And the winner is …

I asked for your best trail-running stories for a chance to win a pair of Saucony ProGrid Xodus Trail-Running shoes. You 157362BLK1Zseriously, seriously delivered, and there were so many well-written, thoughtful stories, I had to resort to a random drawing among an only slightly narrowed-down list to choose a winner.

If these quotes, excerpts of the entries I got to read all week, don’t inspire you to get trail-running, you might want to check your pulse:

“Running breakneck through the forest made me feel like a kid again. I had no direction, no mileage goal, devoid of time constraints, I just ran wherever the trail went. Perhaps it wasn’t childhood I was revisiting but rather something more primal – the fight or flight of being chased by or pursuing something.”

“I love the calmness, noncompetitiveness and camaraderie that comes with trail running.”

“From the “mellow” attitude of the runners to the homemade banana bread offered at the finish I was in love with the trails.”

You told me about encounters with bones and Amish guys. You ‘fessed up to peeing in bushes and falling, gloriously, in a variety of places (clumsy runners: You are my brothers and sisters!). There were tales of trail-runners so hard-core, they vomited from exhaustion, then kept going to finish the race — and to PR. There was a Sun Valley trip that inspired what will likely be years of trail-running in DC. Maybe even more touching, there were trail races in which people became runners again. Is there any better feeling than going for the kind of run that makes you feel like announcing: “I’M BACK!”

There was a shout-out to the Park Ranger who told an entrant at mile six of a trail race “that the REAL hills were starting then.”

Another entrant confessed a plan to net a cute trail-running chick for her single firefighter friend by tripping a fellow runner, then letting her friend rush in to provide medical attention.

Yet another said she recovered from a heartbreak by training for a half-marathon by running in the Santa Monica Mountains on a “pretty lonely and pretty steep trail.” Steep lonely trails DO heal all wounds, don’t they?

And are those any more wonderful than the entrant who said the trail-runners would inspire her to sign up for a 5K, or the one training for her first half-marathon on trails frequented by the likes of Shalane Flanagan?

So. You see my dilemma. You all were too good. I narrowed it down, and narrowed it down, and then narrowed again, but I still couldn’t single out one story as being the best. I could only whittle my list to 13.

Personal circumstances put me in Florida this weekend. My dad, a former ski patroller and serious outdoors enthusiast, helped me choose the winner. I asked him to choose a number between one and 13. He chose 12. I counted down to the 12th name on my whittled list, convinced I’d be going back to flip a coin … until I saw this lovely post from an ultra-runner named Kirstin.

“Gap to Gap was my first ever mountain trail run, back in 2005. I was completely stunned by the interminable climb up Jawbone. It was steep, relentless, and forever. When I finally struggled (dead last) to the top, I didn’t think I could run another step, much less another twenty-plus miles. The body never ceases to amaze. I learned a lot that day. For instance, your ultra-running friends will convince you that you can do things that are perhaps beyond what you should attempt. And you will somehow survive, and fall for their seductive invitations again. If you’re not careful, this will become a way of life.The climb up Jawbone puts you on Kerns Mountain, a rock-strewn, technical, breezy ridge. It’s not the most runnable section, and perhaps that’s why I have such an affinity for it. The rocky, undulating path forces you to pay attention, and to dance rather than run. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

To dance rather than run. No, it doesn’t get any better than that. Kirstin, send me an e-mail ( with your address, and I’ll get you your shoes!

THANK YOU for inspiring me with your stories.


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3 responses to “And the winner is …

  1. PunkRockRunner

    Um, I still get a pair for entering right?

    Congratulations to the winner!

    All the best,


  2. congrats to the winner! everyone’s stories were quite entertaining.

  3. trialsoftraining

    Congrats Kristin – winning, And just being an “ultra runner” in general!

    lots of great quotes up there – good contest idea, Amy!

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