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.
Views of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens on a training run w/ friends in 2011. Photo: Joe Grant
Circumnavigating Mt. Hood w/ some friends back in 2011. Photo: Joe Grant
Often times people ask why I run ultra marathons and put myself through the sometimes perceived self-afflicted misery. I remember being asked by one of my uncles in Morocco what I won for first place in a race many years ago. He looked at me very puzzled when I responded, “a belt buckle”! Trying to explain why we do what we do is very often difficult to articulate or put into words but I am sure it is the intrinsic rewards rather than the external or materialistic “prizes”. Training for a mountain 100-miler demands some serious commitment and time spent out deep in the wilderness getting used to the rigors that the actual event will bring. It is so much about the journey rather than the destination and I was able to draw on that a lot during my long run at Western States 100 last weekend. It reminded me of a card that my mother sent to me in 1996 when I decided that I was not going to attend college right after high school. I kept this card in a shoe box as I moved (sometimes wandering) from Florida to Pennsylvania to Colorado to New York over the span of nearly a decade. While living in New York I pulled the card out of the shoe box and pinned it to my bedroom wall because I love the message so much. I was reminded of the wise words just by glancing at the beautiful photos on the card every morning when I rose. In 2008 my wife surprised me and had it professionally framed and it still sits in my bedroom to this day. I thought that I would just like to share it with you all. It goes like this: (more…)