Ultra Runners Are People, Too: Jamil Coury

 

Photo Cred: Jamil Coury's Facebook.

Photo Cred: Jamil Coury's Facebook.

Jun (the husband) and I were grocery-shopping in what appears to be the "biggest" grocery in Julian, CA this past June when the guy behind the cash register started talking to another customer. This customer, with his long hair and tall build, appeared low-key, no arrogance whatsoever. Being that it was the week leading up to San Diego 100, we almost assumed he and the lady with him were runners. Then the guy behind the counter started asking him about "the 100-mile race" with such questions from him as "... So people actually run those 100 miles?... Do they sleep?... Are you running it?" The long-haired runner then answered "No, but I ran it last year..." "How long did you do it last year?" was the question that followed. And then the long-haired guy answered "I did okay... I placed 2nd." The cash register guy was in awe, shaking his head, as the long-haired runner exited. Once he was out the door, thats when it hit Jun who it was. "That was Jamil Coury!"

  Thank goodness for technology, it wasn't long til I was googling the name. Yes, that was Jamil Coury! My one and only up-close encounter with him. In a grocery store in the middle of nowhere! But that was good enough experience for me to brag about. And though I have known of Javelina Jundred and Coldwater Rumble, I, admittedly, did not know much about him. Fast-forward further to the long absence of a featured runner for our TWA page, my whim to run JJ, and, of course, his recent achievement at the Barkley Marathons, I found it more fitting to know more about and interview the runner behind the long-haired silhouette and the Arizona-based, Aravaipa Running... gave it a shot emailing him, and thankfully, received a gracious response that said "Sure!" to the request for interview. 

 And I guess this needs no further introduction. His name came to fame even more recently, as we, mere mortals, followed his progress and success at Barkleys.

 (But if you really must insist on knowing more about his resume, stalk him at Ultra SignUP via  http://ultrasignup.com/results_participant.aspx?fname=Jamil&lname=Coury ).

  I promised him it will be no more than 10 questions but as I remember numbers are not my friends so I overdid it, along with your questions, yet he nicely answered them for us. So here goes: 

TWA: Hi! So yes! Once again were the group, Trail WhippAss (TWA), founded in NYC last year with over 300 members from all over the world. Were a bunch of (mostly) ultra runners from all abilities (slow like me and fast like them). So we do this thing where we interview runners who, we think, inspire us with their badassery. This month, we chose you! And here are the questions!

TWA: What is your pre/during/post-meal and meal in general?

JC: My favorite pre-race meal is mashed potatoes with vegetables like brocolli or kale. I'm also vegan so I make them with soy milk and vegan butter. During a race I use a combination of gels, chews (like Gu Chomps or Clif Shot Blocks), Clif Energy Foods (they have sweet potato and pizza flavor in a pouch) and for real food I like mashed potatoes again. Post run it can be a good veggie burger, pizza and a beer.

TWA: What was your training like for Barkleys?

JC: My Barkley training this year was focused on getting in a certain amount of vertical in each week. I wasn't as concerned with mileage per se, but tried to mimic the steep grade I would see at the race which averages to be 1000 feet of climbing or descending per mile. Since I live in Phoenix, I have access to that type of grade on about 3 local trails by my house but each climb is only about 1000 feet of climb at a time so I ended up with a lot of repeats for training. One day I did 13 repeats of North Mountain which equated to over 10,000 feet of climb (and equal amount of descent) over 17 miles.

TWA: What do you think of Cantrell, etc. thinking that runners “failed” against the mountain this year at Barkleys?

JC: The Barkley is a five loop course that must be completed in 60 hours. It is an extremely difficult route with over 13,000 feet of climb per loop and over 25 miles per loop. The off trail portions of the route and navigation (since the course is unmarked) adds to the challenge and the time cutoffs are tight! I think he is entirely accurate in thinking the runners "failed" since no one was able to complete the course in the set time. While no doubt personal barriers were broken through and there were some incredible stories, the course and race still won this year. I made it the furthest, finishing 4 loops but over the cutoff to continue on to the 5th and final loop. Its nice to have a race in our sport that is this difficult to finish. It provides me with a great level of motivation to take my running to a new level.

TWA: What were your darkest and most hopeless moments at Barkley? How about the most euphoric? Were you ever scared during the race between the terrain, sleep deprivation, etc.

JC: I'd say the beginning of the 4th loop was pretty dark. I knew I was on the cusp of the cutoff with only a 90 minute time cushion when I started that loop. My first decent off that loop was completely in the dark and I was having some trouble finding the correct ridge to descend. I was literally heading through the woods attempting to follow a compass bearing in total darkness trying to find a paperback book hidden in the hollow of a birch tree. I lost some time here and mentally that was hard as I knew I would be even closer to the cutoff. When I finally found the book I was relieved, but soon became confused on the subsequent ascent. I was actually on course but thought I was not. I ended up trying to take a 10 minute nap to clear my head but slept through my alarm for 45 minutes. This was probably the most hopeless moment when I realized my finish was slipping away.

 

I'd say the most euphoric moment was actually a several hour period at the end of Loop 3. I had decided with 4 books to go on that loop I was going to run hard and really push the pace in order to give myself more of a cushion to sleep and shower before setting out on Loop 4. It's hard to describe what happened out there, but I was running hard and effortlessly for many hours and just felt really, really good. I think I was having the "ultimate" runner's high and just loving being out there.

I wasn't really ever scared out there. I was totally in the moment at all times, always focused on something important. Whether that be my nutrition, navigation, finding the next book or just making mental notes about the course route.

TWA: We are taunting one of our badass runners, Maggie Guterl, to run Barkleys Marathon. For her and the others, especially those who have no clue on how or when to apply,  what would be your "tip" on to how to apply to get into Barkleys?

For those interested in applying for Barkley, I'd say get to know someone who has done it before and prove that you have what it takes to apply. There is no set rule on who is allowed to apply, but the method in which to apply is closely guarded by those who know. I first met some Barkley guys when I first went up to do some course marking for the Hardrock 100 in Colorado and met some others when I competed in an event called the MMD50K in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I think earning the respect of some Barkley runners is the best way to learn how to apply.

 

Photo Credit: Jamil Coury's Facebook/Aravaipa Running

Photo Credit: Jamil Coury's Facebook/Aravaipa Running

TWA: What inspired you to get into race directing?

JC: I started volunteering at the trail runs and ultra marathons that existed in Arizona when I first got started in the sport. I loved the community and I always liked helping and giving back so I guess just the sport itself inspired me. I had ideas of my own and love to create things. There were all kinds of awesome runs in my area that didn't have any sort of organized race on them and I wanted to share them with others. It was a pretty natural thing once all of that came together.

TWA: You have accomplished a lot in ultra running, so far, but the possibilities are really endless.  What are some of your bucket list races or goals?

JC: I'm really into long, difficult races and that is where most of my goals currently lie. A 5 loop finish at Barkley is my number one goal and focus. I've never entered any race except for Barkley that I wasn't able to finish. That alone is extremely motivating for me as an athlete. Some other bucket list races include some very difficult international 100 milers including Ronda Dels Cims in Andorra and Diagonale des Fous on Reunion Island. These more exotic runs provide some amazing travel opportunities and have a ridiculous amount of climbing. I'd also someday like to run the length of the 800 mile long Arizona Trail for time. I've thru-hiked the trail before but would like to take a crack at the FKT (Fastest Known Time).

TWA: What does a typical training week look like for you?  Do you follow a strict plan or are you more loose with your training?

JC: This is a tricky question. It's been about 2 years since I've maintained a strict training plan just due to life events and everything I have going on. That isn't to say I prefer that. I enjoy working with a coach and have found that I benefit from a structured training plan and someone to help keep me on track. A typical week will vary but is usually time based and may contain some intensity type workouts, some long runs and some easy recovery runs. In a peak buildup I will have anywhere from 12 to 20 hours of running/training on the schedule which translates from 60 to 90 miles and can be from 15,000 to 25,000 feet of climbing.

TWA: What were you like as a kid and what are some life experiences that helped shape you into the ultra runner and person you are today?  And when did you grow your hair out for the first time?

JC: I grew up in the Boy Scout program so I've been camping, hiking, backpacking and spending time exploring the outdoors for as long as I can remember. At a young age I had to carry a large backpack with all of my supplies for a weekend or sometimes weeklong trip camping in the desert or woods. This is not an easy thing but something that I think helped to shape me into who I am. I clearly benefited from the skills I learned as a scout including navigation, orienteering, and wilderness survival. I loved to hike fast and would naturally try to run with my pack and push the pace at the front of the group. I soon found myself trying to pick lighter gear or modify my gear so I could go faster or longer. Once I found the sport of long distance trail running it was a perfect fit. I could explore long distances on foot with minimal gear.

I first started growing my hair out in 2010 and have only cut it once since then (just a couple of inches). It seems to fit my personality and lifestyle well and don't have plans to cut it anytime soon.

Photo Credit: Jamil Coury's Facebook. Honestly, because he tagged James Franco on this one, I had to go over this again and again to make sure it is him. 

Photo Credit: Jamil Coury's Facebook. Honestly, because he tagged James Franco on this one, I had to go over this again and again to make sure it is him. 

TWA: Do you run commando? How do you prevent chafing when you run longer distances?”

JC: I don't run commando... typically I just like to wear a pair of running shorts. Sometimes I do wear board shorts but always wear some running shorts underneath to keep things comfortable. Typically for me just a little bit of Vaseline will do the trick to prevent chafing. I've always had more issues with that when I've not had proper training.

TWA: Is there a question you’ve never been asked in an interview before but wish you were, if so what is the question and the answer?

JC: I don't believe I've been asked what event I would like to create as a race director if I had unlimited resources like time, money, permit restrictions etc. My answer would be an ultra marathon through Havasupai Canyon in Arizona. It is one of my favorite places in the world and I'd love to be able to offer that opportunity to trail runners as a supported race. You would run down past several amazing waterfalls and through the actual Havasupai Tribe's home village all the way to the Colorado River and back. The water down there is an amazing blue-green color and is like no other place on earth.

TWA: You see this picture. What do you think it is?

JC: First guess is a Smurf Devil Yeti


Meet a Trail WhippAss February 2015

Things are going to heat up with our next featured member in this month’s Meet A Trail WhippAss!! I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and becoming very good friends Heather for many years! We first became friends at our road running club Raritan Valley Road Runners in central NJ and developed the love of trail/ultra running together! Recently, our bond has gotten even tighter when she became an officer for TWA!! Not only do I think she is a badass athlete she is also the most compassionate veterinarian you will ever meet! 

First, what is your name? 

Heather Simon 

Heather has started a photo phenomena called "Heathering". This is a picture of me "Heathering". For those who are curious, "Heathering" is having someone take a picture of you doing this exact pose. It started because after one night when Heather imbibed a bit too. Please feel free to carry on the practice. 

Heather has started a photo phenomena called "Heathering". This is a picture of me "Heathering". For those who are curious, "Heathering" is having someone take a picture of you doing this exact pose. It started because after one night when Heather imbibed a bit too. Please feel free to carry on the practice. 

Do you have a nickname?

Not really. When I first started running they called me “One Speed McGee.” Now my Trail WhippAss name is “VetRunner.” A good friend of mine wants to add “crazy” in there for some reason. So I guess it would be, ”Crazy VetRunner.” We’ll see if it sticks! 

How old are you? 

34 

Where were you born? 

Queens, NY 

Where are you living now?

Somerville, NJ 

What do you do for a living? 

Veterinarian 

Heather brought this creature to my life. She also chopped off his kitty manlihood. You do not want to mess with this woman.

Heather brought this creature to my life. She also chopped off his kitty manlihood. You do not want to mess with this woman.

Do you speak any other languages? 

I dabbled in languages (Italian/French), but I do not speak any fluently 

What age did you start running?

30 

Prior to running Heather was the Captain of her Volleyball Team in High School! 

Prior to running Heather was the Captain of her Volleyball Team in High School! 

Why did you start running? 

Probably like many people, I was dealing with a lot of adversity in many areas of my life at the time. I ran to stay healthy and de- stress. I quickly became attached to that great feeling you get after a run. 

Why and when did you start running trails? 

A few people from Raritan Valley Road Runners (RVRR) ran trails, so I tried it one day. After that there was no turning back. 

Do you have a running idol? If so, who is he/she and why are they your idol? 

Kilian Jornet is pretty inspiring. He has just accomplished so much at such a young age. He seems so natural when he runs; even when he is running the scariest, most gnarly trails. I love his passion and his appreciation for nature. He always seems to take time to soak it all in and take pictures and enjoy every moment. 

I also admire and can really relate to, Molly Sheridan.  She is an ultra-marathoner who ran her first marathon at the age of 48.  She injured herself prior to this marathon and was told by the doctor that she should not run….that she was too old to run.  I read her book recently.  She did everything she could on her own to get herself better and prove this doctor wrong.  When I read the part about her sending a "screw you" letter to the doctor who told her she was too old to run, with a picture of her at the marathon finish line, I immediately liked her.  What a determined and awesome person!

This is Molly Sheridan. She's pretty damn cool.

This is Molly Sheridan. She's pretty damn cool.

Where is the best place that you've run? or where was the most interesting place you've ever run? 

So far, hands down, the Grand Canyon R2R2R. 


Where was your most favorite race? 

Probably Salomon Pinelands Trail Festival (50 miler). They put on a well organized race! It was also my first time seeing Maine and I went with a great group of friends. There is nothing better than combining a road trip/vacation/race/run all in the same package! 

Heather looking badass in her 50 mile finisher's photo! I ran this race, too and I have to say that they had the best race photos AND they were free to al runners!

Heather looking badass in her 50 mile finisher's photo! I ran this race, too and I have to say that they had the best race photos AND they were free to al runners!

What's the longest trail distance you've ever run? 

I just finished my first 100 miler - Rocky Raccoon 100

Heather is in tears after she just finished her very first 100 miler. After hearing how bad her knee was all sorts of messed up her badassery tripled in my eyes! She called this her worst race photo, but I think she still looks good! If she wasn't my friend I think I'd hate her! ;)

Heather is in tears after she just finished her very first 100 miler. After hearing how bad her knee was all sorts of messed up her badassery tripled in my eyes! She called this her worst race photo, but I think she still looks good! If she wasn't my friend I think I'd hate her! ;)

What is your favorite trail distance to run? 

50Ks are by far my favorite distance. I think it’s far enough to enjoy hours and hours out in the woods or on the trails, but it’s not super intimidating and there’s always time to have some fun for the rest of the day! 

What's the most you've paid for a race? 

I suppose that would be Rocky Raccoon - I believe it was $200. 

Where is the farthest you've travelled for a race? 

So far, Wisconsin.  

What's the highest elevation you've ever run? 

The Grand Canyon 

What's the longest distance you've ever run on a treadmill? 

I have not run on a treadmill in years, but I did 15 miles on one once. It was incredibly boring! 

What's your next trail running goal? 

My big goal for the year was the 100 miler, which I just accomplished.  It was my first one, so I was pretty excited about it.  I suffered from an injury three weeks prior to the 100 miler.  But I trained so hard and all of the endurance was there, so I ran it on an injured knee.  It was painful.  I was pretty proud of myself for pushing through that, because the from the beginning it proved to be a huge mental and physical challenge.  The next big goal after that was set to be my 95 mile race in Scotland in June.  However, due to the knee injury I may have to forgo this race and make my next goal getting healthy and strong!  And save Scotland for next year!   Since I have started running a few years ago, I have run many many races and have not taken any time off....I think my body is trying to tell me something!

Do you do something quirky when you're running? 

Hmmm....I’m not sure. If I do, no one has ever told me! I am very aware of the fact that I have a horrible short term memory and a horrible sense of direction. Two things that you would think are pretty crucial for a trail runner! So sometimes I make ridiculous funny comments that pertain to this flaw of mine and I get tortured by my running friends. 

She may not do anything quirky when she's running, but Heather sure does weird things when she's crewing.

She may not do anything quirky when she's running, but Heather sure does weird things when she's crewing.

What is your favorite pre-race meal?

 I LOVE bananas with peanut butter and sprouted grain toast with avocado and a bit of salt. And of course, several cups of coffee!! 

What's your favorite food choice during ultras? 

Potatoes and salt. I just had Nutella on a bagel at my recent race and that was pretty tasty!  Recently I have started to make my own “energy bites” (oats, coconut, peanut butter, flax, chia seeds, honey, chocolate).  In the cold months I love the ramen soup they have at the races.

What's your favorite post race meal? 

Beer. Haha! I’m not too particular about my post race meal. I try to get some veggies and protein in there. I usually do enjoy a nice beer after I have worked so hard. 

What can you not run without? 

I usually feel pretty naked without my watch. I definitely use my GPS watch for mileage/pace etc. But I delete all of the data. I have never uploaded, saved or recorded anything. 

What's on your mind when you cross a finish line? 

It depends on the race. Sometimes I am just so glad to be done and excited that I conquered another race or distance. But every once in a while I’m a little sad it’s over; like I want to run more....get more out of it. 

If anyone in the world could congratulate you at the end of a race who would it be and why? 

This is going to sound really sad. And I debated whether or not I should write it. But this whole thing is about being honest and getting to know each other. I would have to say, my husband. I would be so happy if he were waiting for me at the finish to hug me and congratulate me. 

Do you have a running philosophy? If so, what is it? 

I do. Work hard, but always thoroughly enjoy it. I try to take in my surroundings, take pictures, laugh, enjoy nature. And if I am running a race, I make sure to encourage other runners and I am very grateful to those people volunteering for that race. I am very thankful that I am healthy enough to be able to pursue my passion. I never want to take that for granted. Never. 

What's your preferred terrain to run? 
A. Road
B. Flat rail trail
C. Rolling hills single track 
D. Gnarly roots and rocks with tons of elevation gain 
E. Combination of above 

I enjoy trail much more than road....so it’s probably all of the above, with the exception of A. I love the gnarly roots, rocks, etc. I think that technical, difficult trail are by far my favorite.  But sometimes it’s also nice to have a terrain out in the woods or on the trails that are less challenging, where you can run with friends and not have to concentrate so hard on your footing. 

Do you own any TWA gear? If so, which one is your favorite? (If not, why don't you??) 

Of course I do!! I have a visor, singlets, t-shirts, sweatshirt, sunglasses, a neat bag!  The visor has come in super handy! 

If you could have any superhero power what would it be?

It sounds pretty cheesy, but I would like be able to communicate with animals. I love running, but I also love being a veterinarian.  I get pretty attached to my patients.  Sometimes it pains me to know an animal is suffering and to not be able to fix it or know why. 

That's not corny. I wish you could tell me why my cat yells at me so much. 

That's not corny. I wish you could tell me why my cat yells at me so much. 

If you could go anywhere on the planet for free where would it be?

It’s not really exotic, but I still have not been to France. I am a Francophile who has never actually seen the country. I love all things French. (Language, music, food, wine, poetry, etc.) This needs to be fixed! 

What was the most badass thing you've ever done? 

Running the Grand Canyon twice in one day was pretty bad ass for me! The Escarpment Trail Run was also pretty challenging. 
If we are talking non-running bad-assery, I am a tattoo, piercing type of gal. I have a few tattoos....I had a tongue piercing that I miss every so often. 
Tattoos: 1) First tattoo when I was 18 years old on my lower back - says “Security is a kind of death.”  Tennessee Williams quote which means, don’t stand on a square foot of stable ground - live life - take risks.  I think he realized that when you are “comfortable,” have money and are “secure” sometimes that is when ennui takes over...when you are sipping a drink lounging next to your kidney-shaped heated pool.  2) Second Japanese Haiku on my left hip which means to have patience/ to let life carry you (this advice will probably come in handy now while I am injured and need to let my body heal!)  3) Right wrist “Amor Fati” Nietzsche quote with an ouroboros to symbolize eternal return. Amor fati means love your fate.  It essentially means, if you love your life and love who you are now, you wouldn’t want to change anything about your life or your past.  Everything you have experienced thus far has made you who you are.  Hypothetically, if you love who you are now, you would wish to live your life EXACTLY the same over and over again - of course, all of the joy, happiness, love; but also all of the pain and suffering.  If any ONE thing were different, YOU would be different.  4) “Alis volat propriis” - She flies with her own wings.  This is my most recent tattoo on my left foot.  It essentially means that I am a fiercely independent, free spirited woman.  The wing and the location of the tattoo also allude to my passion for running!

Tattoo #1

Tattoo #1

Tattoo #2

Tattoo #2

Tattoo #3

Tattoo #3

Tattoo #4 

Tattoo #4 

How did you hear of or become a Trail WhippAss (TWA)? 

Through friends like Shelby! 

Who's the weird guy in between Heather and I??? ;)

Who's the weird guy in between Heather and I??? ;)

Meet a Trail WhippAss January 2015 Edition!

Hey, hey, all you Trail WhippAsses!!

Thanks to a false alarm Snowmaggatron 2015® I got some time to post another edition of Meet A TrailWhippAss!!

Today's featured member is the the young and speedy Charles Kennedy! His Facebook friends know him as Charles Patrick Michael Kennedy, which makes me think he belongs on the big screen. I mean, seriously, that name has stardom written all over it!!

 

First, what is your name? 

Charles Kennedy

How can this guy have no nickname?? That's gotta change ASAP!

How can this guy have no nickname?? That's gotta change ASAP!

Do you have a nickname?

None that I know of

 

 

How old are you?

22 years old

 

 

Where were you born?

Watchung, NJ

 

Where are you living now?

Watchung, NJ

 

 

What do you do for a living?

I am a Research Associate at an Intellectual Property Law Firm

 

Do you speak any other languages?  

Pig Latin (no joke)

 

What age did you start running?

19

 

 

Why did you start running?

I boxed in college and used run for conditioning.  I took a break from boxing due to some injuries.  I kept up with running and haven't looked back.  

And with calves like those why would you want to look back!

And with calves like those why would you want to look back!

 

Why and when did you start running trails? 

I was never strictly a road or trail guy.  I went to college in Atlanta which has a pretty good mix of both.  Roads lead to trails and trails lead to roads.  I prefer trails now because it helps me not to get so caught up on the numbers and times.

 

 

Do you have a running idol? If so, who is he/she and why are they your idol?

I think every trail runner secretly loves Kilian Jornet, because he has done a lot for the sport and the FKT movement.  But I also really look up to Sage Canaday.  He seems to be a younger face in the Trail Running community and for that reason I find him to be easier to relate to.  

Who? This guy?? He's not that great. ((I'm totally lying))

Who? This guy?? He's not that great. ((I'm totally lying))

 

Where is the best place that you've run? or where was the most interesting place you've ever run?

Point Lobos, California.  The place is breathtaking.  Running on trails along cliffs along the ocean.  Tide pools, seals, big rocks.  It is absolutely worth the trip and even more worth the run.  

 

 

Where was your most favorite race?

I did a trail-zombie race when I was at college in Atlanta.  It was pretty fucking crazy. It wasn't overly technical and the occasional zombie popping out of nowhere really forced me to kick up the pace.  Different, but super fun.    

 

 

What's the longest trail distance you've ever run?

I ran 12 miles in a training run.  I'm sort of working my way up in the distance category.

 

 

What is your favorite trail distance to run

Trail 10k is really fun.  I know some would disagree but it is long enough to not just be an all out sprint, but it can still end up being super fast.  Its a good mix of tactical speed and endurance.  Its also nice because it is a distance that is very approachable.  

 

 

What's the most you've paid for a race?

Probably $50 for a race.  On short distance races, unless the proceeds are going to a good cause, I try not to drop a ton of money on running (which in my mind shouldn't me a super expensive sport.)

 

Where is the farthest you've traveled for a race?

I ran a 5k in Stanford, California.  I don't know if that counts since I traveled to see a friend and just sort of ended up running a 5k.  If it does count that's 3,000 miles!  

 

 

What's the highest elevation you've ever run?

I'm not much of an elevation junkie, but I ran though an apple orchard on a mountain in Blue Ridge, Georgia.  Google Maps says its 2753 ft above sea level.  

Looks pretty legit to me!

Looks pretty legit to me!

What's the longest distance you've ever run on a treadmill?

A Treadwhat?  But seriously, maybe 1/2 a mile.  

 

 

What's your next trail running goal?

I am hoping to run some longer distances, half and full marathon on the trails.  That and my technical downhill running needs A LOT of work.  

  

 

Do you do something quirky when you're running?

Sometimes I make up songs while I am running and change the lyrics to suit the situation.  

 

 

What is your favorite pre-race meal?

Hot Tea, White Toast and Allergy Medication.  

 

 

What's your favorite food choice during ultras?

I eat a lot of Honey Stinger Waffles...not always while running though.

 

 

What's your favorite post race meal?

French toast with WAY too much maple syrup.

Charles, there's no such thing as too much maple syrup.

Charles, there's no such thing as too much maple syrup.

 

 

What can you not run without?

Socks.  Tried running without them once, never again.  

 

 

What's on your mind when you cross a finish line?  

Really nothing, I usually zone out during a race and for a few minutes afterwards.      

 

 

If anyone in the world could congratulate you at the end of a race who would it be and why?

I actually don't really like congratulations it makes me feel a little self conscious. I would prefer to congratulate others instead.

 

 

Do you have a running philosophy? If so, what is it?

I think my overall philosophy is that I should aim to be better at running.  Often that includes faster, but not necessarily.  

 

 

What's your preferred terrain to run?

A. Road

B. Flat rail trail

C. Rolling hills single track

D. Gnarly roots and rocks with tons of elevation gain

E. Combination of above

C.  It makes me feel all cool and pastoral when single tracks go though big fields and meadows.   

Looks like you don't mind some rock hopping either!! 

Looks like you don't mind some rock hopping either!! 

 

Do you own any TWA gear? If so, which one is your favorite? (If not, why don't you??)

I have a TWA Singlet in black.  I try and make my racing colors somewhere on the grey-white-black spectrum so the singlet fits my color requirements.  It also does a great job of showing off my skinny arms.  

Charles told me he thought this was a bad race photo. The only thing I see wrong with this photo is that he isn't wearing a TWA singlet! :)

Charles told me he thought this was a bad race photo. The only thing I see wrong with this photo is that he isn't wearing a TWA singlet! :)

 

If you could have any superhero power what would it be?

I would say Super Speed, but the major downside is that I would more too fast to enjoy the run.  But still Super Speed.  

 

 

If you could go anywhere on the planet for free where would it be?

I would really love to spend some time diving in the Great Barrier Reef.  You know, before its all gone :(  

 

 

Do you have any tattoos? If so, where is it, what is it and why did you decide on that tattoo??

I have three tattoos (hopefully adding more soon).  I have an owl on my back right shoulder, because it is my older sisters favorite animal.  I have a wing on my left ankle, for running obviously and I have a snake on my inside left calf because as a child I has fascinated by snakes.   

Just like Harry Potter!! Charles, do you speak Parseltongue, too???

Just like Harry Potter!! Charles, do you speak Parseltongue, too???

 

What was the most badass thing you've ever done?

I fractured my nose during a sparring match and kept on boxing.  So. Much. Blood.   

Rocky never ran trails. 

Rocky never ran trails. 

 

How did you hear of or become a Trail WhippAss (TWA)?

I was moving back to the area and Googled "Trail Running NJ/NY"  I found this group, inquired about it and joined.  

good_decent race.jpg

Charles, that was probably the best decision you've ever made! 

It's 2015 so let's Meet a WhippAss!!

Happy New Year to all you WhippAsses!!

This is a very special Holiday edition of Meet a WhippAss!!

Today we are meeting someone who will always stand out in a crowd.

Staying classy

Staying classy

He curses more than anyone I know, isn't talented in spelling, a beast on the trails, our fearless leader and an all around fantastic guy.

He has been referred to as a young George Clooney and also has an alter ego named Papá (I'm pretty sure that means he's French).

On a serious note, Dylan Armajani has spent a tremendous amount of time trying to unify an amazing community of trail runners who share a common passion of running long distances. He welcomes runners of all speed, distances and terrain and has a way of making you feel good about DNF'ing a race! If he's not pacing his sister running her first trail 5K, he's pacing Maggie while she wins Viaduct 100 or delivering donuts to Otto while he's running for 3 days. 

I am lucky to be able to call him a good friend. 

Last summer I made Dylan come with me to the Vegan Festival all the way downtown!

Last summer I made Dylan come with me to the Vegan Festival all the way downtown!

First, what is your name?

My name is Dylan

 

Do you have a nickname? 

Some people say I remind them of a young George Clooney…. most people just call me Papa.

A young George Clooney. Do you see it??

A young George Clooney. Do you see it??

 

How old are you?

29

 

Where were you born? 

Portland Maine

 

Where are you living now? 

NYC

 

What do you do for a living? 

I am a Technical Account Manager for a Video related Startup.  I manage our relationship with Viacom, ESPN, NBA, MLB, WWE, and Vevo at the moment.

 

Do you speak any other languages?   

I barely speak english. 

 

What age did you start running? 

26 or 27.

 

Why did you start running? 

A challenge, nobody thought I could run a marathon and I wanted to try to raise some money for charity after my dad had a stroke.  I fucking proved them all wrong, and I raised about $12,000 in the process!

 

Why and when did you start running trails? 

I was a member of a road running team but our styles didn’t jive. Even though I was sort of speedy running for me was always about the accomplishment and the achievement and the personal nature of it. All they cared about was team points and age group victories and such.  

 

Do you have a running idol? If so, who is he/she and why are they your idol? 

I like to say I am my own running idol.  I’ve got my own dreams and goals and the me that believes in myself achieving those goals is my idol.

Dylan in Colorado running with Scott Jurek. No big deal.

Dylan in Colorado running with Scott Jurek. No big deal.

 

Where is the best place that you've run? or where was the most interesting place you've ever run?

Boulder & Mammoth Lakes CA so far have been my favorite place.  Even though I’m a lowlander and I become slow and can barely move up at altitude… i love the views and the scenery.  

 

Where was your most favorite race? 

Superior 100.  I DNF’d around mile 64.  Next year I plan to finish.  It was beautiful and it was the farthest I had ever run before.  It was an experience.

 

What's the longest trail distance you've ever run? 

See above.  64 gnarly miles.

 

What is your favorite trail distance to run 

50k is nice.  Farther than a marathon, you feel badass but your often done by lunch.

 

What's the most you've paid for a race? 

NYC marathon.  $900 in entry fees.  Don’t even ask.

Here's Dylan running in the race that cost him $900. I guess that's why he's not happy.

Here's Dylan running in the race that cost him $900. I guess that's why he's not happy.

 

Where is the farthest you've travelled for a race? 

I guess California… but i traveled for pleasure and just ran a race.  The race came second.

 

What's the highest elevation you've ever run?

Just shy of 13,000ft.  It was more of a “crawl"

 

What's the longest distance you've ever run on a treadmill? 

I have an incline trainer…. Last week I ran 50 miles on it.  I also ran 30 outside so thats kind of good?

 

What's your next trail running goal? Superior 100.  I’m gonna cross that finish line and give my parents the biggest hug for helping get me to the finish.  They are the best crew ever.  

 

Do you do something quirky when you're running? 

Sometimes I cry of happiness.  No joke.  I don’t know why, it just happens.  I get super happy and start fantasizing about finishing some big goal or dream and it just makes me so proud of myself and happy to be in the moment that I cry.  Shhh… don’t tell the ladies that.  I am single too.  You can tell them that.

I heard Dylan's buddy, Anton (Tony) Krupicka is a sensitive guy, too. 

I heard Dylan's buddy, Anton (Tony) Krupicka is a sensitive guy, too. 

 

What is your favorite pre-race meal? 

In the morning I generally just do a banana and a cliff bar.  Boring but it works for me.

 

What's your favorite food choice during ultras?

1-3 hour effort just a gel or two.  If its going to be longer I try to do a bar or something solid every hour.  

 

What's your favorite post race meal? 

Quinoa with veggies.  I’m a vegetarian also as an FYI.  That wasn’t the question but I answered it.

 

What can you not run without? 

My legs!  My arms are too weak to run on.

Dylan's arms aren't too weak to carry sticks though.

Dylan's arms aren't too weak to carry sticks though.

 

What's on your mind when you cross a finish line?  Depends.  If its a looped course I am super happy to be done.  I don’t do well with loops.  For me its about adventuring and I get bored seeing the same thing twice.  Sometimes i’m sad its over.  I love coconut water, usually i’m psyched to drink one!

 

If anyone in the world could congratulate you at the end of a race who would it be and why? 

My family I guess.  Someday I would like to have a little boy or a little girl and I would like to run across a finish line with them.  I can’t imagine how proud that would make me.  I’d like them to see that anything is possible with a little bit of work and that you can define your life to be whatever you want it to be.

 

Do you have a running philosophy? If so, what is it? 

Run Careless & Run Free.  Running is what you make of it and what you want to make of it.  I think you should just go out and do whatever makes you happy, and getting in touch with nature is great to do at the same time.  If you like to run awesome, if you like to fast hike, awesome, if you like to slow hike awesome.  I just feel like we all should reattach ourselves to nature, and however you do it is fine with me.

 

What's your preferred terrain to run?

A. Road

B. Flat rail trail

C. Rolling hills single track

D. Gnarly roots and rocks with tons of elevation gain Oh yeah… this gets me going.

E. Combination of above 

 

Do you own any TWA gear? If so, which one is your favorite? (If not, why don't you??) 

I own at least 20 singlets and a bunch of hats, and visors, and really everything that anybody has ever had made. 

 

If you could have any superhero power what would it be? 

I’d like to physically be unbreakable.  I tend to have knee problems and I often wonder what I could do if I wouldn't break.

 

If you could go anywhere on the planet for free where would it be? 

The moon!  Oh shit… that’s not on earth.

 

What was the most badass thing you've ever done? 

I started this fucking running club with some good friends. We call ourselves Trail WhippAss. Have you heard of them?

Yes, I have. Trails are my home. WhippAss is my tribe.

Yes, I have. Trails are my home. WhippAss is my tribe.

 

How did you hear of or become a Trail WhippAss (TWA)? 

Being Papa Trail WhippAss is my baby. I knocked this badass woman up and TWA popped out.

Why do you have a lion tattooed on your shoulder? 

This was his answer