Adventure for Someone: 40-for-40

Written by Rachel Brackins

Photos courtesy of Willie McBride @thewilliegmcbride

“I love the fact that the definition of adventure is basically an undertaking with an uncertain outcome,” Willie said, an undeniable sparkle in his eye. “There are endless opportunities for adventure — sure, traveling and seeing new places is incredible and I’m privileged to do it — but, I love the idea that you can adventure in your own backyard. It takes a perspective shift to look at the world in a whole new way. Seeing the sunrise and sunset, or staying awake to see the moon…there are so many small things that are totally within reach that infuse us with a feeling of something new and unique. It’s those new experiences that scratch some deep itch within us.”

Willie McBride: 40 for 40 (1)

No stranger to adventure, Willie McBride began rock climbing at 10 years old and has been leaning into those uncertain outcomes ever since. Hiking, running, mountaineering, owning a small business — the list goes on. This mindset has given him a lifelong front row seat to the benefits of physical movement, nature and new challenges. And, speaking of challenges…leading up to his 40th birthday, Willie decided to mark the occasion with something special. 

“Every year I try to think about more crazy things to do. Coming up to my 40th year, I thought ‘Why don’t I do 40 things?’ So, the idea was to do 40 events or adventures in one year, starting on my birthday, March 17. I wanted to make it a celebration of life, movement and people. The logical side of me sees how it’s a little ambitious and crazy, but the other part of me is like ‘Why not go big?’”

When we spoke he had just completed his 11th challenge – 30 miles of the Juan de Fuca Trail on Vancouver Island. His list intentionally pairs some pretty incredible remote adventures (Catalina Island Traverse, Bright Angel Traverse at the Grand Canyon, multiple trails in Iceland) with well-known and well-attended racing events (LA Marathon, Gorge Waterfalls 50k, Smith Rock Ascent 50k) in order to showcase the wide range of activities and opportunities available for anyone who is interested.

According to Willie, he always knew just completing these challenges wasn’t going to be enough. He was passionate about making sure this year transcended beyond himself and his personal goals, so, he set up an Adventure for Someone fundraiser as a way to bring a larger meaning to his plans. 

Willie McBride 40 for 40 (2)

“I know from experience that physical movement and getting out into nature can be impactful on so many levels, like for mental health and trying to make sense of the crazy world. It’s therapeutic. I want to give today’s youth the same chances I had — I believe so strongly in the necessity of those opportunities for all sorts of folks.”

As he moves through this year, Willie has been (and will continue to be) constantly reminded of the transformative power of nature, the healing value of movement, and the miracle of inviting breath in and pushing it out of one’s lungs. We can’t wait to see the impact he makes!

You can follow along with Willie’s progress here:

(Last we checked, he had just completed number 12!)

You don’t have to be as ambitious as our friend Willie to make a difference in the lives of the students Big City Mountaineers works with. All adventures are welcome — in your own backyard, in your city park, your bike path or your local crag. Click here to learn more about how to set up your own Adventure for Someone

Willie McBride 40 for 40 (3)

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