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

Whyte Nynsha Trail Run

Hello Family and Friends
There will be a Whyte Nynsha Tribute Run on the evening of Friday, August 8th.  As we all know, Alex Newport-Berra (the original Whyte Nynsha) is no longer with us.  The run is a celebration of the Whyte Nynsha in all of us.
The Whyte Nynsha practices a special kind of art.  The “Whyte” is not so much a reference to color (as one might assume), but of the presence of a bright, almost blinding light.  It is the opposite of stealth, and this is precisely the purpose.  The strength is in the Bright Whyte.  The “Nynsha” reminds us that this is not something do be “done” or “completed” once in a while, or whenever one feels like it, but like the Ninja of old, it is way of life.  The Bright Whyte is a conscious practice that over time creates and nurtures an unconscious habit.  A mindset that permeates all things.
It will be dark. Bring a headlamp.
This is a naked trail run.  <–Not a typo…
What:  Celebrating the Whyte Nynsha in all of us. (2.5 – 4 mile run, mostly on gravel roads, not fast)
Who: Anyone is welcome to join!  You don’t have to be a “runner”. And it’s OK if you didn’t know Alex personally..  Come as you are.  The Whyte Nynsha is in us all.
Where:  Lewisburg Saddle
When:  August 8th, 9:30PM.
Why:  Do you really need an excuse to run around naked in the woods?
See Whyte Nynsha’s Strava profile for some serious inspiration…
** If cars of one person or two could meet at the Crescent Valley High School parking lot at 9:15PM, we can carpool and reduce parking up at the saddle.
Practice your best “lord of the rings ball crawl” or “tig’ol bitties trot” and we’ll see you at the spot!
**Please pass this on to people who might want to join.  I know there are so many more people who may be in town for the memorial this weekend that might want to join and are not on this email.
May the Bright Whyte be with you,
//  Patrick
Whyte Nynsha