Andrea Casella Kooiman is an avid runner with over 150 marathon and ultra-marathons under her belt. Some of her accomplishments include the Boston Marathon, Grand Slam of Ultra-running (4 oldest trail 100’s in one summer), Badwater 135 three times, Western States twice, HURT 100, UTMB, Vol State 500K, taking 3rd place overall. Andrea is also one of the founders of WeRock, a program created as a response to the challenges faced by the Orange County communities’ young people. It is an educational, after-school, intervention program for Middle and High School students focused on the endurance sport of running. She is also the executive director and head coach; she considers some of her greatest running accomplishments watching as the kids cross the marathon finish line year after year. It is her solid belief that everyone can and will achieve all their wildest goals and aspirations if they can first visualize themselves in that position. She is on a mission to HUG the world and assist others in becoming their own Superheroes.
Start asking yourself why not me. This is a question Andrea always asks herself and she has accomplished some amazing things. We loved talking to her about her adventures, coaching her kids and life in general. This woman is full of joy, optimism, and fun. We talked about the Barkley Fall Classic and moving on to attempt the Barkley Marathons (watch for her name). Andrea lights up when discussing WeRock, she talks about how it started and what she has gained from coaching. We also get into some great Badwater stories and how she balances everything from family life to the big races. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.
We were so excited to get the founder of the Pacuare Outdoor Center on the show to talk about how the business came to be and why doing eco tourism the right way is so important. We wanted to do our retreats a bit different so we are getting off the grid and away from the traditional tourists traps in Costa Rica and we can't wait to show you all how to run and adventure in this beautiful country!
Coach Hillary Allen and Scott spend a few minutes talking about the first Becoming Ultra international retreat in Costa Rica in February of 2023. They talk about the itinerary and the launch of Season 13! Enjoy the show!
Apply for Season 13
Every season for Becoming Ultra, we partner with a new race for the runners to train for and go and run. This season, we head to the Pacific Northwest to run the trails near Mt. Hood. Today we talk to the race directors to learn everything there is to know about the race and surrounding areas. Enjoy the show!
On this episode, we introduce the newest addition to the Season 13 coaching crew, Annie Hughes. Annie has been racing at a very high level but today we dive into her story and coaching philosophy. It's going to be fun to see how her experiences add to the project. Enjoy and you can apply here for Season 13!
Coach Amanda Basham and Scott talk about raising kids and training and how the mindset after two kids may affect her racing efforts! We talk about the Season 13 race and can't wait to see who applies. You can here.
Gary Cantrell also known as Laz Lake is the creator and race director of two of the hardest ultramarathons in the world, the Barkley Marathons and the Big Dog Backyard Ultra. He also created the Barkley Fall Classic, Strolling Jim 40, the Vol-state 500k, and the epic virtual team event, the Circumpolar Race Around the World. Gary is also a husband to Sandra who he met in college and a father to three grown children. Before retiring in 2011, he was an accountant for 35 years.
Well, this was a whole lot of fun! In this episode we chat to Laz about the early ultra-running days, the inspiration for all his unique races, and his trans-continental walk across the US. Laz has some great Barkley Marathon stories to share. You are sure to learn a few things about the Barkley’s you may not have known. We learn what Laz has planned next, the current Barkley theme, and how to get a Geezer hat. This one is full of great stories, encouragement, and lots more. Gary Cantrell aka Laz Lake is truly a legend in the Ultra-running world. We had the best time meeting him. Enjoy!
Fresh off of completing an epic 100 miler in an amazing way, Scott joins us to recap the experience! When Scott decides to do something, it is never simple or easy and this is no different! We talk all about Band of Runners, the news season of Becoming Ultra, and the upcoming BU events across the globe!
Demarion & Carlita Farmer are married with two young children ages 2 & 4, they also own a small business. Recently they started training for and ran their first ultra in 2021. This is a story of inspiration on so many levels.
Couple goals! These two are conquering all kinds of goals and supporting each other 100%. This was a fun, enlightening, and inspiring conversation. Demarion & Carlita could have so many excuses to not train and work hard towards their goals, but they do not focus on excuses. They have learned the value in believing in themselves and helping each other. On this episode we talk about what prompted them to get into ultra-running and how they balance the training with a young family. We also discuss diversity in ultra-running and the impact they have made on their local community. There is lots of good stuff in this one. We could have talked to this awesome couple for hours. There is nothing better for us than starting our day with lots of laughs and some great conversation.
Nick travelled the furthest of any of the Season 12 runners from Washington state all the way down to Palm Coast, Florida. On the show Scott and Nick talk about tough spots and how he got out of them as well as his biggest takeaways a week or two after the event. If you have ever thought of running your first ultra, we think you'll enjoy his story!
Jason ran 50 marathons in 50 states before the project but he had never run an ultra. Katie dealt with multiple physical ailments. They both figured it out alongside their coach en route to their first ultra. This episode is their recap show of the race. Enjoy!
Lucja Leonard is a Dutch-born Aussie-Brit currently residing in the USA. Wife to Dion Leonard, and Fur-mama to Gobi and Lara, check out 'Finding Gobi' the NY Times bestselling book for more details on that side of her life.
Lucja is an ultra-runner but has not always been one! After becoming overweight in her early 20's Lucja took up running to become a healthier, fitter version of herself and after running her first road marathon, Amsterdam in 2010, she discovered a love of going long and went on to run the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon; a 6 stage, 7-day self-sufficient multistage ultra-marathon through the Kalahari desert in northern South Africa where she fell in love with ultra-running.
Lucja has since gone on to run a multitude of multistage and single stage ultras with the likes of Marathon Des Sables, Leadville 100, Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, Mohican 100 and even 200+miles non-stop with Bigfoot200 and Moab 240. Most recently she tackled the TransRockies Race, a multistage ultra in Colorado with her friend, Amanda, running as a pair with 120miles and 20,000ft over 6 days as 'Team Granny Pants' where they duo came third open female team.
Lucja is also a running and health coach and can be found traveling all over the USA, exploring the most amazing places while working alongside her husband Dion, and his book 'Finding Gobi' with inspirational talks at corporate events, schools, libraries and running stores.
Amanda Asher is a single mother of 3 teenagers (son 17 and twin daughters 15) and 2nd grade elementary school teacher who started ultra-running in 2016 when she tackled her first 50k in Huntsville, Tx – Rocky 50. Since that time, she has taken on dozens of races across Texas, ranging anywhere from 13 milers to 100k’s. Shortly after completing her first 50k, Amanda ran her first mountain race in 2016 when she took on the Pikes Peak Ascent, followed by the Leadville Trail marathon in 2017. Most recently Amanda competed in her first team relay alongside her daughters as they raced the clock during a 12-hour relay at Spider Mountain in Texas. The 3 of them along with one additional teammate – placed 1st female team. Amanda used this race in May as a training run for her most recent endeavor that took place in Colorado – the Transrockies Stage Race – Amanda, alongside her teammate Lucja Leonard, managed to take the podium 4 out of the 6 days. Placing 3rd overall for the week. When Amanda is not busy raising her 3 teenagers or working on lesson plans for her second graders, she can be found solo backpacking all over the U.S., completing various sections of the CDT, John Muir Trail, AT, and hundreds of miles of loop trails, within Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Colorado.
It is always a fun time when Lucja is involved. We loved this conversation with Lucja and her adventure buddy, Amanda. These ladies tell us all about tackling the Transrockies stage race together and how they came up with their team’s name, Granny Panties, it is a great story! Amanda talks about finding balance with adventuring, raising three kids and work. When you hear her talk about it you will think it is possible for you too. Lucja shares her latest adventures and what she has coming up. These ladies are big supporters of each other and other women. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!
Dave and his coach and RDof Jack's 50k recap his efforts in Florida for his first ultra. It was tough and there were ups and downs but he lived to share his story! We hope you all enjoy the show!
After 6 months of training and hanging out to share their journey on this podcast Natalie and Dayna have gone out and done the thing they trained for so diligently. They take the time to reflect on the experience and it was great to hear their story and the pride they took in their efforts. Enjoy!
Pamela Chapman is a 66-year-old ultra-runner, cancer survivor, nurse anesthetist and inspirational speaker. At the age of 19 she was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live. When she outlived the diagnosis, she was told she would never be able to have children. She gave birth to three daughters and raised them as a single mother. After her children finished college and began lives of their own, Pam looked for things to fill her time. She rode a Harley on the weekends, became a licensed sailboat captain, learned to surf in Costa Rica, then ran a 100-mile race. Pam never ran in a foot race of any distance before the age of 55; not even a 5k. Her first race ever was the 100-mile Rocky Racoon Ultra in 2011. Since then, Pam has completed in over 68 ultra-marathons including, Badwater 135 five times. She holds USA records in her age group for 24 hours, 48 hours, 100 miles, and 100k, in the 2019 Six Days in The Dome 24 hour race she came in 1st female and 2nd overall.
Pam is a true legend! This talk was so empowering and positive. Pam discusses the many challenges she has had during her life. She has overcome them with a strong faith and the ability to always be grateful. Her story is truly amazing. We chat about how her running career began. We also discuss taking on those big races including the Badwater 135 five times. Pam is also a champion for women, she is determined to prove that age should not define what you can do. When I think of a strong woman role model it is Pamela Chapman that comes to mind.
Jennifer was never an athletic kid, always picked last at PE, made fun of for her weight, struggled with body image and eating disorders in high school through grad school eventually gained a lot of weight in college, decided to start running her junior year and gradually worked up to her first 5k two years later, then ran her first marathon a few years after that. She ran on and off for the next 10 years and trained for her first ultra-distance. After having her son, she jumped back into running, but found out she had a torn labrum in her left hip, had surgery followed by a long rehab, eventually she switched to trails and ran more ultras including a 50 miler.
Jennifer’s transition into photography began when she met her friend Kristy through a FB group, started pacing her at Ornery Mule Racing events and took cell phone pics of her while at races. The RD would frequently repost her pics and eventually offered to hire her to photograph some races. Jennifer gradually took over photographing all of their races as well as some in other states. Health issues have prevented Jennifer from training for her own races, so this is a way for her to stay involved in the community.
Jennifer has the most amazing attitude and the way she deals with setbacks is inspiring. We talk about Jennifer’s ultra-marathons and the Barkley Fall Classic. We discuss her many injuries and how she always reinvents herself to stay involved in a community she loves. Jennifer’s transition into photographing races is a great story. “It’s never too late to go for a big dream – don’t be the obstacle”.
Jennifer is also a contributor to Silent Sports Magazine and Ultra Runner Magazine.
Advice and well wishes and lots of love for the runners of Season 12! Enjoy!
Coach Ellie Greenwood fields questions from Dayna and Natalie who always have great and unique questions. You only get one first ultra so it will be awesome to see what these women do with theirs! Ellie shares that neither one of these runners missed a sinlge training assignment. So impressive and we are sure it will pay off. Enjoy the show!
Dave has had some ups and downs for sure in this training cycle. From oppressive desert heat to a nagging achilles issue, he has weathered it all and is ready to test himself in Florida at Jack's 50k. His coach Dawn answers last minute questions and makes sure he is ready to go run her race in her late brother's name. Enjoy the show.
So much of the last few weeks leading up to your first ultra is the mental game of it all. Having a coach who understands this and can give you perspective is so helpful for first time ultra runners. On this episode, coach Hillary fields questions and lays out what to expect on race day for Jason and Katie! Enjoy the show.
As Jackson reports back from his first ultra, a few weeks before the rest of the Season 12 crew, we get to learn how it all went down for him. Did he make good pre race nutrition decisions? Did he hit any walls? Nick on the other hand still has a few weeks of training to get ready for the Florida ultra and he asks more specific race day questions. Enjoy the show.
Colleen Rue is a 2x Ironman finisher, Ultra-marathoner, marathon maniac and an endurance fanatic. She is a wife and mother of two teenagers and has 20+ years’ experience as a coach, personal trainer, and instructor in the fitness industry. Known as the Voice of the Mountain at 29029 Everesting events, she has been all over the US as a host, emcee, and race announcer. Colleen has an ability to connect people with brands and events in a way that fosters personal growth and develops bonds for life.
Be brave and do not be afraid of no. Wise words from Colleen, and words that have served her well. This was such a fun conversation for us. Colleen is so genuine and open; we could have continued this conversation for hours. Colleen shares her journey to becoming the voice of the mountain for 29029 Everesting events and the voice of Vacation races. We also talk running ultras and Trans Rockies and so much more. Colleen has several ultras under her belt and lots of great stories. We know you will enjoy Colleen as much as we did!
Dayna had an awful time on a recent trail marathon and she is using that lesson in her fueling now and has seen positive results. Natalie runs at all hours after international travel. Both women do their beer mile. It was a great chat with a few of our favorite people. Enjoy the show!
Training for his first ultra in the super hot desert climate is tough but when the weather starts to change everything seems to come together. That is where David is with his training and longer efforts. Enjoy the show that shares the journey of new ultra runners!
As Jackson gets ready for his upcoming effort in Minnesota, we talk about mindset and strategy for the 50k. Nick is hitting longest runs most weeks now and continues to train hard! Enjoy the show about the journey of first time ultra runners!