Sally McRae ( aka yellowrunner) is a professional ultra runner who has run some of the worlds greatest trail races such as the Western States 100, Ultra trail (da moan blanc) du Mont Blanc and the Badwater 135, 2021 women’s champion. Sally is also a wife and mother of two, coach, motivational speaker, and writer. Sally started running long distances after college and discovered trail running in 2010. She fell in love with the trail community and opportunities the races brought to explore the world. Her competitiveness and speed made her a standout in the trail community. Sally is passionate about inspiring others around her to live their best life.
Have you ever met someone you feel like you could talk to forever? That is how we felt chatting it up with Salley McRae. She is a beautiful person inside and out. On this episode Sally shares parts of her life that shaped her into the grateful, optimistic, happy person she chooses to be. She also talks about how she manages her busy career and parenting and of course, mom guilt. Find out where the name Yellowrunner came from and what Sally is up to these days. This one was special; we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Joel Stetler is a husband and father of 3 and teaches 3rd grade in California. Joel is also fighting stage 4 fibromyxoid sarcoma, a rare cancer that is yet to have a cure. Last year he ran 37 miles for his 37th birthday to raise money for the Brave Like Gabe Foundation, founded by Gabriel Grunewald to inspire people to share stories of being brave through their own struggles while also helping to find better and more effective treatments for rare cancer. Joel was also a runner-up in the Brooks Runfulness Project, this led to he and is wife, Amanda co-founding the Running Buddies Project, which works to award VIP race day experiences to runners with life threatening illnesses.
This one will move you! Joel is an amazing person with an outlook on life that is incredible. He has made a choice to find hope and joy amid an awful diagnosis. On this episode we talk about his cancer diagnosis, the misdiagnosed hematoma and more. We dive into what a support team means and having objectivity during everything. Joel talks about his 37-mile run as well as other runs and the struggles he has faced. All of this has led creating the Running Buddies Project. Joel has a lot of enthusiasm when he talks about. I find myself thinking often of this conversation. There are so many valuable lessons in this one.
IG - hey_mr_stetler
IG - runningbuddiesproject
Hillary’s career as an endurance athlete has not been straightforward. Through injury, setbacks and unexpected challenges, Hillary’s had to re-think what she considers impossible. Early in her career, Hillary earned the nickname “Hillygoat” when she proved her ability to run fast on steep, technical mountain terrain – a style of running known as Skyrunning. Since then, she has raced all over the world, racking up wins and course records, establishing herself as one of the best mountain ultra-runners in the world. In 2017 she had a life-threatening accident, where she fell 150 feet off of a ridgeline during a Sky race in Tromsø, Norway. She was told she would never run again. After several years of rehab and recovery, Hillary made a full recovery and returned to elite level racing, racing some of her longest and most challenging events post-accident. She maintains the belief that ‘your best athletic days are ahead of you, if you’re willing to work hard for what you love.
Hillary also studies and teaches science, using her master’s degree in neuroscience and physiology and structural biology. She is also a trail running coach, and a gravel cyclist.
This one gave us all the feels! Positive; genuine; passionate; expressive are just a few words that describe Hillary Allen. On this episode we discuss Hillary’s book and how it has impacted her life. There is so much wisdom in her writing and when she speaks. Hillary also tells us what life has been like traveling and living in her custom van over the last several months. And so much more! This was a good one with lots of inspiration, we know you will love it.
Steve has been running since he was in high school. After burning out and taking a 20-year hiatus he picked it back up when his children (now 30 & 26) got involved in middle school cross country which led him to HS cross country coaching for 5 years. Some injuries moved Steve off the pavement and towards the trails. Currently Steve is a real estate broker / auctioneer and the VP of the Indiana Trail Runners Association but has always made time to hit the trails and race. With a few hundred races under his belt Steve has some big accomplishments in his running career; 23 marathons with a Boston qualifier; 15 ultra marathons; 2012 Trail Runner Magazine’s Trophy series winner just to name a few. Last year during a marathon trail race Steve fell and detached his right Achilles, had surgery in November and has been rehabbing since.
Have you ever asked yourself what would I do if I could no longer run? That is what our guest, Steve Baber was faced with. Hear Steve talk about the highs and lows of not being able to run and rehabbing an injury for over a year. Steve talks about how embracing the trail running community gave him hope as he worked towards recovery. Steve also talks about what it is like to age in the sport of ultra-running. Steve has some good advice to share. We loved how candid and open he was. We think this talk will resonate with so many people.
Running is what drives me. I crave it. I’ve followed some paths in life that have led me away from my passion, but when I finally returned to what always made me happy, I appreciated it so much more. Sabrina is a professional mountain Ultra-Runner and RRCA Certified Coach. Growing up in Washington State Sabrina’s parents fostered an unbridled competitive spirit in both her and her five siblings. Sabrina eventually found a love of running which morphed into a passion for trail running. After being forced to drop at mile 87 of the 2015 Leadville Trail 100 her competitive nature kicked in. She vowed to never drop a race again and become one of the best ultra-runners in the world. In 2016 she returned to Leadville with a vengeance and finished 4th. Since then, Sabrina has won some of the most difficult 100 milers, in 2018 she won the Hardrock 100, in 2019 she won HURT 100. In July of 2021 Sabrina won the Hardrock 100 again and shaved over 3 hours off her 2018 time. Ultrarunner magazine named Sabrina as 8th best American female in 2018 and in 2019 she was ranked 5th. Currently she has finished first female in the last 11 ultras she competed in.
Absolutely loved this conversation with Sabrina. She is one of the most confident, focused, driven runners we have talked to. There is so much more to Sabrina. On this episode she tells us about the things and people that helped shape her into the athlete she has become. We dive into her one and only DNF and how significant that one event became to her running future. We talk about goals and success and everything that comes along with it. We are big fans of Sabrina and think you will be too!
Muriel Bartelme Kreske grew up in Michigan, has a husband named Bryan, is an Executive Creative Director at an advertising agency in Minneapolis, and has more energy than any other person named Muriel in the history of the world. Part of that is fueled by the Grande Blonde roast from Starbucks she drinks every morning. Part of that is because she has to keep up with a rambunctious 9-year-old son, Griffin. And part of that is because she just has that kind of personality. That energy fueled her to losing 100 pounds in 2018, a transformation that included being drawn to moving fast in the form of walking. She’s relatively new to trail running and just finished her first Ultra in May of this year at the Smith Rock 50K, and recently finished the Headlands 50-Miler in August. She also points out she’s a huge University Michigan fan and tends to mix up many common sayings.
Give yourself some grace; something Muriel reminds herself of often. On this podcast you will meet Muriel Bartelme Kreske and hear her inspiring, uplifting story. She talks about the team she put in place to help her successfully lose 100 lbs. How moving her body quickly went from walking fast to running ultra marathons. Muriel talks about her first ultra-attempt which resulted in a DNF. How that one DNF was so hard to overcome but ended up being a blessing in disguise. Muriel is a lively, positive, happy person who is still learning and growing in her journey. We have no doubt you will love her story and be rooting for her.
Before Catra Corbett aka Dirt Diva was an ultrarunner, she was a drug addict. The drugs led her to dropping out of school , developing an eating disorder, damaging relationships and eventually in jail. Catra hit her rock bottom and decided she was going to turn her life around. In 1996, two years after being clean and sober, she started lifting weights and walking. One day she just started running and never stopped. Catra has completed more than one-hundred 100-mile races, the Moab 240 multiple times, Bigfoot 200 and Badwater 135 and holds the fastest known time for the 425-mile-long John Muir Trail. Through Catra’s desire to help people by sharing her story she wrote a detailed bestselling book about her life, struggles and triumphs called Reborn on the Run; My Journey from Addiction to Ultramarathons.
Authentic! That is the best word to describe Catra. We could have talked to Catra for hours, she has a lot of life experience and wisdom to share. On this episode Catra talks about her many running adventures and most recent experience at the Bigfoot 200. The ultra-running world is lucky to have such a selfless runner out there. This is a woman who really cares about the community and lifting people up. We also discuss Catra’s book and being vulnerable. Of course, we had to talk about the one and only Truman. Catra is someone that has a lot to offer and is finding new ways to help people who struggle with addiction. We are big supporters and can’t wait to see what she does. I hope you enjoy this talk as much as we did.
Canon’s story may sound very typical at first, married and has two kids, 9 & 7. Grew up active in a small country town, played all sports as a youngster but focused on soccer in high school and went on to play in college. Stayed active, until like many people fell victim to the typical office job / marriage / new dad lifestyle and got out of shape. As a result of stress; poor diet; lack of sleep; too much alcohol, health issues started. Canon was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Motivated by the desire to be strong for his family and in case a major surgery was needed Canon took control of his health and fitness. Now at 41 he is in the best shape of his life. Canon does trail running; CrossFit; ruck hikes; mountain biking and completed the David Goggins 4x4x48 mile challenge.
What a treat to get to know Canon. Some people are going to have a great attitude no matter what and Canon is one of those people. We really appreciated him sharing his personal story with us. We learned more about what it is like living with the autoimmune condition, Ulcerative Colitis. We also get into some other not so pleasant stuff when it comes to feet issues and when nature calls on the trails. We found ourselves laughing and sharing maybe a little too much LOL. It was a fun episode but also one that could really help someone struggling with a similar health issue. We think you will feel inspired and hopeful after listening to Canon.
Jason Fitzgerald is the host of the Strength Running Podcast (one of the top 3 running podcasts in the US of all time) and the founder of Strength Running, an award-winning running blog with hundreds of thousands of monthly readers. A 2:39 marathoner and USATF-certified coach, he’s coached thousands of endurance athletes to faster finishing times and fewer injuries with his results-oriented coaching philosophy.
He’s the winner of the 2011 Morraine Hills Half Marathon, 2012 Maryland Warrior Dash, and the 2013 Potomac River Run Marathon. During his collegiate career, he was a member of the 2002 National Championship-qualifying cross-country team and a top ten finisher in the steeplechase at the 2006 New England Championships.
Jason speaks at industry conferences and for major brands like Anheuser-Busch and the Inter-American Development Bank. He also frequently delivers presentations and coaches at fitness retreats and running camps throughout the United States. His work has been featured in the Washington Post, Runner’s World, Health Magazine, Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, and other major media.
He lives in Denver, Colorado where you can find him trail running in the nearby Flatirons, cheating on running with his road bike, or at the playground with his wife and three children.
“Have fun with the process of training”. Wise words from Jason Fitzgerald. This is one of our most informative and fun podcasts. Jason shares some key training tips and so much more, you may be surprised by some of them. Jason also shares his running history and how his coaching career started. Sometimes one comment can change the trajectory of your life. This is a good one to have in your training toolbelt. We know you will enjoy it as much as we did.
IG - @JasonFitz1
Scott Jones is a husband, father of two boys, 10 & 7, and adventurer. Scott is the founder and coach of Athlete on Fire. He has a master’s degree in exercise science and a coaching style as described by a current client that supports you being your best, helps you believe, and holds you accountable in ways that are fun, relaxed, and down to earth. Scott and his wife Lauren bring runners together twice a year for incredible Trail Camp experiences. Scott is also the host and producer of The Becoming Ultra Podcast, currently in season 10 and started the ever-growing Becoming Ultra Community. Scott believes the biggest challenges and most epic adventures are not reserved for a special class of human. He believes every person is special and can go for it when they truly believe they can.
On today’s podcast we chatted it up with everyone’s friend, Scott Jones. Scott shares his most special ultra experience, 62 miles to honor his late Father on his 62nd birthday. Scott also goes way back to how Becoming Ultra started and the turning point in his career. Talking to Scott is like talking to an old friend and there is always laughter. We think you will enjoy getting to know him a little better.
Whitney grew up in Anchorage Alaska and then moved to Texas in middle school. She was always very athletic but never pursued sports in school. After getting pregnant her senior year of high school and having her daughter, Reese the Summer after she graduated she went on to start college that same month, when Reese was just 3 weeks old. Whitney credits that event for changing her life for the better and lighting a fire under her butt. Suddenly she was motivated and took life by the horns. After graduating with honors she started to jog as a hobby and then on to races. After struggling with infertility and miscarriages Whitney decided she need a distraction and began to train for a marathon. A goal that had always scared her. Ironically, about 4 weeks before her first marathon she was pregnant. She was set to run the marathon but ended up with a stress fracture in her foot. After a few more setbacks Whitney was carrying a healthy baby girl, gave birth to Lucy and within a year was pregnant again. After delivering a healthy baby boy she discovered the running community of Instagram and set her sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which she did qualify for. In 2019 she and her family moved to Boulder, CO and her love of trail running began. As one of the season 8.5 participants she began training for her first ultra marathon. Now back in Texas Whitney is working on getting faster and qualifying for Boston again.
We loved catching up with Whitney from Becoming Ultra Season 8.5 and hearing her account of that epic 50k in a snow and ice storm. Whitney has a don’t overthink it just do it attitude when it comes to hard things. On this episode she shares the events that helped shape her and make her the determined, focused person she is today. Whitney is back at it and reaching for some big goals (no doubt she will crush them). She has an incredible work ethic, we loved hearing how she manages her family, work and running. Listening to Whitney will leave you feeling like you can manage anything and go for those goals.
Lucja Leonard loves running, but hasn't always! A Dutch-born, Aussie raised, British woman living in the USA with her husband & fellow ultra runner, Dion Leonard, and their 2 fur-kids Gobi & Lara life is anything but straight forward. Overweight, unfit and unhappy Lucja turned her well-being and overall happiness around when she took up running in 2004 to try and lose some weight off her 216 pound, and growing, body. Never much for sports growing up she was surprised to discover that she enjoyed the thrill of running and after running her first marathon in 2010 she started to wonder what more her body was capable of. In 2013 she ran her first ultra marathon as part of the Kalahari Extreme Marathon, a 250km race over 6 stages/7days through the Kalahari desert in South Africa where you have to carry all your kit and food to survive the entire week! From here she was unstoppable having run a multitude of ultras around the world, the tougher and higher the DNF rate the more excited she gets about giving it a go. Lucja's experience now includes epic races such as Leadville 100, Ultra Trail Mont Blanc 106 miles, Oman by UTMB, Marathon Des Sables and Transgrancanaria 125km to name just a few. This year she takes on her biggest challenge to date by attempting to run the Triple Crown of 200 milers, Bigfoot 200, Tahoe 200 & Moab 240 over only a 9 week period in total! Ultra running has not just shaped Lucja's mind and body but it has changed both her and Dion's lives. Dion was running a 250k/155mile multi stage race across the Gobi desert in China in 2016 when a stray dog started following him. She would run nearly 80 miles with him and Dion and Lucja turned their lives upside down in the process of adopting her from China to the UK where they were living at the time. You can read more about their true & inspiring story in the NY Times bestselling book 'Finding Gobi' which is also being made into a Hollywood film.
Lucja lives her life fearless! The bigger the challenge the better. She went from overweight and unhappy to fit and having incredible adventures. On this podcast Lucja talks about her very first epic ultra and subsequent struggles. She also opens up about insecurities and how she has overcome them through positive self-talk. Lucja tells us about her biggest challenge to date, the Triple Crown of 200 milers and raising money for the Pink Ribbon Foundation that supports breast cancer patients, which is a charity close to her heart. We know you will walk away from this one as inspired as we were. “Believe in yourself as others believe in you”.
You can find out more about Lucja and follow her journey @runningdutchie on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Breast Cancer Fundraiser
'Finding Gobi' available at www.findinggobi.com or your favorite spots to buy books, and this amazing book is being made into a Hollywood film.
Amanda Follmar was one of the lucky runners to be featured during Season 8.5 of the Becoming Ultra Project, the group who ended their season with the November 2020 epic snowstorm 50K in Scott’s backyard. She has since completed one more 50K at the Smith Rock Ascent, in May 2021. Amanda was born and raised in a small rural community in Oklahoma. She started running her freshman year of high school in 1998 and has continued to lace up her running shoes through all stages of her life. Currently, you will find her in the role of the Chief Everything Officer for the Follmar family party of 8 (this includes two lovable labradors). Amanda and her husband Keith have four super cool kids, who range in age from 13 - twins who are 6. She is also an overtired elementary school volunteer. Amanda and her family live in the South Bay Area town of Saratoga, California.
We had a great time catching up with our friend Amanda Follmar. Amanda is a rock star on the trails and off. Mother of 4, wife and volunteer but that doesn’t stop her from running and training for 50k’s. Amanda has mastered balance and getting things done. In this episode Amanda talks about her experience with Becoming Ultra season 8.5 and that backyard snowy Ultra as well as her recent awesome finish at the Smith Rock Ascent. She also gives some great tips on managing time for yourself when you are being pulled in many other directions. We love Amanda’s can-do attitude and mental strength; she is always very humble and kind. We are excited to see what Amanda takes on next.
Kate Coward is a 41-year-old wife, mother, athlete, coach, and business owner. Kate is known for her mental positivity and ability to preserver through the most extreme conditions. She retired from her career as a CFO and is the founder of Full Potential Coaching, a tailored coaching business for endurance level athletes. Kate’s athletic accomplishments include the Arrowhead 135 at 8 weeks pregnant; as well as the Arrowhead 135 skiing and bike ultra races; Antarctica Marathon; 7 Continents Club, ran a marathon on each of the 7 continents; Day across MN, 240-mile gravel bike race; and probably the most extreme the Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 Bike race where she took 1st place female.
Kate has some awesome adventures to share. They all seem to take place in extreme weather and sometimes with moose encounters. She is a multi-sport athlete who loves adventure and seeing how far she can push herself. In this podcast Kate shares some mental tricks she uses to push through the pain and get it done. Kate also shares what it was like leaving the corporate world and starting her own business. We were inspired by Kate’s physical and mental strength.
Zac’s passion for endurance sports and helping people started with his own fitness transformation. After struggling with obesity, he went on a quest to feel better and get healthier. What began as a means to lose weight had quickly morphed into an aspiration he pursued vigorously for the last decade. After barely being able to complete one mile, he now competes in ultra-marathons all over the world. During this transformation Zac fell in love with the potential of the human body so much that he left his corporate career to pursue a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. Now, as an educator and advocate for healthy living, he is a top trainer with iFit’s interactive home fitness, mentors at a statewide addiction recovery program, coaches online and gives training advice via his social media.
Zac has a heart of gold and it really comes through in our talk with him. We discuss his true first ultra experience, the good, bad and the ugly. Zac also discusses his struggle with food addiction and how he has learned to cope. Zac shares a very special ultra memory that includes his father. We were truly moved during this podcast. In September Zac will be running the UTHC 125k race in honor of his late brother. We will be following along and cheering him on. He will be joining us again to discuss the journey. Zac works closely with Addicts II Athletes and has a passion for helping people who struggle with addiction. If you would like to reach out to Zac his information is below.
Lucy Bartholomew is an ultrarunner from Australia. She started ultrarunning at only 15 years old and isn’t afraid to pave her own path. Now 25, she's one of the top racers in the world with wins and top performances at some of the sport's most important events. In 2018 Lucy placed 1st for women and created a new course record at Ultra Trail Australia, placed 3rd for women at Western States, and completed many many other races throughout the year. Recently, Lucy set an FKT on the Larapinta Trail - a 138 mile trail in central Australia. Her race accomplishments are incredible, but Lucy is trailblazing off the race scene too! She hosts training camps and has a plant-based cookbook called “Sustain Your Ability”! Lucy has the following quote on her website and I love it: “At the end of this time in my life I don't believe I will remember the wins and the loses but more the people I have met, the messages I have received that say "you have inspired me", "you're a great role model". For me, if sharing my journey and staying true to myself gets one person out of bed in the morning and challenges themselves then every step has been worth it.”
We didn’t think it was possible to like Lucy Bartholomew more! After spending some time chatting with her, we realized how very special she is. On this episode Lucy shares with us what life is like on lockdown in Australia and how she is spending her time. We discuss her first ultra marathon at 15 years old, setting the FKT on the Larapinta Trail (comical hallucinations), her cookbook, Sustain Your Ability, Trail Camp, positive body image and so much more. We could have talked for hours! We walked away from this one feeling happy and inspired in many ways. Hopefully, you will too! Here is a wise quote from Lucy. “Comparison is the thief of all joy”.
To learn more about Lucy, visit the following:
Marge is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native raised in the Penn Hills. She went from a shy, chubby young woman to being the champion of four major 100-mile races and broke course records across the country, including the Leadville Trail 100, Mohican Trail, Kettle Moraine and Umstead Trail 100. As well as many other races and athletic accomplishments over the last forty-one years. Marge is also a fourteen-time finisher of the Leadville 100, four-time big buckle achiever, holds the record for most finishes by a woman and was women’s champion in 1985. This year Marge will be the oldest female to complete the Leadville 100. Marge is also the co-author of Leadville Trail 100: History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race.
What a treat this was for us, Marge is full of spunk, positivity, and fun. She is truly living her best life! On this episode Marge takes us back to her first ultra marathon, how things have changed in ultra running and much more. We discuss what training is like as she prepares for the Leadville Trail 100 in August (she will be the oldest woman at 71 to complete it) as well as all her current running adventures. Marge also discusses her book and why it was so important for her to write it. We are in awe of Marge and her energy. This interview left us feeling so happy and incredibly inspired. I see a running adventure with Marge in our future.
To purchase a copy of Marge’s book, Leadville Trail 100: History of the Leadville Trail 100 mile Running Race go to Amazon.com.
Here is the thing about ultra running. There are so many people out there doing things you never hear about. Karen is one of those people. She literally just finished the Desert Rats Kokopelli 150-mile race from Grand Junction, CO to Moab, Utah. This was her third time doing it. Karen has been running for over 30 years. What started as short runs eventually turned into triathlons, then ironman and eventually to Ultras. Ultra running is where Karen found her passion. She has conquered many ultras including the Leadville 100. Karen currently resides in the mountains of NM with her husband, 3 dogs and 9 chickens.
Karen is one of those positive people you gravitate towards, she never stopped smiling through our entire conversation. On this episode Karen talks about the struggles of her very first ultra and her need to keep pushing herself. Karen also gets us up to speed on her latest adventures, which are pretty cool. Karen is a true inspiration and we think you will love this conversation. Check out Karen’s race report from her first 100 miler and a picture from her latest adventure, the Desert Rats Kokopelli 150-mile race.
A journal entry from Karen:
31 hours 25 seconds. Hello Friends! I promised to send a race report. It was an adventure! Andy and I arrived in Ohio Friday afternoon. We checked in at our hotel and drove to the start/finish line to pick up race info and drop off bags which included extra shoes, socks, etc... We went back to our room, with two of our dogs, (Frost and Newton) made dinner and climbed into bed early. 3:45am Saturday my alarm goes off. I eat, get dressed, grab my backpack and head to the start line. 5am race starts. I turn on my headlamp, kiss Andy and start into the woods. About 45 minutes into the race, the sun comes up and it's going to be a beautiful HOT day. Mile 8 is here. There is a beautiful waterfall and a hand over hand climb to arrive at a steep hill and back on trails. I see Andy at mile 12. I feel great. I have met a nice young experienced ultra runner. He gives me some great tips on this race. We continue running. A few water crossings and a lot more hill climbing and I am already at mile 31. I get to see Andy again. I realize I am WAY AHEAD of schedule, but still feel great. Keep on trucking... Next time I see Andy will be at mile 51. I get there in 12 hours 13 minutes. I know this is too fast. Rookie mistake. It is now pushing 90 degrees. I have already ate 4 peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, 3 granola bars, 2 clif bars, shot blox, pretzels and drank lots of Heed. Approx. 9:30pm. Mile 65 is here. The sun is setting and Andy joins me for the last 35 miles. I was starting to feel a little nauseated, but I got a boost from having Andy with me. My feet are starting to hurt as we shuffle through the dark woods. We arrive at mile 73. We see a few local runners from Indy. I stopped to check out my foot issues. I take off my shoes and my feet are totally covered in blisters. OUCH!!! I change socks, apply Vaseline, and stick lambswool between my toes. I am grateful to be feeling better than the guy sitting next to me. He has started shaking and hallucinating. This is common in an event like this. I later hear he had to DNF. (Did not Finish). We continue. When we arrive at mile 80, it is 4:09am. I am moving VERY SLOW. I probably won't make it to the next checkpoint in time. My feet feel like I am running on sandpaper. I have puked, cried, and felt awful for dragging Andy into this crazy event. I sit for a few minutes, drink some soup and decide to continue. Mile 85 is here. Only 15 more miles. OH NO.... 15 more??? Mile 88.5. I am shot! We barely made the cut off. I seriously think I can't go any further. The aid station volunteer encourages me to go to the next aid station. It is only 2.7 miles downhill. OK. I start moving. Andy changes his shoes. She told him not to let me quit. I think he is motivated to get me to the finish. Two more checkpoints. I call my parents for encouragement. I can't remember exactly what they said. It was encouraging! We make it to mile 91 and press forward. Mile 96.29 is the last checkpoint. We are late. They told us they would give us a free ride or we could unofficially continue. The race is actually 101.9 miles. We have about 5.7 miles to the finish line. Andy won't let me think twice. "We are going". It is a long 5.7 miles. He is pushing me uphills and dragging me downhills. I keep moving forward in a state of pure exhaustion. I just keep moving. 5 miles, 4,3,2...1 mile to go. It's getting super hot again. We climb out of the woods. I still can't see the finish. Andy grabs my hand. I follow him around the road. People are starting to realize we are finishing. They can't believe anybody would still be out there. I hear some cheers. There are no officials at the finish line. It is an hour past the the 30 hour limit. We walk hand and hand (maybe he is dragging me) to the finish. We hugged, I cried, people clapped. I went the distance. I learned a lot and I'll be back! Only 38% of people who started this race, finished. Official or not, We made it! Thanks Andy!!!
Bill Beitler was one of the featured runners on Season 9 of Becoming Ultra. An endlessly curious child of the ‘60s, Bill took a 40-year break from his endurance athletics career to raise an amazing family and pursue a community banking career that lead to two successful stints as CEO at small midwestern banks. A competitive swimmer in his youth who specialized in the 200 individual medley before retiring at age 15, Bill took up running in a committed way at age 55 and successfully finished the Smith Rock Ascent 50k, his first ultramarathon at age 57 as a part of Becoming Ultra. Bill and his wife Terry are the “people” for two fantastic dogs, Toby and Josie, and currently call Cumberland, RI home.
We had a lot of fun interviewing one of our favorite people, who we are fortunate to call our friend. Bill is one of the most positive and supportive people to ever be a part of Becoming Ultra. In this episode Bill breaks down his first ultra experience as part of Becoming Ultra Season 9. We get into the benefits of a supportive community and friendships that form along the way. We also talk about trail camp and the impact it can have on you. We think you will love Bill as much as we do. Included is a piece Bill wrote about trail camp. Enjoy!
Desert Highlights Trail Camp – 2021
I was fortunate enough to take part in the first-ever Desert Highlights Trail Camp. This was, hands down, one of the most epic experiences of my life! Right from the start, as we stood at the base of Garfield Mountain and looked at the peak we were about to summit, I knew I was in for an adventure. Over the next three days, that adventure unfolded in ways that far exceeded my expectations and took me places I never would have thought possible. Scott and Lauren used their exceptional knowledge of the Western Slope to pick out challenging and breathtaking trails, and our runs (and scrambles and climbs and hikes) took me over 38 miles of the most stunning country I’ve ever experienced. Oh, and I conquered 7,500+ feet of vertical gain in the process! These were legitimate efforts, pushing me in ways that brought real growth, both physical and mental, and Scott and Lauren were there every step of the way, teaching us great warmup techniques, trekking pole usage, trail mastery and more. Better still, they were supportive coaches, pushing us to excel and believing in us through every single mile.
And Trail Camp was so very much more! Great accommodations, the awesome Western towns of Palisade and Fruita, amazing meals and spectacular vineyards and wine were all made better by my fellow campers. I’ve seldom been around such a positive, motivated and down-to-earth group of people, and we formed an unbelievable bond over these three short days! I will never forget our bike tour of the vineyards with a cool local distillery thrown in for good measure and our final night’s dinner and hot-tub session. We all agreed we couldn’t ever remember laughing so well and so long!
As you can see, Trail Camp was many things, but at its heart it was about wonderful people taking the time to enjoy each other and the magnificent natural world around us. It was about living life to the fullest!
Bryan has been a runner most of his life but has suffered some major setbacks that would sideline most of us for good. He has not given up on his love of running and has accomplished some epic things, Tahoe200, Air force marathon, Marine corp. marathon. Chicago marathon 3 x’s, Big Foot 200, Moab 240, Deliriouswest 200 just to name a few. Bryan is also a husband and father, retired from the military with 30 years of service and currently the owner and CEO of Polaris Laboratories.
What a great conversation we had with Bryan. Bryan has a passion for inspiring others and it really comes through. In this podcast Bryan shares his struggles with some substantial injuries and how he overcame them. He takes us on some of his great trail running adventures and gives some solid advice on how to manage the family, work, life balance. We left this one feeling like there are some big adventures ahead of us and we can tackle them. We hope you feel the same! Here is a quote from Bryan I think we can all relate to.
“I never feel I really know a place until I experience it on foot”
Ian has been racing around the world in all styles of event since 2005 and coaching since 2010, having run over 200 ultras and marathons (PR: 2:21) in every type of weather and on all terrains. He's won over 50 multi-day races/road marathons/trail ultras or adventure races with experience of running in many mountain ranges, including the Himalayas, Andes, Rockies and European Alps. He also holds the fastest time in a trail 100-mile race by a Brit (12h44m), the record for the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (69h49m), has won the USATF 100-mile trail championship twice and is a four-time Leadville Trail 100 Champion. Ultra-Running Magazine has voted him as high as 2nd in its annual Ultra Runner of the Year rankings and 4th= in Ultra Runner of the Decade.
What a treat it was for us to be able to interview our running coach. Ian shares stories about his many adventures including coming to the US (hello, visa process) and more importantly his first ultra. He is truly one of the most optimistic and positive people we have ever met. If you need a little push to do something epic this is the episode for you. We really enjoyed this chat with Ian and hope you do as well.
To learn more about Ian, visit the following:
Matt Fitzgerald is an endurance sports author, coach, and nutritionist. His many books include The Comeback Quotient, 80/20 Running, and The Endurance Diet and How Bad Do You Want It. Matt’s writings have also appeared in numerous magazines, including Outside and Runner’s World, and on popular websites such as podiumrunner.com and nbcnews.com. He is a cofounder of 80/20 Endurance and the creator of the Diet Quality Score smartphone app. A lifelong endurance athlete, he speaks frequently at events throughout the United States and internationally.
We are excited to have Matt share is first humbling ultra-experience with us. In this podcast Matt gets real on the challenges of being a lifelong road runner and switching to trails. Matt also opens up about his struggles since getting COVID-19 and what running is like for him now. We loved learning more about Matt and left this one more optimistic and inspired.
To learn more about Matt, visit the following:
Twitter: @ mattfitwriter
Websites: mattfitzgerald.org, 8020endurance.com
Jeffrey James Binney is a Salt Lake City based ultra-runner, motivational speaker, actor, singer, and comedian. Jeffrey grew up on a farm in Laredo, MO before moving to Brooklyn, NY & later Los Angeles after receiving his B.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from Missouri State University. Jeffrey has been seen on Late Night with David Letterman, in the 1st National Tour and Chicago Company of the Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and at comedy clubs and festivals across the country. Jeffrey’s award-winning film, Once Is Enough, chronicles his journey after losing his mom to obesity-caused heart disease.
We all love a good first ultra-story and Jeffrey has a fantastic one. If you thought his documentary, Once Is Enough, told the entire story just wait because there is more. Jeffrey will keep you entertained as we discuss his journey to Becoming Ultra. We could not think of a better guest for our first My First Ultra podcast. We hope you enjoy this one as much as we did.
To learn more about Jeffrey, visit the following:
JJB.life | LinkedIn
(@JeffreyBinney) | Twitter
Jeffrey James Binney – Home | Facebook
Local to Steph Dannenberg, Anthony came out for a group Becoming Ultra run where they met for the first time. Anthony came in with an ambitious goal of completing his first ultra, the Dances with Dirt Devil's Lake 50 miler...in the middle of July! Not everything went according to plan as we listen to his story. But not everything has to go right for you to have an epic adventure! This is also not the end of the trail for Anthony as he has his sights in Tunnel Hill 100 in the fall! Hope you enjoy another edition of My First Ultra here on the podcast.
Today we interview Kevin from Team BU about his first Ultra, the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50k out in Colorado. This is special because this will be one of our mini featured races this year in 2019 and we get an inside view and sneak peek on what's to come. Hope you enjoy the show and thanks for listening.