Where are you from? What brought you to Missoula?
I am a born and raised Missoulian. I guess you could say that the lumber industry and water-softening brought my dad and mom’s families to Missoula, respectively, but I’ve been here most of my life (minus a few adventures to the East coast and Taiwan).
How long have you been running? Why did you start?
I actually got into running after transferring from Brandeis University, where I was a seeker on their muggle Quidditch team (like in Harry Potter, but without the flying. It’s a good mix of silly and intense with its nerdy origins all the while being a full-contact sport ). I hadn’t really run before then. When I got back to Missoula, I started jogging on the downhills of trails during hikes. I had no idea that trail running was even a thing people did (let alone a sport) until I saw others doing it. I’ve been running and participating in events for about four years. I attribute my getting into longer distances to Bob Hayes. I had the honor of sitting with him at a UM College of Education scholarship banquet and after learning I enjoyed trail runs and the occasional 5K, he strongly encouraged me to “try a 10K, then when you’ve done that, try a half, then try a full, then just keep on going.” I ran my first half a little over a year later and my first full a year after that. I hope to “keep on going” and run my first 50K in the next year.
You are an active volunteer at running and walking events/activities in and around Missoula. What motivates you to volunteer and what is your favorite part about volunteering?
Volunteering is a great way to learn about races, give back to the community, and meet the incredible and diverse people who make up the running community here in Missoula. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the ins and outs of race management, setup, and takedown. Each race truly is a labor of love, and volunteering makes running races so much more meaningful because you have an inside look of what it takes to make them a success. I also recently realized the joys of pacing! I’m not a competitive person, and so pacing has all the best parts of running for me: getting outside, meeting new people, and running gorgeous routes with the community cheering you on. There are so many ways to get involved.
If someone is looking to get involved with the running and walking community in Missoula, what advice would you give them?
I know I’m going to sound like product placement or something, but joining RWM is a great place to start! Joining a running club can seem very intimidating, but RWM is incredibly inclusive and values all of its members, whether you enjoy walking, running, or doing a mixture of the two. I’d also highly recommend participating in or volunteering for events to see what the community is really about (although I recognize that there are currently fewer opportunities for live events).
You are co-leading a Trail Session this fall. What are you most looking forward to?
Yes! I am very excited to run with and get to know the participants and other co-leaders (shoutout to Kathy and Satoru!) I’ve been a participant in the 101 and 201 classes in the past and have had so much fun learning new trails, meeting other runners, and pushing myself to grow as a runner. I am excited to share some of my favorite trails with our crew in 101. We are so lucky to have an abundance of trails here in Missoula, and it means a lot to me to be able to share them with others.
Are you training for any races this fall?
I will be running the Run for Missoula virtual events. A huge part of my love of running is the community, so I am excited to have a monthly event to keep me in contact with other runners into the winter.
What (or who) is motivating to stay active during these trying times?
Honestly, there have been times this spring and summer where I struggled to run consistently. I decided to give myself grace and just focus on enjoying the outdoors, whether that was camping, hiking, running, berry picking, or fishing. I value being able to access and care for our public lands, so I spent a lot of time hiking and exploring this summer. My longer runs this summer have been due in large part to invitations from friends I met through RWM. I have met so many people who have been welcoming, supportive, and inclusive during my time participating in and volunteering for events!
I am also a runner with the group I Run 4 Michael, which pairs runners with children or adults who have some sort of medical or physical challenge which makes running difficult for them. I run in honor of an awesome five year old in Missouri named Kevin. He is the definition of a fighter and a survivor, and he motivates me to push myself to go further and find joy in the challenges of life.
Where is your favorite place to run in Missoula?
It depends on the day! I usually trail run (I enjoy the focus it requires as well as the variety and the scenery), but I’m not especially partial to any particular trail! I love the trails up Blue Mountain because there are so many to explore, I love running the Rattlesnake because of the shade and water, and I also love the trails on and behind Mount Sentinel (especially Pengelly ridge and the familiarity of the M trail). I usually choose a trail based on how much time I have, if I remembered to bring a headlamp, and if I have traction devices (in the winter).
Do you have a favorite RWM Event? And if so, what is it?
Favorite RWM event: Pengelly Double Dip. I can’t wait to honor Bob and participate in my first Single Dip next year with the inaugural Bob Hayes Single Dip.
Finish this sentence: When I’m not running, I’m …
Hiking, cooking, eating, reading, teaching, lesson planning, getting together with friends and family, watering my five foot tall cherry tomato plant (I still don’t know how that thing got so big), or dreaming about my next trip to Trader Joe’s.