The McDonald Forest 50k Trail Run

On May 9th, 2015, Athletes and onlookers alike amassed upon majestic McDonald Forest in Corvallis, Oregon to perform in and bear witness to the legendary Mac Forest 50k trail run. Covering over 30 miles of forest trails and roughly 7,000′ of elevation gain, the run is a grueling yet beautiful jaunt through some of the Willamette Valley’s most magical terrain.

This terrain served as Alex’s backyard growing up, and when Alex became interested in long-distance running, he took part in the 2013 Mac 50k…and took second place out of 239 people!

This year, a dedicated and masochistic group of Alex’s Friends and Family trained for months to take part in the event, and as as they ran the trails, they carried Alex’s spirit. Running was one of Alex’s passions and indeed, it is the wind that continues to fill other’s sails.  The sun, shone all weekend…80 degree weather, blue sky, abundant wild iris, camas, buttercups, the forest budding with that fresh, bright, spring green.  The race was dedicated to Alex, and then Buzz and McHale said a few words. Patrick lead his now-famous-for-Alex BANZAI yell as the racers were off.  Our runners wore Powered by Alex signs (thank you Cheryl) and hats featuring a photo of Alex running in the Tetons (thank you Robyn), prompting other runners to ask about him…and so Alex stories were told throughout the race as the runners made their way through the forest, our backyard, Alex’s playground growing up.

At the 10-mile mark, the Miller Family who first met Alex during his cycling days set up a “bandit” watermelon aid station at Alex’s bench in the forest…runners stopped to sip watermelon juice, enjoy a slice and many paused to offer hugs, toasts to Alex, and tears…from some he knew, from many who never knew Alex but felt his spirit.  Rebecca’s watermelon picnic cloth adorned the table in the forest, the Millers made beautiful signs, a collage of Alex photos that people stopped to take in…the outpouring of love and compassion and gratitude was overwhelming.  There was such a buzz about the station that the race director wants it to be a permanent part of the run, along with the BANZAI yell.

Having Alex’s Ashland family here was a gift…each of them has Alex stories we treasure…each of them has that empty heart spot that Alex fills and fuels with his spirit and energy. Each is a connection to our sweet sun. We all gathered at our house Friday night for dinner, talking around a fire outside, eating Deanna’s rendition of Alex’s “No Frownie Brownies”, then generous neighbors offered beds, some pitched their tents on the lawn. Ten ran the race – McHale, Beth, Robyn, Amy, Jessica, Matt, Chad, Gabe, Pete, and Michael  – they trained, they supported each other, they found, as Alex encouraged, the little birds under their feet, lifting them when the going got rough.  It was Alex’s spirit that brought them all across the finish line.  Saturday night we enjoyed American Dream pizza, race stories and time around the fire…a day that Alex would have savored…and, he was so with us.

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Events! Photos

Alex’s FUNdation Supports the Ashland High School Yoga and Wellness Center!!

We are incredibly excited to announce that in April of 2015, Alex’s FUNdation donated $3,000 to the Ashland High School Yoga Wellness Center! These funds will allow the program to purchase bolsters, blankets and other equipment needed to expand its offerings.

It’s wonderful to carry on Alex’s legacy of yoga, finding balance in life, taking time for solitude to center our minds and our hearts.

From Libby Edson, Founder and Volunteer Director for the Ashland Schools Yoga Program:

“I wanted to share with you all something that really confirms how important yoga is for kids.

I was talking with one of our volunteer yoga teachers yesterday who was unaware that we had done the workshop for the sixth graders.  When I had said that we would be introducing yoga early in the year at the middle school next year, she said, ‘By the way, I was just talking to parents of a AMS 6th grade student who they were surprised in their son’s behavior this past
weekend.’  The boy, who weekly has great anxiety before his sports games
and has a ‘routine’ of freaking out, was no where to be found before his
game.  They went to look for him and they found him, in his room, in a
seated, meditative posture, with his eyes closed and focusing on his
breath!  They had no idea where he learned until he told them he learned
at school!  When I told my friend that a group of us had just finished the yoga/mindfulness unit with the
6th graders, we both took a moment to recognize how powerful this work
is, how quickly these kids take to it, and how much they need it.  

With deep gratitude,
Libby Edson”

And another note from Beth Nolan, an Organizer, Teacher, and Volunteer for the Program:

“Good morning everyone!
A big thank you to each of you for the donation to the yoga in schools program. I feel fortunate to have witnessed what happens when kids are exposed to yoga in a fun and positive way and how they naturally take to the mindfulness/meditation practice. It’s remarkable. Hopefully you can come practice with the kids at school someday and see for yourself. 

After the last workshop class I taught at the middle school, one of the 6th graders asked me for some advice about Bikram yoga. She said she was going to go to a Bikram class with her aunt. It occurred to me that the classes we teach at the schools are giving kids the confidence to try yoga classes in the community. At the high school level, we already know of several students who plan to register for yoga classes when they get to college. This is so cool because one of the hardest things for most people to do is walk into a yoga class for the very first time. The fear of that first class is what keeps most adults from beginning a yoga practice. By having yoga at school, this barrier is broken down and won’t be a block for them in the future. YEAH!

Thank you and much love,


beth 1 Beth2

We are eternally grateful for those who remember and honor Alex and his passion for yoga as they pour their energy and passion into this program.

With gratitude and love,
Alex’s Family

Events! Foundations

Alex’s FUNdation supports Rogue Valley Farm to School and The Siskiyou Challenge!

We are delighted to announce that in April of 2015, Alex’s FUNdation donated $1,500 to the Rogue Valley Farm to School program and the Siskiyou Challenge. The Siskiyou Challenge, an event that was near and dear to Alex’s heart, is a multi-leg race in Ashland, Oregon that raises funds and awareness for the Rogue Valley Farm to School Program.

From RVF2S:

“Rogue Valley Farm to School educates children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs, and by increasing local foods in school meals. We work to inspire an appreciation of local agriculture that improves the economy and environment of our community and the health of its members.”

This gift really speaks to so many of Alex’s passions…running and the preparation that goes with competing, eating well, teaching kids about the bounties of the earth, and appreciating what our bodies and our hearts can do.  We are proud to honor Alex’s passion for the people of Ashland and for this event, and we look forward to supporting younger generations of participants.

It was wonderful to have a men’s team and a women’s team race in Alex’s honor last year and we hope they will be back to defend their title this September 19th!

With gratitude and love,
Alex’s Family


Events! Foundations

A Note from Michael Henthorne

I think of Alex every time I mow my lawn. I can’t help it. When he went missing, I spent the evening mowing the lawn and as I went round and round pushing the mower, I kept chanting….”just a scare, not a regret….just a scare….not a regret!” Alas, the news the following morning reached me that the results of the search yielded a regretful conclusion. I want to also acknowledge that I’ve been working on improving the state of my health, due to Alex’s writings about pushing yourself further than you ever thought you could go. At 62, I have found that old pains and limitations have melted, as I have kept his focus on wellness….of all types….as my mental image. Thank you Alex for being a guide to improving the quality of my life.


A Bench in the Woods

On December 29th, 2014, Alex’s family and friends installed a bench in McDonald Forest, located in Corvallis, Oregon. Alex spent his youth growing up in these woods, and the bench rests in a special place on Lower Dan’s Trail, right off the path next to our “Family Trees”. We spread some of his ashes underneath the gravel that was laid down beneath the bench, which was made from a tree that had fallen in the forest earlier that year. We invite you to find the bench, take a moment to relax, breathe deeply, and find gratitude in your life. Below, a note from Alex’s father:

It was an uplifting day

But with heavy hearts

A beautiful resting spot for the body and spirit

The essence of our beloved Alex is in the soil beneath his bench in our sacredspot in the forest

I know it warms his soul as well as ours

But we surely miss him


Buzzy and all of the family and chosen family

photo 1 benchspot unnamedphoto 3

Events! Photos

Another note from friend Jim Fischer

Adam and McHale,

If I’d known I was going to be famous, I would have taken more care to write my stories a bit more cohesively. 😉  YES, please share them as you see fit.  Alex is one of the few people in my life who is with me always.  Most days, I usually think about him during my commute to and from work on my bike.  Oh, and I also think about him every time I eat oatmeal (which we referred to as ‘gruel’ when Alex would strip it of anything tasty and turn it into a super meal for training).  I eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast and so does our 2 year old son.  Noodle on that for a second.  I ride at least 5 days a week, twice a day, and eat oatmeal once a day.  So, I haven’t seen Alex in years, but it is like he’s still there with me everyday telling me that brown sugar in my oatmeal is still sugar, and that I should use something with a lower glycemic index like that nasty blackstrap molasses.  Or, I would try to match his cadence on our rides…and suddenly I notice on my commute to work dragging my 2 year old in the trailer that my cadence has picked up and I’m passing others on the bike path.
On hot days, Alex would always unzip his jersey all the way so it flapped.  Drove me nuts.  So, what do I think on when it’s hot and I’m riding?  You guessed it.  Alex’s flappy jersey just begging for a bee to fly down the front of his bibs.
Back in the summer of 2005, my father died suddenly of a heart attack.  We were in the middle of racing season and had just returned from the Mt Hood Stage Race.  Alex finished in the top 5, I think.  Not bad for his first stage race as a cat 3 (and second stage race ever), and on very hard terrain.  We had the Elkhorn Stage Race (this pic was from the TT warm up for that race, but I believe it was in 2006) about three weeks later.  There was a point in the race on the last climb up Dooley mountain at the end of a 100 mile stage.  I was hurting and starting to drop back through the lead group.  Alex was right there next to me.  He told me my dad was watching, smiling down on me from above telling to find my dark place and go there.  We were in the middle of a hard event that Alex stood a good chance of winning, and yet he drifted back with me to provide words of encouragement.  I was not surprised, because that was simply the kind of person he was…always there for his friends when they needed him most.
As I said before, few people stick with us on a daily basis.  Parents, siblings, best friends.  I can safely say Alex will always be with me.  He was truly an amazing person.
Warmest wishes,
Jim Fischer
Notes to Alex Photos

A Note from Chad Woodward

I first met Alex after my wife had been to a number of his yoga classes. She would come home telling me I should take one of his classes. I would ask her who is this Alex guy? She answered “he’s got an afro and a beard and rides his bike everywhere; you’ve probably seen him around town, maybe at the co-op… I think you guys would really get along.” A few months later I finally met Alex and we quickly hit it off. We both had the uncanny ability to converse on a topic for way to long and to find humor in even the worst of jokes.

In becoming friends with Alex it took me a while to realize his athletic accomplishments. He never bragged or even tried to share his accolades. It was only with some prodding or usually from someone else that you might actually hear about his feats. His humility was one of his many endearing qualities.

My friendship with Alex was described by others as a “bromance.” I know there are a number of Alex’s friends who can relate to this experience. However, if you are uncertain about whether you had a bromance with Alex, here are a few signs that may help you decide. First, you would get gifts, like crystals or balsa planes or marbles or two dollar bills. Second, you would receive calls or texts or emails every week or every day and sometimes multiple times a day. Third, when you mentioned something he found interesting or adventurous he would take that idea and run with it. One time I mentioned a place that I thought we could go fishing. The next day I got an email with four different studies complete with relevant page citations discussing the possible fishing spot. Alex always put in the time and effort to ensure there would be another adventure or shared memory.

Alex had a unique way of expressing his humorous side that I will certainly miss. He would say and write some of the funniest things. I would like to share one of these “Alexisms” with you.

  • One time I had emailed Alex a picture of a kayak I thought would make me faster at the Siskiyou Challenge. He encouragingly replied “Word to that!  Hot knife through butter, no, more like a chainsaw with a 36″ bar heated by a solar flare slicing through ghee…”

Alex engaged you and really got to know you. He became interested in your interests. And his pursuits and way of life became part of yours. As you may know, Alex was a big hugger. Every time I saw Alex or we parted ways he always gave a heartfelt hug. I had never been a big hugger and avoided hugging people when it seemed unnecessary. But I never avoided hugging Alex. I treated him differently. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him or maybe his desire to hug was just so genuine I wanted to honor that. Anyhow, I kept hugging Alex at every greeting and farewell and slowly but surely he single-handedly made hugging hello and goodbye seem like a good idea. I share this as an example of how Alex’s genuine friendship shaped who you are in seemingly small yet meaningful ways.

While Alex pushed himself when biking or running, those efforts paled in comparison to the heights he achieved as a person and friend. Alex made us feel special and made us laugh. He was truly a good friend to us all and will be dearly missed.

Notes to Alex


  1. Banzai” is a Japanese cheer that can be translates as “Long life!” or “Hurrah!” It is usually repeated three times to express enthusiasm, celebrate a victory, applause and favor on happy occasion while raising both arms. It is commonly done together with the large group of people.
Notes to Alex Photos

A Note from Usha and Sankar

Pat and Buzz

We got the profoundly sad news this morning. I cannot tell you how sad we are. We do not know how to comfort you; I do not think there is any way to console a parent grieving for his child….  Loosing your child is the most profound tragedy, and deepest sorrow, a person can endure. I do not know how one copes with it, or what your friend and family can do to help. Perhaps nothing significant  no matter how much we may try.
I always referred to Alex as my “yogi-baba” (i.e. the yogi guru) ; he still is and will be. His love for outdoors was clear to me at Samidh and McHale’s wedding when he and Adam asked every body to take their shoes off, feel the new grass in the meadow, look at the green trees around and hold the next persons hand in fellowship. A simple thing! but his love for nature  and friends and family  became clear to me in a minute. It was a revealing insight into Alex’s beautiful and unforgettable inside. Though it is terrible that he had to leave all of us so early, I feel that it is a saving grace that he did so in the midst of the mountainous outdoors he loved so much. As if he would say “my freedom is in these trees, the sky and the clouds; and most of all my freedom is in all your minds”. I think of him through out the day, feel sad; cannot take my mind off his thoughts.
Pat and Buzz – grieve as long as you want, any way you want. Grieving for him will console your heart, and keep his memories happy and alive.  And of course we are here, to help you through this period. Ask, just ask, if we can do anything to lessen your pain.
Love you all
Usha and Sankar
Notes to Alex