A couple weeks ago we promised to bring you parts of an interviewed conducted with our trail athlete Duncan Callahan last year. After his big win at the Spring Desert Ultra 50 miler in Fruita, CO this past weekend we figured you may be interested in reading more of the interview. We’ll post the last question next week.Till then…
What is your favorite Ultra Race and why?
So far? The Leadville 100. Forever? The Leadville 100. This race captivated my imagination long ago and it will never let go. I was in high school when I first heard about the race, I read an article about Ann Trason and her epic battle in the Leadville 100 with the Tarahumara. Since that day I have wanted to run the Leadville 100. Now that I have finished four times, including two victories, I am still captivated by it. Even though I will eventually get away from racing the Leadville 100 every year, I’m racing it again in 2011, I will always think of Leadville as the best and the greatest. There is something about the altitude, the hardcore nature of the town, the terrain, etc. I am inspired by the race. I respect it greatly and I will continue to be impressed with everyone who finishes it. This says it all about the Leadville 100: “Do not be fooled by her beauty; for deep within is the grits, guts and determination to move mountains.”
Duncan with his wife, Annie, and brother, Bill on far right.
When you tell other people, especially non-ultra-runners, about what you do, what kind of reactions do they have? Do most people think you are nuts?
When I tell non-ultra-runners what I do, typically they are impressed and think I am nuts at the same time. Typically these folks ask all sorts of questions: What do you eat, how do you stay injury free, don’t you get tired, how many miles per week do you run, why do you do this and more. I also tend to think some people are inspired by what I do. My goal with running ultras and with my day job, ski coaching, is this: “Set goal, state goal, work toward goal, keep eye on goal, achieve goal, then, inspire or teach others to do the same. Ultra running fits with this mission statement well.
I also believe the questions that these folks ask are rooted in curiosity of the unknown or the unthinkable. Everyone connects with the concept of ‘endurance’ (endurance as a general life principle, not just running) at some level and when people find out what I do, it allows them to ask questions to further understand and explore the concept of endurance. I love answering these questions, as it allows me to further explore and search my mind and my heart about the concept of endurance as well. I love this stuff.