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A Journey of Discovering New Possibilities

By on September 26, 2019
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“How do you want to be remembered? How do we want our loved ones to remember what we have accomplished in our lifetime? Greatness is merely trapped within each and every one of us. Discover it within yourself and tap the unimaginable possibilities, do what seems impossible,” said Scott Parr.  

Scott spent most of his life living in the Greece area as a self-described “average guy.” As a child, he loved the outdoors. He was raised by his mom and lived with his four siblings. Scott learned at a young age what persevering through hardships looks like. His Mom, single parenting a family of five children, had struggles and financial difficulties. This created the environment for Scott to learn responsibility before most of his peers. Scott helped his family as much as he could and through this he learned a lot about work ethic, responsibility and respect. He learned it from both his Mom and Grandfather. 

Scott graduated from Greece Olympia in 1998 and several years later married and went on to begin his family at the age of 22. He and his wife had five children in seven years. “I changed diapers for 12 years,” laughed Scott. Having a big family at such a young age presented some tough times but no matter what he always made spending time with his kids a priority. Scott is a Nuclear Mechanic at Ginna Nuclear Power Plant. He did not have much free time between his career and his family. He did not engage in any regular exercise or sports. 

In 2014, Scott’s co-worker Tom Parsons convinced him to participate in a 5k race. At this point Scott had not been running. He borrowed his mom’s treadmill to prepare for the run. With only one month to prepare he set the treadmill up in his garage and started training. “I thought my lungs were going to collapse in the first half mile,” he said. He recalls thinking, “this is not fun at all!” Determined not to let Tom down, he continued training and ran the race in just over 21 minutes. Scott was proud of his time, he never ran a race before. This ignited a motivation to continue running and improving his time and his distances. He would train early in the morning when his kids were sleeping or use some of his vacation time to train for races. Scott really enjoyed becoming part of the Rochester running community, it led to new friendships, encouragement, more races and eventually his first trail running event.  

It was an event called Mess the Dress. Participants would dress in their best formal wear for this muddy trail run.  This ignited Scott’s love for trail running. His love for the outdoors made this style of running something he was even more passionate about. During the first years of Scott’s trail running events he continued pushing himself beyond his pre-conceived limits by registering for more challenging events leading to “ultra running.” To continue to keep himself motivated he would look at the next event he might be interested in taking on. The more challenging it was, the more he would feel his fear creep in. “The thought of not finishing is scary for me. Fear keeps us from doing things that we can do,” he said.

Scott accepted that risking failure was the only opportunity for him to improve. This mindset led him to more challenging runs and greater successes ultimately leading him to his ultimate challenge. 

After hours of staring at a computer screen, Scott registered for one of the most extreme races in the United States, The War Hammer 100 Mile Endurance Run. Up to this point Scott’s longest race was 65 miles. This 100 mile endurance run starts at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky and travels across the state, one way in one weekend. It is considered to be one of the most challenging battles against self, the competitors and the environment. Not many finish the event. Thirty people showed up to start the 100 mile race at Natural Bridge State Park but only 14 finished the race. Scott not only was one of the finishers of the 100 miler, but he crushed the competition and broke the record by finishing this grueling race in less than 24 hours. His finish time was 23 hours, 58 minutes and 23 seconds, which was more than 4 hours faster than the 2nd place competitor.  

During the last 25 miles of the event Scott faced the most intense mental and physical battles of his life. He recalls having freak outs in some of his low spots, fighting his fears and even began hallucinating in his final hours. Scott’s crew Laura, Natalie and Mike were at stations in stages of the course to run with him, keep him motivated and help him continue. “Their presence and words of encouragement is what kept me going,” he said. Scott won the race and in true Scott fashion returned to work on Monday. Most people he works with have no idea the kinds of things Scott does outside of work. 

Since the 100 mile race Scott has continued with local events. In August he ran the Twisted Branch 100k. This 64 mile race starts at Ontario County Park in Naples and runs into Hammondsport Beach. The race has a reputation of being highly technical and challenging. It has more than 10,000 feet of elevation change. Scott finished in 6th place, in a field of 150 competitors, in just over 12 hours and 51 minutes. 

Scott has his sights already set on some future races. He qualified for the 2020 Western States Endurance Run, one of the country’s premier ultra-marathons that traipse through the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, as well as being registered for the Wild Florida 120 mile run. Scott Parr, a man who went from never running a race in his life just over 5 years ago, to running and winning a 100 mile race in less than 24 hours simply proves anything is possible. 

“It doesn’t matter who we are, where we come from, or the fact that we think something is not possible. In fact everything is possible, no matter how big we might think it is. The key is that first step that might make us terrified. Take it, it’s yours,” Scott Parr.

Photos by Karen Fien

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Jeff Darling (l), trail boss for the Finger Lakes Trail with Scott Parr (r).

Scott Parr and Josh Stratton the day before the race. Stratton, a friend of Parr, hiked all the Adirondack High Peaks in 2018 in 8 days.

Scott Parr and Josh Stratton the day before the race. Stratton, a friend of Parr, hiked all the Adirondack High Peaks in 2018 in 8 days.

Scott Parr shows all the gear necessary for the Twisted Branch Race on the Finger Lakes Trail.

Scott Parr shows all the gear necessary for the Twisted Branch Race on the Finger Lakes Trail.

Mort Nace (l), Abby McCarthy, Josh Stratton, Laura Rekkerth, Scott Parr and Chris O’Brien, host of Running Inside Out podcast.

Mort Nace (l), Abby McCarthy, Josh Stratton, Laura Rekkerth, Scott Parr and Chris O’Brien, host of Running Inside Out podcast.

Scott Magee (l), race director with Scott Parr (r) after finishing the Twisted Branch 100K Race.

Scott Magee (l), race director with Scott Parr (r) after finishing the Twisted Branch 100K Race.