Member Spotlight: Tanner Pace

This month’s member spotlight features Tanner Pace. Tanner is from Missoula and has spent his life in the valley, with the exception of a short stint in Grenoble, France. Tanner first joined Run Wild Missoula as a high school cross country athlete to participate in local races. After spending four years playing lacrosse for the University of Montana, he rejoined RWM to get back into running. When Tanner isn’t working as a data analyst, he’s an avid collector of hobbies and is leading this year’s 301 Summer Trail Session!

Tanner’s interest in running was nurtured by both of his parents who did a decent amount of distance running when he was growing up. His great uncle was also an accomplished runner. He grew up trying a lot of different sports. By the time he got to high school, he was feeling burned out from many athletic pursuits. This is when he ventured onto the cross country team, which felt like a welcomed change. He had just finished reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and felt compelled by the minimalist approach to running. The notion that humans are, by design, created to run was enrapturing to him. For Tanner, it was interest hitting at the same time as passion as he joined the cross country team.

After college graduation, Tanner was ready to reconnect with the running community. Aside from the allure of community, the act of running has become a way for Tanner to feel more grounded. In the last year with limited social interaction and living alone, seeing people out on the trails became the only source of safe interaction and motivation to keep getting outside. Tanner prefers to be out on the trails and experience the solitude of nature. One of his most memorable running experiences was tackling Sheep Mountain from the Cherry Creek Trailhead one fall. That adventure ended up being over five hours with obstacles ranging from snow, running out of water, and taking a wrong turn. Essentially all of the ingredients of a notable sufferfest. Most days, you can find Tanner snaking up the 13 switchbacks on the south side of Mount Jumbo. He enjoys being attune to his surroundings. His favorite local run is the classic 14 mile route that starts going over Jumbo Saddle, up Sound of Music and down Three Larch back to the Lower Rattlesnake. It’s hard to argue with a loop full of single track and wildflowers. 

When Tanner isn’t on solo runs around town or the surrounding area, he enjoys the routine of attending Tuesday Track, the Saturday Group Run, and Wednesday Wild Miles. Ultimately, he’s training for the 50 mile distance and works to stay in 50K shape. He will periodically set superficial goals that don’t feel eminent but help with motivation. This year, his loose goals are to run 2,500 miles and 250,000 feet of vertical gain.  

In his free time, Tanner is a collector of hobbies. He has a wide range of interests and frequently adopts new hobbies. He’s currently devoted to cooking, which has previously motivated other hobbies like wood working and making kitchen cutlery. His hobbies have ranged from ceramics to static-apnea (stationary breath holding for freedive training). He feels fortunate to have insatiable curiosity and a desire to try on new hobbies.

Before the summer ends and the snow starts to fly, Tanner is hoping to meet up with a friend somewhere between Missoula and Colorado to set up a base camp and do daily runs. Otherwise, he’s looking forward to spending time at his family cabin on Ashley Lake while it’s still warm outside. With some uncertainty around the pandemic creeping back in, he’s trying not to plan anything too significant.

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