This past Thursday, Mort Nace (General Manager) of Medved Running and Walking Outfitter hosted his 2nd annual panel discussion on ultra and trail running. As a co-founder of Goose Adventure Racing and Race Director for many Roads Are Poison events, Mort is often considered among the founders of trail running and racing in this region.
Medved opened up its store to runners of all kinds to talk about trail running and ultra running. Nace brought in a panel to discuss nutrition, pacing and training to go along with the highs, lows, and celebrations of the trail running community.
Moderated by Chris O’Brien, host of RunningInsideOut Podcast the event kicked off at 6:00pm with drinks and greetings before getting into the nitty gritty of the world of trail and ultra running.
Nace says his intent was to bring together much of the running community, share stories, get inspired and get people testing their own limits.
“This isn’t about the how to but about the stories. To get psyched to try something new, to find out about that happy vibe we all love about this sport.”
Bringing together a panel that consisted of over 100 ultra finishes, close to 35 hundreds completed and thousands of miles spent in the woods, the event showcased what Nace was looking for; A room full of folks ready to share and listen to stories about those happy vibes found on the trails.
Amidst all of the advice on nutrition, training, and gear, the stories of success and failure, and of joy and tears the over-riding theme of the evening seemed to be about what the trails can do for us as humans. As Olga Huber stated “The woods can be a magical place, there is no government out there.”
We heard of a tale of running through the night with a stranger and never feeling the need to say more than a word. We listened to a story teaching us that sometimes digestion takes precedence over performance and even discussed the concept that someone you see once or twice a year in the woods can feel closer to you than the people you see every day. Over the course of 40 miles you become like a brother or sister to someone you just met.
John Prohira, perhaps the most accomplished ultra-runner on the panel shared a story about just what it means to be a trail runner. In a world that has gone inside and has become sedentary he said “My children grew up watching adults play. It’s as simple as that. Trail running is a gift. Embrace it.”
When the panel ended, we saw a showcase of the trail running community first hand. As you observed runners around the room you would see people introduce themselves to each other for the first time and begin to talk about running and then you would witness first hand those running stories turn to life stories and friendships begin to form. Right there in front of us.
Perhaps Prohira is right, that sure does seem like a gift.