Hillary Gerardi won the 2018 Skyrunner Extra World Series Circuit, and yet, she still doesn’t necessarily think of herself as a runner. So Brendan Leonard and Jonathan Ellsworth discuss this with Hillary, and what it is that she enjoys most about being in the mountains. Hillary was born in Vermont, but lives in Chamonix and works at the Research Center for Alpine Ecosystems, so of course, we discuss all of that, too.
In 2017, Rickey Gates set out on an odyssey to run across America — 3,700 miles from South Carolina to San Francisco. We talked to Rickey about this cross-country adventure and what he learned along the way, and how it fits in with his other projects, like his “Every Single Street” initiative; “Hut Run Hut” and “Bus Run Bus”; and “50 Classic Trails.”
Late last week, Brendan Leonard and Jonathan Ellsworth talked with Jenny and Scott Jurek. This probably wasn’t the conversation that you ought to have when you get to talk with a running icon like Scott Jurek and someone who is as accomplished and interesting as Jenny, but, whatever. We had fun, and you will, too. Among other things, we talk about Scott’s very first race; Jenny’s transition from climbing to running; Scott’s love of cooking; Jenny’s ambition to set the Slowest Known Time on the Pacific Crest Trail; and the process of co-writing their wonderful book, North.
Dom di Tommaso (@domtomato) is a freerunner, a certified mind blower, and the guy behind one of our favorite Instagram pages and YouTube channels in the world. So on our latest Off The Couch podcast, we talked to Dom about his uncommon upbringing; his training, his focus, his injury history, and how he avoids dying doing the stuff he does; and more.
Eric Schranz has been a staple of the trail running and ultrarunning world for over a decade — both as a passionate runner, and as the host of Ultrarunnerpodcast.com. And since Eric spends so much of his time writing about and interviewing other runners, Brendan Leonard (semi-rad.com) and I thought it would be fun to put Eric in the guest seat. So Brendan and I talked with Eric about how he got into running; his work in the music industry and politics; getting started at ultrarunnerpodcast.com; the art of conversation; how running media differs from other sports media coverage; and a whole lot more — including, a rather spirited discussion about the best bank robbery and heist movies of all time.
Ryan Van Duzer has a YouTube series called, Running with Ryan. And last fall, as our Off The Couch co-host, Brendan Leonard, was nearing his goal of running 52 marathons in 52 weeks, Ryan had Brendan as a guest on Running with Ryan. So we thought we’d give Brendan the chance to turn the tables and have him interview Ryan, and that proved to be a good idea. They talk about snakes; biking across the country; starting his YouTube channel; the Burning Man Ultra; and a whole lot more.
Joe Grant is an endurance athlete, a mountain runner, a reader, a writer, a thinker, a filmmaker, and, as you are about to find out, an exceptional storyteller. In this conversation, Brendan Leonard and Jonathan Ellsworth talk to Joe about how he got into running; racing (and winning) the 2008 Caballo Blanco Copper Canyon Ultra and how that affected his life; his Tour de Fourteeners, a self-powered and self-supported link up of all Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks by bike and on foot; and a whole lot more.
When a 15-year-old Hayden Hawks first learned about the Western States 100, he knew that he would someday get into running ultras, and it became his dream to race Western States. Fast forward 14 years later, and the now-29-year-old Hayden Hawks is a world-class runner, he’s just won the Black Canyon 100k, and he’s qualified to race Western States this June. So we talked to Hayden about his Black Canyon 100 win and the specific lessons he learned there. And we discuss his trajectory from running track in high school to where he is today, and more.
Simply put, the exploits of the explorer, John Colter (who was a member of Lewis & Clarke’s famous expedition), are mind boggling. And in their short film, “Colter: A Legacy of Adventure,” Sawyer Thomas and Riis Wilbrecht set out to venture through the territory John Colter had explored two centuries ago, across some of the most remote terrain in the lower 48 states. So we talked to Sawyer and Riis about John Colter and why they chose this particular adventure; the (serious) difficulty of running, skiing, and trekking through this terrain; the logistics of shooting this film; and more.
By some measures, Eric Walker is a pretty normal guy. He lives in Minnesota, he’s not a professional runner, he’s 38 years old, and he’s a husband and a dad. But at some point in 2018, Eric found himself committed to the goal of running 5 kilometers every day for 365 days … and a year later, he’d done it. So Brendan Leonard and Jonathan Ellsworth talked to Eric to find out what motivated him to do this? How he actually pulled it off? What he learned in the process? And whether this something he thinks the rest of us should try?
Nell Rojas is fascinating. And fast. So fast that on February 29th, she’s got a shot at making the USA Marathon team, despite the fact that she didn’t race her 1st marathon until 2018. But she then won her 2nd marathon (the very competitive Grandma’s Marathon), and now, the Olympic Trials are right around the corner. So we talked to Nell about her unique background; the dynamics of being coached by her dad (Rick Rojas); her uncommon emphasis on strength training, low mileage, speed work, and more.
Liza Howard is smart, funny, accomplished, humble, and by her own account … is extremely susceptible to peer pressure. She’s run marathons to impress a guy, still runs marathons for donut money, has won the Leadville 100 (and other big races) multiple times, is a coach, a parent, a NOLS Wilderness instructor, and the director of the terrific non-profit, Band of Runners. Her energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and you are in for a treat.
Duncan Callahan is back on Off The Couch, and we discuss the increasing amount of coaching he’s doing with Carmichael Training Systems (including our own Maddie Hart); thoughts on winter training; the logistics of being a coach versus being an athlete, and more.
Trail Sisters is a trail running community for women and an online journal that offer lots of great resources — including articles and stories, grants, retreats, directories for female coaches, trail locations, and races that meet the trail sisters standards for gender equity. So we spoke to Gina Lucrezi, the founder of Trail Sisters, about the unusual way in which Gina got into running; her impressive accomplishments as a runner; the remarkable things happening at Trail Sisters; the ways you can get involved with and support Trail Sisters; and more.
In 2019, Grayson Murphy won the US Mountain Running Championship; the World Mountain Running Championship; and the Xterra Trail Run World Championship. But there were many twists and turns along the way in getting there, and perhaps even more impressive and instructive than her wins is her willingness to experiment, adjust, and explore new ideas and practices, which we discuss in this conversation.
We talk to Sanjay Rawal about his rather spectacular performance — and even more spectacular meltdown — near the end of the California International Marathon, and discuss the concepts of running dumb; training slow; finding joy through exertion; whether it is possible to run a great time by not caring about running a great time; and more.
What’s the best way to eat to feel good and perform well? Nutrition and Diet are massive topics, as are all of the related issues surrounding them. So on our latest Off The Couch podcast, we talk with Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Kylee Van Horn, about the various diets out there; whether certain diets are prone to help or hurt training recovery; athletes & eating disorders, and more.
New running events seem to be popping up all the time, which raises the question: Are there some specific policies, and practices that should be built into all or most running events? To help us think about this, we talked to Caleb Efta, the race director of the High Lonesome 100, about some of the specific policies and requirements of the event that are designed to mitigate its environmental impacts and increase gender equality.
For 2019, Brendan Leonard (semi-rad.com) set a goal for himself: run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. He told very few people about this goal, and we are proud to report that Brendan accomplished his goal with several weeks to spare. So we talked to Brendan about what prompted him to create this plan; why he decided to tell very few people about it; exactly what the parameters were for these ‘marathons’; how he handled the logistics; what he learned along the way; and more.
We talk to Blister reviewers, Maddie Hart and Gordon Gianniny, about how they handle running and training in the cold and on icy roads and trails; what gear works and doesn’t work for them; and more. Check it out, and let us know your own best tips, tricks, and practices.
By the time she was 5 years old, Kelly Newlon had already identified two of her biggest passions: running and cooking. Those passions led her to running longer and longer races and becoming a classically trained chef who now is — quite literally — feeding and fueling the ultrarunning community, including a high number of its elite performers.
Stevie Kremer is back on the show, and she came to BLISTER HQ in Mt. Crested Butte to talk about her experience at this year’s New York City Marathon — including all the gory details and the lessons she learned; the things about running she truly loves and truly hates the most; how many children is too many children, and more.
Mr. Cappuccino of the Cappuccino Cowboys is back on the show to issue an apology for his performance last week. And then Jared Hazen and Eric Senseman join us, so we got to ask them why they continue to associate with Mr. Cappuccino, and more.
What is Cappuccino Cowboys, and who is the person behind it? Is he an evil genius hell-bent on ruining ultrarunning? A provocateur shaking up the stodgy state of running media? Or is he just a giant pain in the ass of Jim Walmsley, Eric Senseman, Jared Hazen, Cody Reed, Tommy Rivs and a few other unfortunate souls? We spoke to Mr. Cappuccino himself to find out.
Maggie Guterl just became the first woman ever to win Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra, a multi-day race that does not have a fixed-distance finish line. So we talked to Maggie about how this extraordinary race works, and Maggie does a brilliant job of detailing what it was like to overcome the unique physical and mental challenges of Big’s; the significance of being the race’s first female champion; the next insane race she has her sights set on, and more.
Simply put, Mike McKnight is amazing. He won the Bigfoot 200 in August, the Tahoe 200 in September, and he just won the Moab 240. And in covering those ~640 miles of racing, he smashed his own cumulative-time record for the 3 races by … 43 hours. That’s not what you’d expect from a chubby kid who grew up on a dairy farm and didn’t participate in sports til he tried 1 season of highschool football, nor from a person who broke his back in a ski accident 8 years ago and had 2 rods and 9 screws placed in his spine, along with part of his hip bone. So we talk to Mike about all of this and more.
What’s it like to run two hundred and one miles … and know that you still have another 40 miles to go? And why would you sign up and subject yourself to this? To find out, we went to Moab, Utah, to the Moab 240 Endurance Run to capture the very raw and unfiltered reactions from runners, pacers, friends, medics, and concerned mothers from the Geyser Aid Station at mile 201 of the Moab 24. And we also learned what this race — and this community — is really about.
When Cam Smith graduated high school in Rockford, Illinois in 2014, he had little or no mountain experience. But fast forward a few years, and Cam is now an accomplished trail runner, mountain biker, a member of the U.S. ski mountaineering team, a repeat winner of the Grand Traverse Mountain Run from Crested Butte to Aspen, and a repeat winner of the Grand Traverse Triple Crown. So we talk to Cam about his journey, his goals, his relation to running and skiing and mountain biking, his work as a coach and as a guide at the Adaptive Center here in Crested Butte, and more.
Jason Koop is a passionate runner, the author of Training Essentials for Ultrarunning, the head coach of CTS Ultrarunning, and someone who is not afraid to speak his mind. So we talked to Jason about his endurance coaching; “nonsensical” training aids & techniques; his recent running of the 330 km Tor de Geants; the current state of the minimalist / maximalist shoe debate; what he thinks the running scene will look like 10 years from now; and a *whole* lot more.