Since it’s the New Year, we thought we’d have one of our first posts try to define us. Here is Peter Maksimow’s take from our Sept/Oct 2014 edition of our magazine.
I ponder strange things all the time, but one that has been on my mind recently has been this: What the hell is Level Renner?
I’ve been trying to figure it out for some time now. Having lived in New England from about 2004 to 2009 and been a member of the Central Mass Striders, I thought I was familiar with all the idiosyncrasies of the local running culture. Now I live in Colorado, where we have our own idiosyncrasies (pot is sold recreationally and we have very BIG mountains—you could say we are high!). At first, I thought it was a funny typo that went to print and someone just said, “Well, we can’t fix it now. We’ll just have to deal with 500 shirts with that name on them!” Then, I thought maybe someone had too much to drink, was contemplating this bizarre name while at the same time playing with a hand-held mirror and discovered the perfect symmetry of the two combined words or just one word, or even just a few letters, when the mirror is placed directly in the middle of said sequence of words or letters. Does that sound level-headed? So, now you understand my confusion.
Let’s take Team Colorado, our Colorado-based Mountain, Trail and Ultra running team, for example. As the name implies: A) we are a team, B) we are in Colorado (unless you count Rickey Gates who keeps vagabonding around to numerous other states), C) we run up big mountains (implied). Pretty simple, eh?
When I was back in New England for the US Mountain Running Championships at Loon Mountain, I saw a few people with a jersey that read: Level Renner. I pointed out that they had a typo on their jersey, which solicited looks inferring that I was crazy. They were the ones with the typo on their uniforms, not me! I just had a foot that claims to be the number 8 on my jersey, which is so much easier to comprehend!
I later met a person by the name of Eric Narcisi, who was with Level Renner and who was pedaling Level Renner paraphernalia with Brother Narcisi (I think he was a monk or something). I politely inquired about Level Renner, but he couldn’t tell me anything about it other than it was similar to the Illuminati and if he told me he would have to kill me. I wasn’t ready to die, so I let it go.
I know Ren and Stimpy, but I do not know Level Renner.
I was also contacted by someone calling himself Kevin Balance, but I am unaware of anyone who has actually had face-to-face contact with this supposed “person,” and I am convinced he is just a manifestation of the Borg from Star Trek. Maybe he is controlling me right now as I write this? Maybe he comes up with jokes like: Have you ever been Leveled by a Renner? Me neither. I bet it would hurt, though! (FYI, the Borg has no sense of humor.)
At the awards ceremony after Loon, everyone one was milling around, eating bagels and orange slices and washing it down with beer while exchanging their experiences of the infamous Upper Walking Boss. I was talking to someone and the conversation led back to Level Renner. The next thing I knew every word that was coming out of people’s mouths was exactly like the scene from Being John Malkovich, except replacing “Malkovich” with “Level Renner.” “Level Renner-Level Renner… Level Renner, Renner, Level Renner, Renner?” Wow, either this New England beer is some strong stuff or the Borg has taken control of my brain, both of which were completely plausible. As Chris Dunn of acidotic Racing announced the awards, I gathered that Level Renner was first for both the men and women and the team champions were, who else, but Level Renner. And people call us Coloradan high! [Editor’s note: Joe Gray and Allie McLaughlin were the individual winners and CMS and WMDP were the male and female team champs, respectively.]
When I asked a normal person what they thought “Level Renner” meant, the response was, “It sounds like a tool you would use to measure a straight line on a wall, maybe to make sure the renner is level?” Sounds practical!
Okay, so I understand what Level Renner does, on a certain level, but what IS Level Renner? Is Level Renner asking for a level playing field for slow and fast renners, alike? The Level Renner tag line is fairly reasonable as it states, “Run on the ground. Read the underground.” At least they are not telling you to run underground. Now that would just lead to a lot of Vitamin D deficiencies. I am still unaware of what Level Renner is, but, to be honest, I think I’m getting to the Level and I’m starting to like it!
This is Peter Maksimow’s virginal article for this esteemed rag.
If you’d like to read more from our Sept/Oct 2014 issue, click here.