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Personal Essays

It's Okay To Care 

Of course trail running is fun, but does it always have to be just for fun? 

FreeTrail (September 2023)

An Industrial Strength Thread 

The song, Chicken Tenders, by Dominic Filke played from Elsa Jaworski’s phone at 5am on one of her most recent ultra endurance runs, Running Up for Air. Still dark, she trudged along on her seventh lap up Grandeur Peak, a prominent local mountain overlooking the Salt Lake Valley. Her friend, Derek, hiked behind her offering company and intermittent words of encouragement. By that point, Elsa had ascended nearly 18,000ft in 42 miles. 

FreeTrail (March 2023)

It Is the People 

Patrick Gallagher is a 47 year-old high school English teacher with an affinity for running ultra-marathons. He was well known in Gainesville, Florida – an actual local legend. He was that guy, subjecting himself to countless sufferfests including Big’s Backyard, Western States, and 5 back-to-back (to back…to back…to back) finishes at the Barkley Fall Classic. 

FreeTrail (January 2023)

Zen and the Art of Trail Running Maintenance 

Maintenance is not progressing, but being. It is a slow and deep process of consistently tending to the things of value for you. Maintenance isn’t sexy. It doesn’t get attention. It’s not going into a salon and coming out with bangs, but rather an almost imperceptible trim that keeps your hair healthy and growing. Maintenance is intimacy.

FreeTrail (November 2022)

Confessions of a Fangirl 

For most of my life, I have been so concerned with what I am projecting out into the world. Did I say the right thing? Was I wearing the correct outfit? Did I look like an idiot doing that? But trail running has taught me that being cool is usually not that fun. Sure, it’s not cool to smell like sweat at the pub post run club, or to have to poop on the side of the trail, or to muster up courage to introduce yourself to ‘Petergod’. Being vulnerable is generally not cool, but that’s where the magic happens. With vulnerability comes genuine enthusiasm, which is always worth sharing.

 FreeTrail (October 2022)

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