Run Esterby Run!
I met Travis Esterby in 1998. The Army sent me to Fort Lewis. That was about an hour to Seattle, WA. I worked for C-1/5IN. I was a 25-year-old man and Esterby was 17. He was a quiet guy. He was an Infantry Soldier. I had no idea what I was doing. Two years and I would grow up. But Esterby and I became friends. (Also Rich Rowland!!!!)
He got a car. It turned out that he grew up near Whidbey Island, WA. That is an island in Washington. We would go and hang out with his parents. Their house was in the middle of nowhere. This dad, Carl, had a sailboat. I learned how to drive that thing.
Another time a goose was in their backyard. Travis tried to get that goose to leave. “Fly, fly!!! Go away.” It didn’t. We went inside to asked Carl what to do? Carl said: “See if it can fly. If it won’t fly something is wrong with it. Just kill it. I will make dinner tonight.” Travis brought his baseball bat outside. I think the goose was hurt. But we had goose that dinner. That was the first time I had goose.
Travis, Rowland and I would go to Bellingham. Maybe two hours to Canada. We would see Travis’ brother Seth. There was a college there. But I still don’t know what the name was. It really was a fun time. I think Rowland was so drunk one night, the next day we went to go eat breakfast. He bought seven T-shirts in all different colors. It was about bagels. It was hilarious. Many friends went up to Bellingham: Jon Falkofske, Phil Eidson and Chris Horan!!
In October 2001, I went to the US Army Airborne School, Fort Benning, GA. Travis showed up the week later. We’d see each other during the weekend. (Dear Travis, I still remember what happened to your T-shirt!!)
In 2002 I moved to Schofield Barracks on Oahu, Hawaii. While Patty and I were there it was great. I talked to Travis once in a while. He was also busy in the Army stationed at Fort Bragg.
The next time I saw him was in 2007. I was in Baghdad, Iraq. I was in a (blah blah blah blah blah blah) meeting for tomorrow’s meeting. Somebody told me there’s a guy outside who knows you. I went outside and there he was Esterby!!! He had a friend with him. For the next couple of weeks we would go to eat. On July 7, I got hurt.
I think in the summer of 2008 I talked to Travis and Rowland on the phone. Travis was getting married that weekend. I was so excited. Those guys couldn’t understand what I was saying. It’s called gibberish and aphasia!
In 2006 my brother Richard did the Army 10 miler race. He made T-shirts for 5 friends. Ever since we do the race, make a new T-shirt and have a party. In 2011 Travis and Rowland showed up for the weekend, together again for the first time in years. I felt like a man. For 10 minutes! Travis did the race. It took him 59:28 to finish, almost an hour. He was the 160th person out of 30,000.
Then we went to our party. Rowland was hanging out with Chris. I was talking with Travis and he told me: “I am doing a race next week, 50 miles.”
I asked him, “Have you done that before? Have you done marathons?”
He said, “No. I want to do it for you, people that got hurt in the war, or people that died in the war.”
He started doing 100-mile races. It takes almost a whole day.
This weekend Travis did the Western States 100-Miler Endurance Run. The race starts at the base of the Squaw Valley ski resort and finishes at the Placer High School track in Auburn, California. Runners climb a cumulative total of 18,090 feet (5500 m) and descend a total of 22,970 feet (7000 m) on mountain trails before reaching the finish. He did it!
Travis works at Fort Campbell. His wife, Sara, started a store in Clarksville, TN. “The Runners Hub” They sell running shoes, T-shirts and gear. On Thursday they have everyone meet and run for miles. It’s pretty cool!
Maybe I should go to your store. I need some new shoes!!!