get our money back?

[Joe, if it rains, we'll let you keep as much of that rain as you can catch. No charge. -Editor]

Scott "Caveman" Martin
Scott Martin

me caveman me run far

Mike Hauser
Mike Hauser

Hi. I'm Mike Hauser and I live in Portland. I have been running since 2016, when I decided to participate in the Portland marathon that year. I purchased a running watch, researched a training strategy, and started running. That October I completed my goal, and afterwards just kept at it; running half marathons, mostly. Ultras are new to me, and the format of this race is intriguing. I am excited to see how I do, and look forward to meeting the other participants next spring.

Ryan McIrvin
  • Ryan in closeup
  • Ryan running

Inspired by watching Mike Wardian and Radek Brunner complete loop after loop for 60+ hours at the Quarantine Backyard Ultra in April of 2020, I decided to attempt my first ultra distance event just a few weeks later by participating in the Twilight 12 hour. Like many events in 2020, this one was virtual. I would have never imagined my first ultra would be 50 miles running loops on the streets of my neighborhood at night all alone, but that's just how it happened. Little did I know at the time, but this was exactly the sort of mental training and toughness that would help me succeed later in the backyard.

Later that summer, I participated in the second virtual Quarantine Backyard Ultra and made it through 15 laps before tapping out. Even though this was the farthest I'd ever gone, I left feeling a little disappointed having fallen far short of my goal to reach 24 laps or more. I sought and found redemption at my first in-person backyard ultra the following year by going 30 laps to finish in the top 5 at Tartarus in Spokane. Was I satisfied with that result? For a while I was perhaps since I had exceeded what I had thought possible for myself, but eventually I found myself wondering how much farther I really could go.

Banana Slug Backyard will be my next opportunity to try and find out what my true limit might be. This time I won't start with a distance goal in my head to hold me back. My only goal will be to go as far as my legs will take me until I either fail to complete a loop within the hour or I am the last one standing. However far that may be this time, I look forward to sharing this experience with the rest of you participating in this endeavor of madness and will cheer on each and every one of you to push yourself to your own personal limit.

Ellie and Matt Webb
  • Ellie and Matt Webb with medals
  • Ellie and Matt Webb, pacer and racer

Matt: Having done one Backyard Ultra, I wasn't in any rush to do another one. However, my sister, Ellie, said she wanted to "duke it out." I really enjoyed the mutual support and competition with other runners, so I'm looking forward to making some new friends, testing my limits, and, ultimately, kicking Ellie's butt.

I went to college in Portland, so I know that there are few places nicer than the PNW to run (and run and run).

Ellie: While Matt has been known to twist my words around, in this instance, he's actually telling the truth! After his first Backyard Ultra, I did, in fact, say I wanted to "duke it out" with him for the sheer fun of seeing how far we can go in a situation where we can be both mutually supportive and competitive. Oh the things that sibling rivalries will lead to! I really hope I won't be eating my words come April, but if nothing else, it'll make a good story and possibly provide some good entertainment!

Ellie Bon
Ellie Bon

I'm Ellie Bon and I am from Northern California. I am a WEMT currently working in that world and the outdoor education world. I guess the first thing you should know about me and running is that every time we had to run the mile in PE, I would turn in a forged note. We've come a long way since then. Looking forward to pushing my personal limits. Super excited to meet you all and to share some laps in April.

Michael Erickson
  • Michael Erickson in the Tillamook Forest
  • Michael Erickson on Mt. Adams

My name is Michael and I have been running for over 20 years. On the weekends you will usually find me putting miles in around Forest Park or the West Hills. I rarely enter races anymore but when I do it has to be something special! This will be my first backyard and I look forward to seeing how far I can take my mind and body.

Derek Easton
  • Derek Easton in a race
  • Derek Easton in a race

I've been running for about 10 years with some years more consistent than others. I signed up for my first ultra right before the pandemic happened and really jumped in head first after that the last 2 years. I love the places you can adventure on 2 feet that are like no other. This will be my 2nd Backyard format race and I'm super excited to take what I learned from that one and push my limits even further at this one. Good luck to everyone on training through the dark and rainy PNW winter. Spring is gonna rock!

Stephen Schieberl
Stephen Schieberl

My name is Stephen Schieberl. I heard that if I'm the only one not to be eliminated from this competition, I won't ever have to worry about money again.

[Stephen, maybe you misheard the name of this event? It's Banana Slug Backyard Ultra, not Banana Squid Backyard Ultra. -Editor]

Saravanan Mylsamy
Saravanan Mylsamy

Rain or Shine I love being outside. I'm a sucker for anything to do with trails or any sort of slow grinding endurance events. I enjoy the awesome company of fellow ultra-runners and their stories. I'm so grateful for the race crew that puts out these amazing events, choreographing so many little details in such awesome places. Looking back over the years, I think I accidentally turned into a multi-disciplinary runner tackling 24 hours, last person standing, and a few 100s and 200s events in amazing places. I'm looking forward to getting out and clocking some miles with you all. Happy training!

Andrea Artman
Andrea Artman at the Elijah Bristow 24-hour race

I love the idea of these races. I almost signed up in March of 2020, but then it was cancelled. So really excited to try it in 2022! I’ve found myself doing a lot of loops during races and also on my own. I find them to be fun and very relaxing. I’m not a fast runner, but I can keep going for hours. I just finished the Autumn Leaves 50 miler at Champoeg Park (8 loops of 6.25 miles) and it was beautiful there! Looking forward to meeting everyone and chatting while running in circles! Here’s a photo of me on my last loop at the Elijah Bristow 24 hour this year. See you in April!

Van "Pigtails" Phan
Van Phan

My friends know me as Pigtails, at least until I chopped all of my hair off. I can still tie little stumps to get pigtails. I’ve been running for over 20 years. I’ve done it all it seems (except for obstacle races) from 5Ks to 1000K. I’ve been a race director, volunteer, pacer, crew, you name it. I’ve done over 560 marathon/ultras and just hit 400 ultras recently.

My goal for 2022 is to avoid cramping—my Achilles’ tendon if you will. My competitive years are over, so now the focus is to slow down and enjoy the journey.

I’ve done two virtual Backyard Ultras and man, are they hard. I used to be resistant to fatigue and could run/walk/move for almost 40 hours before I felt I needed sleep. Not anymore at the age of 50! We’ll see how long I last.

My boyfriend Mikey and I enjoyed exploring new trails during the pandemic and new races when they started up again. Really excited to give this race format another try. We’ll see you all next April!

Cory White
  • Cory with his family
  • Cory in a race
  • Cory in a Spartan event

Hey friends I'm Cory. I live with my wife and 3 young boys in between San Jose and Santa Cruz in California (no, I'm not in tech).

Growing up I hated running. On a whim I tried out for cross country in high school. I made it 1 lap of the track and walked away telling the coach it was definitely not for me! I grew up loving the outdoors, hiking, and rock climbing instead.

It wasn't until 2015 that Spartan racing came into my life which introduced me to the world of trail running. To cut a long story slightly shorter I found myself running a 50K and most recently the 3 days/60 miles version of the Transrockies Run (which I loved so much I'll be back for all 6 days/120 miles next year). After watching the quarantine backyard ultra a few years ago and the world championship this year which introduced me to this crazy event I was inspired to see how far I can go!

Peter Frick-Wright
  • Peter in hammock eating pizza
  • Peter on a trail
  • Peter in the rain

I'm here because I like the idea of a backyard ultra—I'm really curious how far I can go with unlimited snacks.

Then again, this will be maybe the third or fourth organized race that I've ever run. Mostly I run for myself, and not incredibly far or all that fast. I'm a part of the Clackamas Trail Running Search and Rescue team, so most of my running is geared toward being able to run 10-ish miles with a pack at any given time.

I also usually have trouble committing to a long term training plan without surfing and mountain biking getting in the way, so we'll see how this goes. Mostly my body does what I ask of it, but I've never asked it to do something like this before.

Mikey Sklar
Mikey Sklar

This race will be my first in person backyard after doing 3 virtual ones around my block for 20, 24 and 26 yards. I like slow multiday runs so I’ve been involved with the 200’s since the first Bigfoot and have done a couple of runs that topped out close to 300 miles. Once I ran 76 miles on zero calories. Most weekends I race since my girlfriend is Van Phan and that is how she rolls. When I’m not outside playing I’m inside designing hardware. I like to create circuit boards, 3D print, CNC mill and now laser cut stuff. My day job is working for Adafruit.

David Wilson
  • David at Swim-Run National Championship
  • David, muddy on his bike
  • David, running a race

Hi, I’m David Wilson and have been an endurance race lover for a long time. I started with triathlon in 1999 and have completed a few Ironman, many running events from 1/2 marathons to completing the Leadman race series in 2019. Definitely have been looking for a new challenge and participating in a Backyard Ultra should do the trick.

Kyle Runyon
Kyle Runyon

Hello fellow runners and friends!

I’m Kyle. I’m an east coast transplant living in Portland, OR. I’ve got a 5 year old boy who happens to be my motivation for just about everything nowadays. Most days I’m slaving away toward retirement as a union pipefitter, and I love it!

I ran cross country in high school for 2 years. I wasn’t the best, but I was pretty consistently top 5, though never breaking that 18 min mark. Fast forward to 2020 when Covid became mainstream, and that’s when I decided to furlough for a little while to explore the PNW and get in better shape. I started running, although very inconsistently, and found out I may have a knack for ultra distance running. When I’m running, I’m in my own little world. I’m able to tune out anything and everything that happened that day, week, or month.

This is the first live (hopefully) race I will be attending. I ran the virtual Wildwood E2E race last November, and have chased a couple FKT’s but other than that, the furthest I’ve ran at any point was 41 miles on the infamous Timberline Trail on Mt. Hood.

I am very much so looking forward to this event to see what I’m capable with consistent training and healthy habits. This will be a "training" event for a 100 mile race I’m signing up for a few months later.

Graham Felsenthal
Graham in a race

My name is Graham Felsenthal. I am a Paramedic in Northern, CA and have been running for the past few years. Last year I ran multiple ultra marathons that were all self supported including my first 100 miler and a virtual LPS that I finished with the assist at 128 miles. I love this format and I am really looking forward to improving my outcome, making some new friends and getting wildly uncomfortable.

Paul Bourman
Paul at finish of North Face Endurance Challenge 50k

My name is Paul Bourman, I am a church planter from Tigard, OR at Hope Lutheran Church. I love to get to know the people of my city and my community and share my passion with them! I’m a husband to Charis Bourman and a Dad to two little kids- Theo (pictured), and Adeline. I’ve only lived in Oregon for a little over a year, but I’m glad to call it my home.

I’ve only been in the ultra-running world for a couple years- finished a few races in Wisconsin before arriving in Oregon and running “Run the Rock.”

I signed up for my first backyard ultra in 2020, but, of course, it was canceled at that time. Instead, I got to participate in the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, and I finished 16 laps at that time. Looking to see if I can push my limits with all of you!

Excited to take this on. Training is a go! I wonder if we could put together some training runs ahead of the race? I’d be willing to head that up!

Biz Stamm
  • Biz on trail with colorful socks
  • Biz at 2021 Mountain Lakes 100
  • Biz loving a muddy, winter trail

My name is Biz and when the first race I ever won involved a combination of running, beer-drinking, and burrito-eating, I should have known that ultrarunning was the sport for me!

These days I try to avoid beer drinking on race day, but still can be seen barreling down the trail double fisting pierogis! My philosophy is the longer the run, the more time for snacks!

Derik Farlow
  • Derik Farlow in a Spartan race
  • Derik Farlow in mud under barbed wire
  • Derik Farlow in a race

I’ve been running for about 5 years now. Mostly doing obstacle course races, and a few trail races. I haven’t done any truly long-distance running yet. My longest was the Timberline trail around Mt Hood. But I’ve always been drawn to ultra events. I’m looking forward to seeing what I’m capable of next month!

Todd Evans
Todd Evans

Hi, I'm Todd Evans, I have been running for a few years now. I have always enjoyed being outdoors with my family doing a lot of hiking and backpacking. The ultrarunning thing seemed like a good way to see more in a day rather than take a whole weekend to go backpacking. It started slow and has steadily grown over the years. My wife and I volunteer at an aid station for the Bigfoot 200 and have observed the crazy runners that are doing these 200-mile trail races such as Bigfoot 200, Tahoe 200 and Moab 240. The hallucinations are real!

When I first heard of Big's backyard race I was very intrigued, it seems easy enough, right.... run or walk slightly faster than 4 miles an hour and then repeat until you collapse.😀 I think this is an event for me. At least it should be entertaining for spectators. I look forward to meeting a lot of new folks and making some great friendships!

Travis "Big Flan" Flanagan
  • Bigflan in a colorful suit before a run

    The glorious Gorgeous Series Coast Relay

  • Bigflan running in a 30k race

    Running along the Marin Headlands Trail Golden Gate Winter 30k

  • Bigflan with friends

    The fellows in my ship that make it a fellowship

I go by a lot of names but the Big Flan handle is because I’m bigger than most distance runners and I’m like a delicious dessert cause I get you to smile quickly.

I don’t love running but I like it for the most part. What I do love is the feelings I get from it and the places it takes me. I have run in Bryce Canyon, Zion Park, on the border of Idaho and Montana at 10,000’ during a thunderstorm. I’ve run around Mt. St. Helens, up to the top of Mary’s Peak and places I would never have gone if it wasn’t for this wonderful hobby I have called running. And that’s what keeps me coming back. The adventure. And I run with an absolute fantastic group of friends whom I love with all my heart.

As far as the Banana Slug run, my goal is to make it last until Sunday whether it’s a stroke after midnight or 9 am. I’m excited to see good people push their limits and hopefully hear their stories.

Grant Polson
Grant Polson

Well, we'll see how long I last. I'm mostly concerned about the sleep deprivation than the actual running. It'll be the need for sleep that will probably do me in. I've done a number of these 24-hour formats, including a Spartan 24 and World's Toughest Mudder. In June I'll be aiming for 100 miles at the SISU 24, so this will be a good test. Thanks!

Rylan Phillips
  • Rylan Phillips
  • Rylan Phillips

I live with my wife and our two girls in Sherwood. We love traveling together and getting outdoors as much as we can. As far as ultra running... it was my wife's idea.

I spent many years playing contact sports like football, rugby and Aussie rules football. After hanging up the boots I got into ultras and I've been going strong for a few years. Running is unique in the way it forces me to change. I love the personal growth that comes from true gritty challenges. Even the training runs help clear my mind and reboot. Lately fastpacking has become my newest obsession.

Backyard Slug Run caught my eye and I figured what the heck?! Looking forward to a new race experience!

Leah Brown
  • Leah Brown
  • Leah and her dog, Pookie
  • Leah in a bike race

I'm Leah, and my favorite places to run are pretty much anywhere that has trees and dirt. I'm easy to please and happiest when I'm outdoors.

I’ve never done a race like this before, so I’m both excited and nervous. I’ve run regular-style ultras before and my favorite distance is probably 50k. I finished my first 100 miler in September and I’m looking for “what’s next?”. I also race bikes, but I’m new to the “last man standing” format. When I’m not running or riding I work as a veterinary nurse and I’m studying illustration and graphic design (what’s free time?!). I also collect shoes and dogs. That’s my buddy Pookie in the second picture, but he’s 13 and retired from running now.

Looking forward to seeing you in April!

Will "Slowfat" Martin
Will (Slowfat) Martin

Hi, I'm Will (slowfat). This is a common look for me—hopelessly lost in a place I have no business being in. This photo was taken in Southern Utah when my wife (not pictured) and my friend Matt were training for the San Francisco marathon—our first! While love for my wife, our dog and our friends center me, I spend most of my life feeling like a confused impostor. "How did I end up on this side of the river?", "Why do they keep on letting me work here?", "Are they really going to sell me a pizza with triple extra cheese? That's gotta be some kind of crime, right?"

There are so many things I want to do in life for which, in order to do them well, you need talent or aptitude. I was delighted to discover in the past few years that running requires neither. I thought to myself, "You mean, I don't have to be good? Or fast? Or know what I'm doing? That all I have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and not quit and at the end I'll definitely get a beer and a medal? Ok, this, I'm pretty certain I can do." Running provides me with peace, a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of belonging. Belonging to something much bigger than me—sure, something inconsequential and rarely useful, but also something ancient and primal. And the bar for entry to the group is so blissfully low—just keep doing that one-foot-in-front-of-the-other thing—that's all it takes to belong.

Excited to see how many steps I've got in me.

Bob Irving
  • Bob at Trillium Lake in the snow
  • Bob racing at Silver Falls
  • Bob's bike at a scenic overlook

In the past I have raced just about every type of race:

This will be my first Backyard Ultra so I can add another to the list. My wife says anything to get out of yard or house work. True. I'm coming back from some lingering ankle problems but hope to be ready come race day.

Joshua Niggli
Joshua Niggli

The most important things in this life are God, family, and friends—running, music, and work intertwine them to make them complete.

God has gifted me with a wife and our four children ranging in age from 2-8 years old. When not working 50 hrs a week as a Union Electrician, spending time with my wife and kids, or spinning vinyl records I can be found running in the streets.

Although trails are my preferred terrain, road is right outside my door. So when my many other responsibilities take most of the days hours I run early in the morning or late at night to fit it in. Although I run very few sanctioned events, a “Backyard Ultra” has always been on my bucket list. I’m excited to test the limits of my body and encourage everyone running with me to do the same.

Kim T.
  • Kim on a night run
  • Kim crossing a creek

I’m Kim, and I live in Portland. I started trail running as a youth in the mountains of New Mexico. I met Carl through PNW Search and Rescue. He’s kind and easy-going, as evidenced by laughing with me when I navigated him up a river bank into a big tall patch of devil’s club on a training run. So I decided to support his first attempt to carefully organize this interesting race format by being the first to sign up.

I turned 50 this year and have been doing as many “first ever” activities as possible. When I’m not running, kayaking, sailing, or otherwise playing outdoors, I’m working in our local public health department with fantastic dedicated colleagues and community members.

I may be wearing costumes at this race. Yes, plural, which includes costume changes.

I look forward to meeting you.

Carl Worth (Race Director)
  • Carl and Stacy Worth at the Oregon coast

    Carl and Stacy Worth at the Oregon coast

  • Carl and sons at a cross-country meet

    If only I could be as fast as these two boys...

  • Carl on the Loowit trail in the blast zone of Mt. St. Helens

    I love the unworldly scenery around Mt. St. Helens.

I'm Carl and I've lived in Wilsonville since 2005 where my wife and I have raised our 4 sons together. My sons were an inspiration to me with their enthusiasm for running in their teenage years. I've long enjoyed outdoor activities such as backpacking and rock climbing but only in the past couple years have gotten very interested in trail running.

When I had to postpone the original 2020 Banana Slug Backyard Ultra I participated in the virtual Quarantine Backyard Ultra (running loops in my neighborhood) and completed 13 loops and 54 miles. I also ran/hiked the Loowit Trail in 2020, effectively completing an unsupported 50k run.

I've been a search and rescue volunteer for the past 5 years, currently a member of Clackamas Country Search and Rescue where I'm a member of the trail-running and technical rope rescue specialty teams.

When not outdoors I'm often constructing various word and logic puzzles, and I work as a computer programmer.