Hard to believe that it’s been 5 full years since the original ‘challenge’ between us (Seth and Will) – where we both ‘made the choice to be Epic’ and set out to complete something that most thought was crazy.
In 2009, we accomplished our goal of completing ‘The Epic Man’.
In 2010, we continued our journey past Boston and jumped out of planes, got tattoos, and ran another marathon in San Fran.
In 2011, prior to Epic Man we rode 100 miles to Chicago and then ran the word “Epic” through streets of Manhattan.
In 2012, we continued our journey past Boston and ran the original marathon course in Greece.
And in 2013, we continued our journey after the Marathon by paying tribute to ‘Boston’ with a 26.2 mile run in the shape of a “B” through the streets of Buenos Aires, and joining someone who is on an Epic journey of his own.
Epic Man is about way more that just athletics. It’s about inspiration, and making a choice to take life on full-force – pushing past limits and shifting perspective of what is possible, on your own terms. In 2013, we wanted to connect with someone who was doing this in an amazing place. So we went to visit Will’s brother, Carter.
Last year, Carter packed up from Portland, ME and headed to San Fran, to take on the mobile app revolution. He left a promising career as a consultant to pursue a completely entrepreneurial endeavor that afforded him a flexibility he couldn’t find in the traditional workplace. A risky move, to say the least, but Carter was set on doing something big. Over the next six months, he built from scratch a portfolio of over 100 apps, which he then sold to a hedge fund in early 2013. He had established himself as a true “player” in the marketplace.
However, Carter wasn’t solely interested in commercial success. Making money was not the end-goal, but rather a means to living the life that he envisioned – a life that pushed him to new levels and brought him to incredible places. So in March, Carter booked a month-long trip to Argentina. He knew no one down there, nor did he speak Spanish. But that was the point. It was the ultimate challenge for him, and would undoubtedly give Carter the new perspective that he craved.
When we heard about Carter’s trip, we knew it was going to be Epic, and we wanted to be inspired by the fire he was igniting in his life. So we decided our post-Boston Marathon 2013 journey would be to Buenos Aires for the week. We booked a flight to leave a mere three hours after Will’s estimated time of finishing, adding additional pressure to what was already a crazy plan. In hindset, we made the best call – any later flight would have been grounded and we would have been stuck in Boston.
Equally inspiring was our friend Nate, who, on a whim, had joined our adventure a year ago in Greece. In 2013, we challenged Nate to join us for the adventure in Argentina, so two weeks before the trip he booked a ticket.
Carter had been down there for a week prior to our arrival, and had already made a number of new friends. Because of his connections, we were able to see a part of BA that most foreigners don’t get to experience. And we got to see Carter in action – communicating with locals, moving around the city, and soaking in every possible moment he had there. It was inspirational to say the least.
We had a rough plan going into the week for our own second marathon challenge, but the magnitude of the bombings was too large to ignore, and even in Argentina we were constantly getting updates about the aftermath, the capture, and the healing. So we decided to offer our own Epic Man tribute to the victims and the city of Boston by running a marathon in the shape of a huge “B.” We planned to run on Friday, and Nate and Carter offered to join the run with us, with a shared goal of going further than either had gone before.
We spent the first few days exploring the city by bike, planning our ‘B’ course. As we got to know BA more and more, we discovered an incredible place. There was nothing in particular about the city that was overly awe-inspiring – the buildings weren’t massive and there weren’t any mountains or beaches – but we discovered the real beauty of the city was in its people. From the moment we stepped off the plane, we were greeted by huge hearts and big smiles. The Argentineans we met were excited to show us how they live. And we were blown away.
On marathon day, we started off with hot sun and tree-lined boulevards, then ran through many of the unique neighborhoods that make up Buenos Aires – past soccer stadiums, crazy buildings, and bustling markets. The middle section of the run was along some of the wide downtown avenues, jammed with people, cars, and buses. Running through crowded streets in a foreign country was hectic, adrenaline-filled, and awesome. At one point, Carter gave a loud “Yeah!” while standing at an intersection. A young Argentinean nearby responded with a “Oh Yeah!” and the crowd laughed. In the end, Nate made it 14 miles, and Carter went 18 until a knee pain forced him to stop. Truly epic performances, both being twice as long as they had ever previously run. We (Seth and Will) pushed through and made it the whole 26.2 despite tired legs from the US portion of the journey with the whole team.
The end of our marathon was in the beautiful parks that BA is known for. They are lined with huge palm trees, and filled with hundreds of runners, cyclists, and rollerbladers. We were treated to an amazing sunset, just when it was getting very hard to keep going. For the last 5k back to Palermo SOHO (the neighborhood we were staying) it was getting dark, and the city was coming alive. Restaurants were packed, bars were jammed, and the streets echoed with loud, happy Spanish. It was an amazing experience. After completing the 26.2 miles, we met up with Carter and Nate and headed to La Cabrera for a celebratory dinner at one of Argentina’s most famous steakhouses.
Between the four of us, we’ve been to a lot of places. But something about Buenos Aires trumps them all. It is not the aesthetics of the place, nor is it overwhelming, like other grand cities. This was more delicate, something “between the lines” that only started to become clear as we met more and more Argentineans. What makes BA so special is how the people live their lives. Everything is done with a purpose, everything is high quality, and people don’t seem stressed. The food is delicious, the wine is fantastic, the language is beautiful, the smells are amazing, and the people seem to be always laughing. Passion is everywhere.
We could have easily stayed in Argentina for another month, and it felt like we had just scratched the surface of what the city and country have to offer. Truly an epic place.
After our adventures together, Carter took off for Mendoza – a western city at the foot of the Andes that is famous for its vineyards. Seth headed back to Santa Monica, Nate to Chicago, and Will to Portland. In an eerie twist, Will’s flights were delayed; causing his last plane to land at the exact moment he finished the marathon one week ago. He entered Portland Jetport to a crowd of people recognizing the moment of silence at 2:50pm.
Epic Man is about new perspectives on what is possible, and new perspectives are only achieved when you take action, driven by what inspires you. By taking action, you are making the choice to learn and experience something you didn’t know – about people, places, and ultimately yourself.
Life is what we make it to be. Carter chose to pack up and go down, with no expectations and no plan. The rest of us were so inspired, we decided to join. Because of Carter’s action, our perspectives are permanently changed. And because we were there, Carter did something he never thought possible. Inspiration only feeds more inspiration…and its everywhere; you just have to make the choice to be inspired and take action.
We were taught that the Argentinian word for “cool” is “recordado”, which literally means – “unforgettable.” We can’t think of a better phrase to capture the spirit of our trip, and of Epic Man.
Until the next adventure…!