Runner Profile: Jonathan Ellsworth, Founder / Editor, Blister

Vitals: 5’10”, ~175 lbs.

(see my general bio & skier profile)

Running Background, Style, and General Preferences

I used to be one of those people who said things like, “I hate running.”

As a little kid, high school student, college athlete, and a good chunk of my adult life, I basically believed that running only made sense if you were (1) chasing a soccer ball, football, or basketball, or (2) training for those sports — which is the only reason why I ran track in high school; being a sprinter was good speed work for football.

In the last 6-7 years, however, the unthinkable has occurred: I have come to … appreciate running.

Jonathan Ellsworth, Blister Review, Runner Profile
Jonathan Ellsworth running on Upper Loop trail, Crested Butte, CO.

I wouldn’t exactly say that I have come to unequivocally love it, but I would definitely say that I love the satisfaction of having gone running, and I really dislike the way I feel when I don’t run a couple times a week.

That said, I don’t run long distances. It’s typically four to five miles a clip.

But such things are always subject to change, and so while I can imagine a world where I start tossing in a 7-8 mile run every so often, I’m not sure that I’ll ever run an ultramarathon. Or even a marathon. (Or even a half, really. Ok, now I’m starting to sound really lazy.) I typically run solo, and listening to the right hip-hop definitely makes me run faster.

Surface Preferences

Currently, most of my running is done right out my front door, where I start on paved roads for about half a mile, before getting onto one of the trails around Mt. Crested Butte. And while I really dislike cheap, unstable treadmills, I won’t refuse to run on a professional-grade treadmill — I actually like the suspension of good treadmills. (And I realize that half of you reading this just gasped. Or vomited.)

It’s not that I love running on cement or pavement — I’d much prefer to run on even grass; smooth, dirt trails; or (in the dead of winter) a very sturdy treadmill. But given some medial meniscus injuries to both knees that I’ve dealt with over the years, sticking to even surfaces rather than rocky, rooty trails has made more sense in the past. But these days, everything feels good, and with such easy access to such good trails in and around CB, I’m currently doing just as much or more trail running than road running. (That said, I will confess that if the trail is particularly rocky and rooty, I’d rather be on a mountain bike than running.)

Shoe Preferences

While I have claimed that I wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of Vibram five-finger glove shoe thingies, I do tend to roll more “minimalist” than “maximalist” when it comes to running shoes. So you can keep your moon-boot running shoes that have fat heels and huge drops. I prefer zero-drop shoes, but I can typically get along with a pretty wide variety of shoes with drops that range from 0 – 8 mm.

I’m also in the camp that believes that it makes sense to strengthen your feet as much as you can rather than rely on a ton of support from your shoe. So I like flexible soles, stretchy uppers, and fairly firm cushioning.

In sum: roomy, low-drop shoes with a bit of firm cushioning = my current sweet spot. But I also believe that shoe preferences, too, are subject to change. So we shall see where this particular running path takes me.

Some Shoes I’ve Clicked With

Current shoes: Altra Escalante Racer (zero-drop shoe for road / hardpack-dirt trails); Topo Athletic Runventure 2 (for trail running). Older shoes: Merrell Bare Access 2 (zero-drop shoe for treadmill & road running); Merrell Merrell Mix Master 2 (4mm-drop shoe for road and trail running)

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