Brendan Leonard is an ultrarunner, writer, award-winning filmmaker, speaker, and creator of one of my favorite websites on the internet, Semi-Rad.com. On top of all that, he’s also a new dad, which we talked quite a bit about in this conversation. Brendan is someone whose work I’ve admired for quite a while now. He’s got an unmatched ability to tell stories, use humor, and share drawings that convey many of the things we all feel and experience as runners, and as human beings in general. In this conversation, we bounced all over the place, covering topics like ultrarunning, creativity, storytelling, self-employment, parenthood, where and how all these things overlap and intersect, and a lot more.
Hellah Sidibe is a former pro soccer player turned runner who strives to inspire and change lives through sharing his life experiences. Last year he became the first Black man to run across the United States, which he did in a quick 84 days, and he’s been running every day since May 15, 2017. His HellahGood YouTube channel has nearly 275 thousand subscribers and his energy and enthusiasm for running, life, and tackling big challenges is incredibly infectious.
Amy Leedham is my friend, she’s one of my athletes, she’s a wife and a mom, and a badass runner to boot. Amy told me about her nickname, The Punisher, and how it came to be, we dig into different elements of her personality and how they manifest in various aspects of her life, and we discuss how her relationship to running has evolved over the years, in particular the past two. Amy also describes the challenges she faced in returning to running after giving birth to her daughter Aila, she shares her best advice for other mothers who might find themselves in a similar situation, she told me how she’s developed a renewed sense of gratitude for being able to run, and a lot more.
I recently got on the mic with my friend Dylan Bowman, who first appeared on the podcast back on Episode 14 in 2018, and we caught up with one another about all sorts of stuff. In this episode, we talk about where we’re at in our respective lives right now, what we both have going on athletically and professionally, where we see certain parts of the industry going in the next few years, and a lot more.
This week's episode is with my friend and sometimes training partner, Alex Varner, and we recently sat down at his kitchen table to continue a conversation that started a few months ago on some runs together about moving on from the sport of running, or at least reevaluating our relationship with it. Alex has been running competitively since high school and has done some pretty amazing things in the sport: he’s won a national title in the 50K, he’s been top 10 at Western States, he’s won and broke the course record at Lake Sonoma, he’s put up the fastest time at the Dipsea Race a record 9 times, he’s run a 2:21 marathon, and he’s also won the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh, NC. After 20+ years of being a competitive athlete, Alex’s relationship to the sport is in an interesting place and we spent this entire episode talking about identity, motivation, letting go, and a lot more.
This week’s episode is with J.M. Thompson. He’s an ultrarunner, a clinical psychologist, and author of the new book, Running Is A Kind of Dreaming, a powerful, mind-bending memoir about how running saved him from a life of depression, drug addiction, and suicide attempts. This conversation was fascinating and one of my favorites that I’ve had for the podcast to date. In it, we discuss J.M.’s book, how it’s structured, and how it came to be, but also what it’s been like for him, as a mental health professional, to open about his own issues so publicly. We talked about ultrarunning, his evolving relationship to it, and the types of personalities the sport tends to attract. Jason told me about what he called the “waking dream state” that he experiences in long races, the process of reorganizing our past experiences with trauma so that we can move forward, the importance of learning to ask for help, and a lot more.
Sabrina Little is an amazing human being. She’s a wife a new mom, she’s a full-time professor of Philosophy and the Humanities at Morehead State University in Kentucky, she writes my favorite column for iRunFar called The Examined Run, and she’s also a heck of an ultrrunner in her own right.
Rajpaul Pannu recently finished second at the Hoka One One Project Carbon X 2 100K in 6:28:31—it was his debut at the distance and the third fastest time ever run by an American. The 29-year-old is also a 2:17 marathoner and math teacher who is currently splitting his time between Denver, Colorado and the Bay Area.
Kilian Jornet is one of the greatest endurance athletes of all-time. The 32-year-old Catalonian has won major ultramarathons like Western States, UTMB, Hardrock and others, he’s captured multiple world titles in ski mountaineering, and he holds fastest known times up and down Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali, Everest, and other mountains.
Marcus Brown, known as @themarathonmarcus on Instagram, is a six-star World Marathon Majors finisher from London. He hosts the A Runner’s Life Podcast, and he’s one of the co-founders of Black Trail Runners, a UK-based community and campaigning group that seeks to increase the inclusion, participation and representation of Black people in trail running.