By Jacob Puzey
Each year, more and more people of all ages, abilities, and experience levels want to challenge themselves to do something beyond the traditional marathon distance. The recent growth in popularity of ultrarunning has to do, in part, with the fact that many off-road in the wild, often remote places. John Muir observed, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; the wilderness is a necessity.”
As the majority of communities to grow around population centers it is only natural that counter-communities grow up in defiance of the trend toward centering our lives on urban life. One such community is the ultra community. Those who take to the trails find a welcome reprieve with others that intentionally try not to bring with them the fast paced craze of the work world – leading to a much less egotistical, much more egalitarian community that embraces others who enjoy hours in nature with tasty treats and drinks.
Todd Janssen grew up in the Midwest, playing every sport possible and ran his first marathon when he was 16. After competing in adventure races for several years, he ran his first ultra, the Mount Hood 50, in 2009 and completed his first 100-miler in 2010. Great beer, coffee and an even better outdoor lifestyle drew him from New York to Portland, and he now feels most at home in Forest Park.
Participating in multi-day adventure races helped him come up with the original idea that launched Go Beyond Racing, a company that provides live race results to allow friends and family to keep track of athletes in real-time from anywhere in the world.
Todd now either directs or times over 40 races each year and is constantly looking for ideas to make races better and more runner focused. He and Trevor Hostetler started the Northwest Mountain Trail Series in 2013 with mountain races in distances between 10K to 100 miles, with the goal of creating well organized races with a low-key vibe that celebrate the true spirit of trail racing.
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