Member Spotlight: Grant Cunningham

Meet Grant!

Grant is a trail runner and can be found leading some trail sessions, running the miles with the dog, or helping other runners get the perfect gear at the Runner’s Edge! We had the pleasure of doing a mini-interview to get to know more about Grant.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into running!
I grew up in Eugene, OR so even before I got into running I was heavily exposed to it as a core part of the local culture- you don’t have to be a runner to appreciate the likes of Prefontaine. The first time I ran a mile I was a freshman in high school and I was pretty sure the gym teacher should be arrested for child abuse, but later in college  I decided to take on running to counteract the weight I was putting on as many do in that season of life. After running regularly, my Uncle challenged me to run the Big Sur Marathon with him, and it was a truly incredible and binding experience to finish that race. A fellow runner midway through that race and I were chatting when I revealed it was my first Marathon, to which he replied “welcome to the rodeo!”. I still love that.  
I had an on/off relationship with running through the remainder of my 20’s while in pursuit of other hobbies like snowboarding, playing music and partying [a little too hard]. It wasn’t until l was challenged by a good friend to attempt the Le Grizz 50 miler that I became locked into the high-mileage pursuits which I have come to love. The dedication required to complete these types of distances overtook the unhealthy distractions and habits I used to hold to, and with each additional mile in training I feel increasingly thankful for the ability and desire to keep at it. Races are a joyful experience and things I look forward to, but the process and adventure in between are what keep me locked in.
Do you have a favorite running story?
Each story posses it’s own kinda savory, but I’ll pull from the recent past on my experience at the Orcas Island 50 mile race in April- a double loop with some pretty aggressive vertical. I come from a very supportive family, though the long distance running concept doesn’t make much sense to them. My parents showed up for the race assuming they would “just watch me run across a line at the end”, but they chose last minute to wake up at 3:45am to see the start, and proceeded to get involved at the aid stations for both myself and other runners. Seeing them begin to understand the challenges that ultra-runners commit to, and the many layers of emotion and physical experience that entails was a really awesome thing to see unfold. By the end of the race, they were in full crew mode and helping me get through aids as fast as possible. At the end of the race my dad asked when my next race is”¦. “Welcome to the rodeo, Dad :)”.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Q: What is the strangest injury you have had?
  • Fortunately I have not been too heavily injured yet. I went out too hard and was undertrained in the 2019 Seattle marathon, and while not diagnosed I am pretty sure I limped away with plantar fasciitis which kept me out for about 6 weeks. Woof! Train thoroughly, and don’t go out too hard have been valuable lessons from that one.

Q: What is your favorite animal?

  • My red fox lab, GOOSE!

Q: What is the longest you have run?

  • I attempted the Antelope Island 100 mile this last March and made it just shy of 69 miles. I had been dealing with GI issues that developed from poor nutrition during my taper and from mile 50 could not keep any foods or liquids in”¦ it was kind of a messy situation, to put it vaguely. Yet again, a super valuable lesson as these races always are and I believe these lessons continually make us better humans.  

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

  • “Be where you are, and love what you are doing”.  To not put podium pressure on myself in races, but to slow down and just enjoy each step of the way. Usually you are in unique places when you run long distance, so BE THERE! It’s fun to imagine what it would be like to be a full-time paid runner, but it’s as much a gift to not have the pressure of trying to win in these endeavors and rather just soak it up.  

Q: What is your favorite food?

  • Cheesecake. My partner, Abby, makes the absolute best!

Q: If you could go anywhere, where is it?

  • South America is a dream destination for me, particularly the Inca Trail. I’m not a very experienced traveler beyond the United States, but I am very excited to visit Japan next May. Perhaps Peru will be after that 🙂

Q: What is your favorite quote?

  • “We don’t always know what we’re supposed to do next, but if we pay close attention it can be pretty obvious what NOT to do””¦ wise words from Mama.  

Q: What’s your media- movies or books?

  • There is a time and place for both. I like to always have a book I’m working through (recently finished The Comfort Crisis- 10/10 recommend), but it’s just as nice to turn off my brain and watch Seinfeld.  

Q: Favorite race you have ever ran?

  • Orcas was probably my top so far. The experience with my folks was awesome, but I felt good and smiled the whole time, finished strong, and the views were truly top notch.  

Q: What’s your go-to snack?