1. When did you start running and did you have any particular reasons for starting?
I started running in elementary school. Nothing much, just a bit of running to stay in shape for soccer and to prepare for the mile race that we ran on field day.
2. In terms of your running, what has been your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement would be winning and setting the course record at the 2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. I no longer have the record as my Nike Trail teammate Alex Varner broke it this year. That’s a good thing though. Alex is a great guy and I want the sport to advance and get faster. Broken records are a great thing!
3. What has been your favourite race to date and why?
My favorite race is actually a small race in Pennsylvania called the Conestoga Trail Run. It’s not big and it’s pretty old school, but it’s awesome. It takes place in Lancaster County, PA which is where I grew up. The course is pretty much nothing but climbs and descents. It has about 3,000ft of gain in 10 miles. I ran it in 2012 and 2014 and I hope to run it again this year.
4. If you could run any race, anywhere in the world which would it be and why?
UTMB! When I think of ultra running UTMB is quite possibly the biggest, most prestigious ultra in the world. That is a big draw for me because I love running big, competitive races. In addition to that, UTMB is just such an awesome course. I love that it is one giant loop that circles Mont Blanc and passes through three different countries (France, Italy, and Switzerland). I ran much of the route about two years ago and it was incredible. The landscape is challenging and yet incredibly beautiful. It would be awesome to test myself on such a course!
5. Running wise, who do you look up to and who has inspired you?
I can’t answer this question without mentioning my high school track coach, Jeff Bradley. Jeff was a great runner back in the day. He competed first for the same High School as I (Hempfield) and then for Millersville University. Post collegiately Jeff was one of the best runners in the nation and got to race against the likes of Frank Shorter and many other great runners. Nowadays Jeff does a lot of cycling but he has remained a great friend of mine. He took me on long distance cycling trips when I was young and showed me the joy of endurance sports. In fact, he was the one who urged me to run the JFK 50 Mile race. If it weren’t for him I may have never found my niche in ultra running!
In addition to Jeff I also admire runners like Brian Sell and Steve Prefontaine. Brian Sell was an Olympic Marathon who ran for the Brooks Hansons Distance Project. Like me, he grew up in Pennsylvania and he now lives in Lancaster, PA which is where I grew up. As for Steve Prefontaine, it’s pretty simple. I love his gutsy, all-out, nothing less than my best mentality!
6. If you could impart one piece of solid advice to a mid-pack ultrarunner looking to run faster on the trail, looking to PR or even looking to win a race someday what would it be?
Variety! Don’t do the same thing all the time. Mix it up and train all your systems. Easy runs, hard runs, long runs, fast terrain, technical terrain, climbing, descending…it’s all important. Also, it’s not about doing some magical workout. It’s about understanding the concepts and applying them to your training. When you do all of this stuff make sure you do it CONSISTENTLY. Training is far more effective when done consistently.
7. Outside of running, what motivates you and what are your ambitions?
Not so much outside of my running, but woven into my running is my Christian faith. It’s very important to me, and I like to think of my running as an act of worship and a way to have a positive impact on others.
Additionally, I like meeting and interacting with people. In the coming months I will be starting a new job working as a caretaker at Barr Camp which is basically a mountain refuge on Pikes Peak in Colorado. I’m looking forward to living on the mountain and interacting with the runners and hikers that pass through the doors of Barr Camp.
8. If you had the ability to change one thing in the world what would that be?
That’s a heavy question, but one thing that really bugs me is gossip. It can be a really hurtful and unproductive thing and I feel like the world would be a much better place without it. I’m not saying that I never gossip, but it would be great if we could learn to do it less, or not at all!
9. You’re stranded on a desert island – what three things would you want with you?
My Bible, a friend, and a good sturdy knife.
10. What is the best book you’ve ever read and/or the best movie you’ve ever seen?
There are so many good ones, but I read Unbroken fairly recently and really liked it. As for movies, Men of Honor and Goodwill Hunting are both great.