Residence: Phoenix, AZ & Silverton, CO
Team Member Since: 2009
Occupation: Founder & Race Director, Aravaipa Running
Favorite Race Distance: 100 Miles
2013 Race Highlight: 3rd Place Angeles Crest 100 Mile
The rational in doing such a sport, is to experience the extraordinary moments of exceeding. You cannot experience them in normal life.Yiannis Kouros
What is your most memorable race experience?
I have two. The first was my finish of the MMD (More & More Difficult) 50K race in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in 2008. This was a no fee, minimal aid fat ass style “race” with no course markings. The race director handed us a photocopied map and a written trail description at the start line. I had been invited to the race by my friend Steve Pero up at Hardrock the year before and the entrant’s list was basically a who’s who from the Barkley.
The MMD 50K is a race that they try to make tougher each year. My year, the race featured over 17,000 feet of elevation gain and subsequent loss over 32 miles. That is over half the climbing of Hardrock in less than a third of the distance! The race essentially climbed directly up to the summits of each of the named peaks in the Presidential range and then screamed straight back down to the base of the mountain range (and then was repeated over and over).
Some highlights of the run included a hail and thunderstorm at the top of Mount Washington that had us stuck in the lodge on top for 45 minutes, climbing a 75 foot vertical granite head wall at mile 8, trying to scramble up the unmaintained for 20+ years Adam’s Slide Trail, battling 2 different storm systems that moved across the range during the race, fog, getting lost for hours, and finally finishing after 19 hours and 50 minutes! I finished dead last with one other runner and was one of only seven finishers for the day. Photos by Steve Pero
The other was my experience running in the inaugural Grand Mesa 100 in Colorado in 2010. I went up to the race without a crew or pacer and ended up running from mile 20 to 90 without seeing another race competitor. The race turned out to be extremely brutal with difficult footing, cross country sections at night, and route finding that whittled down the field to just 5 finishers out of 30+ starters. One of my favorite memories was running across the top of that mesa up at 10,000 feet at night alone under the stars, searching for course markers and just enjoying being “out there”.
What is your favorite place to train?
Hands down, my favorite trails and places to train are in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Everything there is just so epic and surreal. The mountains, the streams, wildflowers and vastness of the landscape is awe inspiring. When I’m in Arizona, I love the Superstition Mountains, Cave Creek Trail System, and South Mountain (where I now run almost daily).
What is your favorite snack during a race?
During shorter ultras, I use my own homemade gel made of a mix of maltodextrin and fructose powder. It is cheap, simple and as effective as commercially made gels. I also really enjoy fruit, especially Medjool dates, watermelon, mangoes and oranges. For longer races, I like mashed potatoes.
If you listen to music during your run, what do you listen to?
I don’t often listen to music while I run.
When you aren’t running, what do you do with your spare time?
When I’m not running, I’m helping to organize over 20 ultra races per year for Aravaipa Running. In my spare time I enjoy camping, hiking, and snowboarding in the winter.
What inspires you to go the ultra distance?
I’m inspired by getting out and exploring new places. I love visiting canyons, mountains, and wilderness areas, and running allows me an opportunity to cover a lot of ground.
What is your favorite book?
I really enjoyed Running Wild by John Annerino. He is a total bad ass who was running trail ultras before the sport even existed, right here in Arizona. After smashing his foot in a climbing accident on Camelback Mountain in the seventies, he went on to do several multiday runs across the Grand Canyon.
Do you have any pets?
Any other sponsors?
No other sponsors, but number one on my list would be Mizuno.