Fresh Takes on Trail Running & its Future (Ep.6)


  • Getting into running & ultras as teenagers (2:55)
  • How do you see trail running changing? (19:47)
  • Inner demons & ultras (24:00)
  • How do you see the future of competitive trail running? (30:50)
  • On Maddie & Gordon’s upcoming relay-style trail ultramarathon (36:03)
  • Ultras as Eating Contests (41:55)
  • Which races are on your bucket list? (49:32)
  • Thoughts on ‘ultra’ ultras? (52:47)

While participation in trail running and ultra trail races is increasing, it has tended to draw an older crowd. But things are changing. Younger runners are getting into the sport, and they aren’t following all the old conventions.

So I sat down at our BLISTER HQ in Crested Butte to discuss the current and future state of trail running and ultra trail running with two of our new BLISTER contributors and reviewers, who are also both young — and rising — trail runners.

Maddie Hart and Gordon Gianniny both competed at the Youth Skyrunning World Championships in L’Aquila, Italy, last summer, and they are both currently in the Gastein Valley in Austria’s South Eastern Alps, about to compete in the Adidas Infinite Trails World Championships, where they will each be running the 60-kilometer leg of a team relay race — and their 60k leg includes about 12,000 feet of elevation gain.

Maddie is currently 21 years old, and Gordon is 22. That is quite young in the world of ultrarunning, and with that comes a pretty different and fresh perspective on trail running and ultras. So I talk with them about how they got into trail running and longer-distance racing as teenagers; their take on the fact that a lot of people get into ultras later in life as a way to cope with inner demons, or as a response to certain life crises; how they see trail running changing, and what they see as its future; and we talk about some of the races that are on their particular bucket lists — and which ones definitely are not.

Maddie Hart and Gordon Gianniny talk to Jonathan Ellsworth about the future of trail running on Blister's Off The Couch podcast
Maddie Hart running in Crested Butte, CO. (photo by Gordon Gianniny)

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