The MKE ultra and trail running communities grieved when Tom Bunk passed away in September after a long battle with cancer.
Known for his passion and dedication to ultra and trail running, Tom spent countless hours measuring, developing and marking courses, volunteering at aid stations and actively promoting the sport. Not to mention setting numerous ultrarunning records of his own!
So it comes as no surprise that runners have banded together to honor Tom’s memory. Currently, funds are being raised to build Bunk House – a heated shelter in the Scuppernong Trails.
We recently chatted with Craig Swartwout, who is leading the fundraiser, about what building the Bunk House will mean to the ultra and trail running communities.
Can you tell us a bit about the fundraiser?
It’s for what we are calling the “Bunk House” for short. A heated shelter at the Scuppernong State Park to honor Tom and Lorraine Bunk and all of their contributions to ultra and trail running.
How much are you hoping to raise and how much have you raised to date?
We are hoping to raise $40K for the basic shelter, and anything over that we will use to add improvements – maybe running water, indoor toilets, etc. These are dependent on how much is raised and what decisions are made in cooperation with the DNR
We have verbal commitments for about $16K which we expect to have collected by the end of the year.
Why is there a need for this type of building at the Scuppernong trails?
Scuppernong only has pit toilets and no permanent shelter. Both the skiers (using the Scuppernong loops) and the runners (using the Ice Age Trail and Horse Trails) would benefit from the structure in the colder months.
Can you talk a bit about who Tom Bunk was and what he contributed to the running community?
Tom Bunk holds a number of age group records in various ultra events but it was his commitment to grow and support the sport and his dedication to helping new ultrarunners that really made him special. Tom was a tough but fair competitor that had great compassion for everyone he knew.
He was instrumental in setting up the Glacial Trail 50 and the Kettle 100 and marked those trails, as well as the Ice Age 50, for around 25 years.
What was your relationship with Tom Bunk?
I was his friend and had the pleasure of marking trails with him and enjoyed the occasional game of golf as well.
Any other comments?
Tom was the kind of man that when he’s gone it leaves a big hole in many people’s lives.
Thanks for chatting with us, Craig! If you’re interested in learning more about the Bunk House or would like to contribute toward the fundraiser, you can learn more here:
Wishing you all a weekend of fantastic running, and as always …
Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!