Note from the Editor - Adam Voidoid
Sometime in early 2021, friends in the running world began sending me some pretty on-the-nose running memes all from the same mysterious IG account that barely had a couple thousand followers. In the wake of @ultrarunningmemes “retiring” their account (they have since posted sparingly), there was a void in the running meme world and while many accounts tried to fill it, nothing ever really hit quite the same. But then my DMs started filling up with these memes from @yaboyscottjurek.
The memes were super niche. It was all original content by someone who was clearly in tune with the pulse of the ultrarunning scene— memes about Jared Hazen’s stomach issues at the JFK50, Jim Walmsley’s infamous Western States hole-y crop top, a David Goggins- branded erectile disfunction medication with the tagline #STAYHARD. Pure gold, basically. When you clicked the account, however, it claimed to be a Scott Jurek fan page, the bio still reading to this day: “Scott Jurek Fans Only”. The account only follows Scott Jurek. Somehow, this just added to the humor and absurdity of it all.
Fast forward several weeks and the account was beginning to gain some serious traction: it had more than quadrupled its number of followers and only buckled down harder on consistently cranking out high quality running memes. Unlike other running meme accounts, who couldn’t relinquish the need to be known and give the meme-creators some kind of credit, the person(s) behind @yaboyscottjurek remained a mystery to everyone. Who were they? Why Scott Jurek?
And then on March 1st, 2021, UltraSignup shared an interview they did with the man allegedly behind the account: Tony Darracoté. I happened to catch the article the moment it was shared via @yaboyscottjurek. In the interview, Tony stated that he didn’t run at all and was simply “a true fan of the sport.” He had done “a little bit of scooting (riding [his] RazorTM scooter) and [had] ridden a few marathons, but unfortunately, the USATF [had] yet to recognize scooting as a competition-allowed form of participation and [he had] been DQ’d from all races [he had] completed.” I couldn’t tell whether the article itself was a piece of satire or not so I excitedly shared it with my running friends to discuss.
However, barely an hour after the interview went live, the article was taken down. The landing page read:
It has come to our attention that information originally presented within this article may have been inaccurate and/or damaging to members of our community. As a matter of editorial discretion, we removed this content.
@yaboyscottjurek had taken shots at Sage Canaday and Candice Burt in the past and the interview itself had some pretty funny comments about them. I heard rumors that Candice had the article pulled. But alas, no further explanation was provided by either @yaboyscottjurek or UltraSignup so anything regarding its disappearance was pure speculation and the interview was lost forever. Or so I thought.
During my travels to Prescott, AZ to work with Satisfy Pro Michael Versteeg, I became acquainted with a self-professed writer/journalist while shopping for race supplies at the local Walmart. The man introduced himself as Patrick Dalton. He had been following Possessed Magazine since its inception and was a fan. He had just finished submitting his book on how athletics have shaped our planet for publication and was looking to take on a new project. I didn’t have anything for him at the time but decided it would be worthwhile to stay in touch. Through further correspondence, we discovered a mutual fascination with the mystery of Tony Darracoté.
We decided that tracking down and interviewing Tony was the only thing that made sense. But where to begin? In his UltraSignup interview, Tony mentioned that he was in “negotiations to acquire a very exciting business based out of St Helens, Oregon” called Experience Twilight, which he claimed “offers the most authentic tours of the Twilight Saga filming locations.” With this sliver of information, Patrick went deep into the rabbit-hole and managed to track him down and coerce him into doing an exclusive interview for Possessed Magazine. Still shaken by his UltraSignup interview experience, he only agreed to the interview in hopes of raising awareness for having the USATF recognize scooting as a legitimate form of participation in running events. He also refused to be photographed during the interview and insisted we instead set up a photoshoot of him scooting as the images would be “super sick” for his RazorTM portfolio.
Below is what we managed to capture, along with the long lost original UltraSignup interview at the end.
There’s a persistent rain as I duck into a small coffee shop in the sleepy town of St Helens, Oregon. My flight had just landed a couple of hours prior. After some initial confusion with the rental car company, I have finally made it out to this tiny offshoot of Portland and I’m running late. “Tony?” I ask, to a solitary, aimless man, perusing the art on the walls of this local haunt. “Hey Patrick, so nice to finally connect,” he says in a soft voice, a hint of regional accent I can’t quite place. “Let me just grab myself a little treat and we’ll get started.” He orders a large hot chocolate and “a pair of bear claws.” Tony seems briefly annoyed when told they don’t have marshmallows, but this inconvenience quickly disappears from his mind as he notices a small white dog pass by the exterior window. “That’s a purebred Coton de Tulear,” Tony remarks to no one in particular. “It’s the national dog of Madagascar.” Tony removes a nearly-bursting money clip engraved with the initials “TD” and peels off a crisp 20 dollar bill, waiving off the change. He grabs his hot chocolate sans marshmallows and two bear claws and we settle into a cozy corner of the café.
Tony’s style is at odds with itself. While undeniably messy, every aspect of him seems to have been meticulously curated. He is wearing a pair of audacious Pit Viper sunglasses despite the gloomy humdrum of a rainy Pacific Northwest town just outside these walls. An off-center fedora covers his jet-black, messy hair. Patchy facial hair indicates that Tony’s shaving schedule is sporadic, yet frequent enough to prevent the onset of an actual beard. He’s wearing a pair of denim shorts like your dad may have worn to Fourth of July barbecues when you were growing up. Tony’s tucked in Tommy Bahama-esque polo shirt seems more at home in Palm Springs than St Helens, Oregon. And to tie the whole ensemble together, he’s wearing a black leather fanny pack despite the fact that he has beside him a 30 liter Ultimate Direction Fastpack with more than enough storage space. The residents of the town don’t seem to know what to make of Tony either. The local lookie-loos can’t help but
to grab an eyeful as he removes a plush, faux velvet neck pillow from his bag and proceeds to don it for the entirety of our conversation at the coffee shop.
“I’ve been in the right place at the right time several times in my life”
If you’ve never heard the name Tony Darracoté, you’d be forgiven. This 30-something tech phenom is humble, but not guarded about his success. “I’ve been in the right place at the right time several times in my life,” Tony says, almost matter-of-factly. Anyone who knows Tony’s background knows this to be an understatement.
Born into relative squalor in Oakland, Tony receded into computers at a young age. By twelve he was being recruited to write code for major tech firms in nearby Palo Alto. Tony first hit it big when he developed a niche app that digitized “Magic: The Gathering” cards. “Magic”—or“MTG” as it’s known by its devout players—is a fantasy-based trading card game. His app allowed users to upload photos of their best cards to a cloud-based database to be cataloged in his proprietary service.The company was later bought and repurposed by a large app developer that used Tony’s tech for many of the apps on your phone today.
He hit pay dirt again in May of 2021 when he sold off his entire portfolio of Dogecoin at the near-peak of its value. “It was a pretty wild ride,”Tony says to me, “I’ve always been a big dog lover and then I saw this new crypto coin released. I just sorta went with my gut and put my savings into it. It was trading for less than a penny at the time.” When Iask what he plans to do with the money he simply responds, “You’re looking at it. St Helens holds a special place in my heart. It’s where much of the Twilight Saga was filmed. I’m currently working to acquire the rights to a defunct business called ‘Experience Twilight’. I’m gonna offer the most authentic tours of the Twilight filming locations. I’ve put in several offers on the Swan House [Bella’s home from the movies].”
“Ok, I’ve got to ask you about the memes. How...”
Tony quickly interrupts my question, “I don’t call them memes. That word conjures up such a plebeian depiction of my art. I prefer to use the term ‘Scott Jurek Fan Content’.”
When I ask him about his love of Scott Jurek a goofy smile comes across his face. “Well, it all started when I stumbled upon ‘Born toRun’. I actually thought the book was gonna be a Bruce Springsteen biography. So I’m reading it and I’m like, ‘What the hell does this haveto do with The Boss,’ but as I kept reading it, the book just sorta sucked me in, ya know? In my head I was thinking, ‘This Scott Jurek guy, wow, he’s like a certified, card-carrying badass.’ I was on eBay buying every pair of Brooks Cascadias I could find.”
“I don’t call them memes. That word conjures up such a plebeian depiction of my art. I prefer to use the term ‘Scott Jurek Fan Content’.”
“You weren’t wearing Vibram Five Fingers?”
“You kidding me?! That shit’s for nerds,” he says with a huge grin, bearclaw crumbs clutching to his wispy facial hair. “How about a tour of thetown,” he asks. I tell him I’d love a tour and we clear our table and makeour way out to the street.
Tony kneels down and begins to fiddle with a bike lock wrapped arounda Razor scooter parked in front of the café, still wearing his neck pillow.I ask him to tell me more about his scooter hobby. “In Palo Alto,everyone scoots,” he says as he loads his scooter into the trunk of myrental car. “Now, there are some posers that ride those electricscooters, but the real OGs are straight analogue. After reading ‘Born toRun’ I just started thinking, ‘hell, if Scott can run a 100 miles, I bet Icould at least scoot a marathon.’ I started calling myself ‘Scoot Jurek.’”
Tony did end up “scooting” a marathon—several actually. “My wholegoal was to qualify for Boston. I did a couple of these downhill marathoncourses and was just absolutely fuckin’ flying, man. But every time, theevent organizers removed me from the finishers list or DQ’d[disqualified] me. The worst was the San Francisco Marathon in 2018.
A couple of spectators started yelling things like, ‘Hey this guy’s cheating’ or ‘Nice vest, loser.’ When I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, a race official started waving me down, but I was able to sorta maneuver around him. But then this really big race official tackled me from the side and a bunch of spectators swarmed me and forcibly removed me from the course. One of them threw my scooter into theSan Francisco Bay. I had to walk across the bridge with a race official and take a taxi back to my condo. It was humiliating. The USATF has refused to respond to any of my questions about recognizing scooting as an allowed form of competition. Honestly, a big part of why I agreed to do this article is to hopefully raise awareness about this issue and maybe start a grassroots effort to get the USATF to change their stance on this.
Anton Krupika at home in Colorado.
“Now, there are some posers that ride those electric scooters, but the real OGs are straight analogue. After reading ‘Born to Run’ I just started thinking, ‘hell, if Scott can run a 100 miles, I bet I could at least scoot a marathon.’ I started calling myself ‘Scoot Jurek.’”
“I remember reading about that in the Ultrasignup article before it got pulled,” I tell him. “What exactly happened with that article anyways?”
He has a pained expression on his face. For the first time since meeting him, he removes his sunglasses. We’re sitting in my idling rental car in front of the coffee shop. I was promised that this Toyota Corolla was smoke-free, but it reeked of menthol cigarettes and pine-scented air fresheners. Tony hasn’t answered my question yet. He is staring straight ahead in the passenger seat, slowly closing and re-opening his eyes.
The neck pillow makes him appear impossibly still. His breaths are long and deep through pursed lips. My windshield wipers are creating a polyrhythmic duet in concert with Tony’s audible exhalations.
“I don’t really know the whole story,” he finally says, his voice a little shaky. “All I was told was that UltraSignup received some sort of reply to the article and based on that the article was deemed ‘potentially damaging to members of the community.’ The same day Candice [Burt] was on twitter talking negatively about me and my account. I’m no Archimedes, but I can put two and two together.”
“I believe the tweet you are referring to is the one where she calls you ‘barely an ultrarunner.’ How did that make you feel?”
His eyes appear puffy and red. Tony pulls out a white linen handkerchief from his fanny pack and blows his nose. “I mean I get it,” he says, his voice cracking, “I’m not out here setting FKTs and winning races like Candice. I don’t really run at all right now, but I think I’d like to someday. I’m not even really sure what she means by ‘barely a runner.’ I’ve always thought that running was open to everyone, not just the super elite. I guess I was wrong.”
“Where exactly did this beef with Candice even begin?”
“Back in December she stole one of my Scott Jurek Fan Content pieces and posted it on her page to promote an upcoming race. I would’ve been fine with it if she’d just given me credit. I had several people message me about it, but when I went to go look I realized she’d blocked my page. So I hopped on my personal account and tried messaging her, but she has all these account restrictions that won’t allow you to message her. I tried commenting on the post, but it was the same thing. So I ended up sending a message to her Destination Trail account, but was completely ignored. I ended up calling her out on my page for stealing my content. Since then she has said I was ‘trolling her’ online.”
There’s a car with their blinker on waiting for our spot in front of the café.
“Well, should we start this tour?” I say, hoping to ease the tension.
“Yeah, sorry. I’m obviously still processing everything. Take a right on this street here.” We begin driving down a decaying road towards the Columbia river. The wind is howling and the trees lining the sidewalk are contorted by the gale. “Take a right after this funeral home.” We turn onto a narrow, dead end street. It’s flanked on both sides by budding trees. “This is it on our left,” Tony says. He has a look of awe in his face. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“It’s a lovely house. Is this where you live?”
“I wish. Hopefully someday. This is the Swan House. In the Twilight Saga, this is the actual house they filmed at for the first movie. It was Bella’s home in ‘Twilight’. For ‘New Moon’ and ‘Eclipse’ they built a shell replica of the house. I keep putting in offers, but the owners don’t want to sell. It’s a whole song and dance. It’s a shame what’s become of the place. They’ve really let it go.”
As I’m looking at the tidy home with a meticulously landscaped yard and a fresh coat of paint I say, “It looks pretty good to me.”
Tony lets out an exacerbated sigh and opens the backpack at his feet. He removes a Manila folder and slides out a stack of glossy photographs. He taps aggressively on the first photo while shaking his head, it appears to be a still image from the film. “Nope, sorry Patrick, but you’re wrong. Look at the trim here in the photo. That’s clearly ‘white dove’ paint. Now look at what they used.” He points to the house.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t really see any difference,” I say.
“Are you kidding? That’s clearly ‘simply white’ paint. It’s totally wrong. Any Twi-hard could spot that a mile away. It’s disgraceful.”
“Oh, wait. Yeah, I see it now,” I lie. “It’s not even close.”
Tony seems placated by my consensus. I’m fiddling with my field recorder when a large man in a flannel walks out of the house. Tony roles down his window and the man says with squinted eyes, “Can I help you boys with something? Oh, it’s you again. Listen, I told you we aren’t interested in selling. Now this is private property. Get out of here or I’m calling Sheriff Pixley again.”
“This house belongs to every Twilight fan! It should be a museum. You’re lucky I don’t...”
“Hey Tony, let’s just get on with the rest of the tour,” I interrupt. The last thing I want is to get into a fistfight in front of the house from the damn Twilight movies while on assignment. Or worse yet, have some local yokel bash in my rental car with a baseball bat. I knew I should’ve gotten the rental insurance.
“Yeah okay,” Tony says. “This isn’t over yet,” he shouts to the man on the porch as I put the car in reverse, rain blowing sideways into the car through the open window.
“This is such bullshit,” Tony says, looking at me as the automatic window slowly squeaks closed. “I bet he’s one of these guys that saw the movies, but never even read the books. He doesn’t deserve the Swan House. It needs to go to a real fan who will take care of it. Take a right up here. I’ve got a few other places to show you.”
We’re heading straight towards the Columbia river now, the rain is finally starting to let up. A few rays of sun peek out from behind the clouds and reflect off the majestic river. Tony puts on his sunglasses.
“Hang another right here on First,” he says. We turn into the heart of Old Town St Helens. Underwhelming was the first word that came to mind, but I tried my best to be congenial.
“It’s quaint,” I say, forcing a smile.
“I know, I know, it doesn’t look like much, but this street right here is chock-full of history. See this salon here on our right? That’s the storefront they used for Petite Jolie in Twilight. It’s where Bella helps Jessica and Angela find their prom dresses. And just down the road is the Bloated Toad where Edward tells Bella he can read everyone’s mind except hers. Hell, this whole street was used in the Port Angeles scene. Take a left here on Cowlitz, then my place is up here on the right. You can park in front of the physical therapist’s office—they’re closed today.”
In front of us is an old three-story brick building. A foghorn blares from a cargo ship on the river, now just a stone’s throw away. Tony unloads his scooter from my trunk and we walk a few short steps and come to an entrance. Above the entryway an elegant sign reads “The Waterside,” written in a serif font. Both sides of the entry are bordered by large brick columns. A stamped National Historic Landmark plaque dates the “Muckle Building” to 1909, but it has clearly had some renovations.
Tony holds an electronic key fob to an access panel in the entryway. The door buzzes and Tony opens it for me. We walk past a row of mailboxes and up a narrow set of ancient stairs. We arrive in front of a door with a novelty welcome mat that says, “Vampires Not Welcome (Unless It’s Edward)” Tony notices me reading it and a satisfied smile flashes across his face. “I had that custom made,” he says. As he opens the door, a tiny Pomeranian comes rushing towards us with a yippy little bark. “Easy there, Dudley dog,” Tony says in a sing-song tone. “He acts tough, but he’s just a little cuddle bug.” Tony rubs behind Dudley’s ear and the dog rolls onto his back exposing his belly. Tony grabs a small dog treat out of his fanny pack and hands it to me. “Tell Dudley to ‘walk pretty.’”
“Walk pretty,” I say. Dudley stares blankly at me. I match Tony’s sing- song tone. “Walk pretty, Dudley.” The Pomeranian twists over and hops up on his hind legs. He bounces forward with his little arms tucked against his chest. “Good boy,” I say as I hand him his treat.
Tony scoops Dudley up under his arm as we enter the main room of the loft. The exterior wall is exposed brick, giving the space a very chic look. In the center of the room is an old television. Beside it sits the largest collection of VHS cassettes I have seen since the Blockbuster in Prescott closed in 2005. Tony will tell anyone who is willing to listen that “you haven’t seen New Moon until you’ve seen it on VHS”—he told me several times.
Tony will tell anyone who is willing to listen that “you haven’t seen New Moon until you’ve seen it on VHS”—he told me several times.
I thumb through the rack and pull out a copy of Unbreakable. “I didn’tknow they released this on VHS.”
“They didn’t,” he says with a sly look. “You don’t wanna know how muchit cost me to get that made.” Tony is sitting on a small bench removing apair of Adidas Terrex shoes. He slips on a pair of Hoka slides, lookingjust like a scene out of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Dudley retires to adog bed designed for an animal ten times his size. “Would you like a Powerade?”
“Sure.” Tony opens his refrigerator. I can see over his shoulder that it’sfilled with nothing but Powerade bottles.
“Mountain Berry Blast or Fruit Punch?”
“Either is fine.” He brings me a red one and turns on the light in an officebeside the kitchen.
“I’m assuming you wanted to see the ‘Control Room,’” he says. Insideis an ancient Macintosh LC II computer circa 1993.
“This is the computer you use?” I ask, puzzled.
“Yeah, these things are tanks. I’ve completely upgraded it. It’s totallystate of the art.”
On the exposed brick wall of his office, Tony has the words “STAYHIGH” written in large light-up marquee letters. I ask him what thatmeans. “A lot of people see that and think it’s, like, drug related,” helaughs. “I like the hookah bar as much as the next guy, but it’s morelike being stoked on what you’re doing. Sometimes I just take a CBDgummy and ride my scooter for hours. I’ll ride it alongside [highway] 30and semi-trucks are blaring their horns at me, but I can’t even hearthem. Just in my own fucking world living my reality. That’s what ‘StayHigh’ is all about. Just living life and shit.” Tony looks at the beat-up,oversized Suunto Ambit 3 watch on his wrist. “Oh man, I hadn’t realizedhow late it’d gotten. I’m so sorry, Patrick, but I’ve got another meetingacross town at three. We’re going to have to wrap this up.”
“That’s what ‘Stay High’ is all about. Just living life and shit.”
“No worries,” I tell him, “I think I’ve gotten plenty.”
“It was such a pleasure meeting with you, Patrick. This has seriouslybeen the highlight of my year so far.” I go in for a handshake, but Tonypulls me in for a hug. “Stay high, brother,” he whispers in my ear. “Stayhigh.”
Patrick Dalton is a freelance journalist living in Prescott, AZ with his wifeand children. His forthcoming book, “How Athletics Shaped Our Planet”is set for release in September of 2022.