Number of years running: 5
Location: Birmingham, AL
Occupation: Banker @ Wells Fargo
Favorite trail race(s):
Autumn Equinox Ultra, Oak Mountain 50k
Favorite trails to train on:
Red and Blue trails at Oak Mtn State Park and all trails at the new Red Mountain Park in Birmingham.
Favorite trail running shoe(s):
Lifelong running goals:
My lifelong running goal is to be able to do just that: run for the rest of my life despite challenges that I may face physically and mentally. My more immediate running goals include completing a 100-mile race in less than 20-hours and completing a 100K in less than 10 hours (and maybe running 4000 total miles in one year). I am also committed to encouraging others to become involved in the sport, either for recreation or for competitive racing. I think it is critically important for individuals to engage in regular physical activity, and running is a relatively low-cost, easily accessible way to do so. Moreover, running carries with it a simplistic beauty, as one is able to simultaneously escape the realities of everyday life or meditate on important issues while running in the woods, on the pavement, with friends, or alone.
In sum, my short- and long-term running goals include educating people on the importance of regular physical activity and encouraging them to become lifelong runners; challenging myself to achieve new personal records; and being a role model and source of inspiration for others in this sport.
I began running recreationally in 2004 with the Tuscaloosa Track Club while completing graduate school at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. Although I only participated in one or two 5Ks per year, I found running to be cathartic, relaxing, and energizing.
Since then, I have gradually progressed from participating in casual running events to competing in rigorous ultras (both trail and road). Upon moving back to my hometown of Birmingham, AL in Fall 2006, I met several runners through The Trak Shak (local specialty running store) who have been instrumental in developing and accelerating my running ability.
They educated me on the value of a weekly speed workout and the long run. I have progressively increased my training over the last three years with 2009 being a breakthrough year, with my first 30k, 50k, and 50-mile race.
In 2010 I completed my only 100 miler to date (Headlands 100 in San Francisco) in 21:32:11 and finished 4th overall. I competed in the Montrail Ultra Cup in 2010-2011 finishing 4 races (JFK 50, Bandera 100k, Mt. Cheaha 50k, and Way 2 Cool 50k). I ended up 13th overall in the points race, and was the highest finisher who did not run Western States. I ended 2011 with total run miles of 3544 up from 3330 the year before. I look forward to continuing my progress and challenging myself in 2012 and beyond.
2011 season summary:
My goal for 2011 was to win four ultras outright. I achieved this with my victories at Mt. Cheaha 50k, Oak Mtn 50k, Autumn Equinox Ultra (32 miles) and Peachtree City 50k. I also was the first male finisher at Strolling Jim (a 41 mile road race in Tennessee) and finally ran it in under 5 hours (4:50) to obtain the coveted Gold Shirt!
More important than these personal accomplishments was the growth of a trail race I founded in 2009. The event started out as my birthday run in September 2009 when I was turning 30. It has grown and evolved into a true grass roots ultra. It is now officially called the Autumn Equinox Ultra (it’s on UltraSignup) and has been held on the next to last Sunday in September for the last three years. It is a two loop course that follows the Red Trail at Oak Mtn State Park, for approximately 32 miles. There is also a fun run option which is one loop (16 miles).
This year I had 16 finishers for the ultra and 39 finishers in the fun run. This is a far cry from the less than 20 people who came out to run various distances with me in 2009 for my birthday. It is a great joy to offer new comers to the sport of trail running an event to get their feet wet. I plan to keep this event going indefinitely and hope to leave a lasting mark on the Alabama trail racing scene.
Proudest running accomplishments:
Completing a 100 mile trail race in less than 24 hours, enough said.
Planned races for 2012: