“Running has been a big factor in my life. Running made me start my own business, I met my wife because of running—that’s how I ended up here. So running has always been a big factor in my life. I think that’s why I still enjoy running at my age versus just being done with it. I know so many guys who were really fast and they’re like, ‘I’m done, I don’t wanna run anymore. Why are you still running?’ [It’s because] I still love it—it has become part of me.”
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I first met Thomas Reiss at the Leadville 100 back in 2017 when he was crewing and pacing for our mutual friend, Brett Rivers, who I was coaching at the time. I knew Thomas as a veteran ultrarunner who had experienced some success in the sport but also that he was a badass designer whose logo and branding work I was familiar with and admired. I’ve been wanting to have a long conversation with him ever since and this one did not disappoint.
Thomas, who is 53 years old, is a husband and dad to two teenage boys who is still getting after it on the road, track, and trails from the mile to ultramarathon distances. Like me, he loves it all. In 2018, he broke the American record for 50-54 year olds in the 50K on the track, running 3:39:26. Just last December he broke 5 minutes for the mile and he’s got his eye on some age-group records and national titles. Basically, I want to be Thomas when I grow up. Originally from Germany, running first came into Thomas’ life when he was a young kid. He ran his first marathon at the age of 22 and his involvement in the sport has only snowballed from there.
In this conversation, we talked about growing up in Germany and playing in punk bands during his teen years, and how that experience reminds him of some of the growth we’re seeing in ultrarunning today. He told me about starting a running magazine back in Germany, how his relationship with running has evolved over the years, and what keeps him motivated and excited as he approaches his mid-50s. We also talked about competitiveness, creativity, why brands in running should do a better job of highlighting Masters runners, and a lot more.
Thomas Reiss: Website | Instagram | Strava
the morning shakeout: Instagram | Twitter
Mario Fraioli: Website | Strava
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Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.