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Chris and Marty meeting on Mt. McKinley in 1998

We were recently interviewed by Go Outside Brazil to be part of an article about couples who do adventures together.  Due to the language barrier (we don’t speak Portuguese) we answered their interview questions by email.  We’re not sure how much of this information (if any) will make it to their article, so we thought we’d share it here in a series of blog posts.

Tell me a little bit about yourselves (where are you from, work, family, children)

We live in North Bend, Washington, just outside Seattle in the Northwest of the United States.  We live near the foothills of the Cascade Mountains where we can run out our door and up mountain trails.  Chris is the founder of SparkFire, an idea consultancy.  She leads brainstorm sessions, trains people in facilitation and creative thinking, and delivers inspirational keynote speeches.  Marty is a financial advisor for Edward Jones.  Prior to that he was the Director of Global Real Estate for F5 Networks (tech company), and before that he was a police officer in Hawaii.  Our son Keenan is 12-years old and in the six grade.

 

When and how did you meet each other? How long have you been married?

We met in May of 1998 the day that our separate teams arrived at base camp on Mount McKinley (also known as Denali), the highest peak in Alaska at 20,230 feet high.  We were each on separate three-person, self-guided teams and planned to climb the West Buttress route.  Both teams summitted within 30 minutes of each other.  We experienced a wonderful connection on the mountain (not sure how it happened since we were on separate teams and focused on climbing).  Within 2 months of meeting on the mountain, Marty left his job as a police officer in Hawaii and moved to Seattle.  We got married about a year later and have been married for 15 years.

What is your relationship to sports and an adventure life?

Marty and I love adventure, whether big or small.  We love being in the outdoors, initially focusing on hiking and alpine climbing.  Between us we’ve summitted some of the highest mountains in the world (Denali, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro) as well as many mountains in the Cascade range in our home state of Washington (Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens).

Two years into our marriage our son was born – so we gradually traded climbing ropes and glaciers for running shoes and trials, a more practical way to experience the mountains with a young child.  Over the last decade we’ve become veteran ultrarunners, having run numerous 50-mile and 100-mile mountain races (e.g., Western States 100, Cascade Crest 100, Susitna 100, and more).  We often run in different races so that one of us can be with our son as he cheers us on from the sidelines.  And we’ve completed self-supported runs on the 93-mile Wonderland trail around Mt. Rainier, and 75 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail from Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass.

We also take sea kayaks trips as a family to places like the Broken Islands off Vancouver Island in Canada.  We fish for dinner from our sea kayaks, paddle in the pristine water with native sea lions and grey whales, and sleep next to the sea.

We believe adventure goes beyond physical extremes and outings to include everyday things — trying innovative food, listening to novel music, or learning a new skill can be adventurous.  Adventure is an openness and flexibility of mind.  It’s this adventurous mindset and spirit that we are fostering, a lifestyle and value that we hope to instill in our son.