This month we speak to American trail ultra runner and last year’s Hardrock 100 champion about training, being out in the wilderness and honing his competitive spirit
You are now in your fifth year as a professional ultra runner. How did you first get into the sport? Have you got any special memories from when you first started competing?
My running roots go back to playing soccer as a youth. My forte was always endurance and running at speed. I walked on to a Division 1 Track and XC program at Montana State University after burning out on soccer. Trail and mountains were always where I enjoyed running the most but, 15 years ago, there wasn’t much of a competitive trail scene and competition was important to me. I managed to run some OK road times while serving in the Air Force as an active duty officer – 14:40 5k, 1:10 half, and 2:27 at the Marine Corps Marathon. Then, in 2010, I found out about The North Face San Francisco 50 mile, and haven’t raced on the road since. I used to have a real love-hate relationship with hard workouts, but since switching to the trail, I almost never dread a run.
Congratulations on your Hardrock 100 win with Kílian Jornet. How did you find the race?
I found Hardrock to be just as I expected: the best race, course, and community of athletes I’ve ever been involved with. My performance was good, but I never felt as though I was doing anything extraordinary. I trained smartly and fairly conservatively in the months leading up to the race, never doing anything to really brag about, volume-wise. This conservative but consistent approach to training, and not being overwhelmed mentally by my competition, was instrumental in my success at Hardrock.
What has been your greatest running achievement?
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May - June 2017