Meet A Trail WhippAss: December Edition!!

Welcome and thanks for visiting my blog! Every month (or so) I am hoping to post an entry focusing on a member of the Trail WhippAss. This month's chosen WhippAss is the Race Director of Rock the Ridge 50 miler Endurance Challenge, Todd Jennings!!

First, what is your name?

Todd Jennings


Do you have a nickname?

Some people call me TJ, which I like.


How old are you?



Where were you born?

Syracuse, NY


Where are you living now?

Monroe, NY (Lower Hudson Valley)


What do you do for a living?

Organize trail and ultra races for people like the WhippAsses 


Do you speak any other languages?

Yes, I speak “trail gangsta”, which helps in my relations with other people in the club.


What age did you start running?

I was 16, and was inspired by the original “Rocky” film.  I actually tried to drink a glass of eggs like he did in the movie.  It sucked!


Why did you start running?

Because my baseball skills weren’t developing as fast as the other kids in my high school, and I wanted to make varsity.  I figured showing up to the first practice already in shape would help.  It worked the first year, but I got cut as a senior, so I switched to bowling. I made the New York State finals. Go figure!


Why and when did you start running trails?

I’m not totally sure as to why, but the true inspiration to start was Dick Vincent’s Escarpment Trail Run up in the Catskills, which I first ran in 2005.  I trained for it in Harriman State Park.


When was the first time you ate dirt while running trails?

I fell down when I was 6 years old while out picking strawberries with my mom. OK, so it wasn’t really a trail, but the dirt tasted good. Haha


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

Not really. My inspiration typically comes from within, and from my close running friends.


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

There are lots of places I enjoy running, but certainly Harriman State Park is at the forefront.  I also love Schunemunk Mountain, and Black Rock Forest.

The most interesting place I ever ran was a 13-mile stretch of railroad track in the Adirondacks.  It was part of my 2012 Hudson River Run.  The tracks had been out of use since 1981, but the rails and ties hadn’t been ripped up.  I was hopping the ties the whole way. There were places where mini trees had sprouted up between them.  It was pretty cool.


Where was your most favorite race?

The Escarpment Trail Run may be my all-time favorite trail race.  It’s the only 30K “ultra” I’ve ever run. I also love Leatherman’s Loop.  My favorite road races are the Boston Marathon (have run it 4 times) and the Utica Boilermaker (10 times).


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

I guess that would be the North Face Bear Mountain 50K.  It was a humbling 6 hours and 14 minutes.


What is your favorite trail distance to run

Don’t really have one.  Any distance from 3 miles to 30 miles is totally cool.


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

I think I paid $200 for Boston in 2011.  That was probably the most.


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

However far it is from NYC to Phoenix.  I ran the Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon there in 2005.


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

A little over 4,000 feet, which was the top of Slide Mountain in the Catskills


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

Don’t make me fucking laugh !


What's your next trail running goal?

To run, fall down, and then get back up again.


Do you do something quirky when you're running?

No, unless you count talking a lot as ‘quirky’.  I’m a fucking chatterbox.


What is your favorite pre-race meal?

Clif bar and a banana.


What's your favorite food choice during ultras?

I love gummy bears and cookies.  Can run a whole race on just those and Gatorade.


What's your favorite post race meal?

Beer.  At least two, but often more.  And it has to be craft beer.  No BudMillCoors shit for this cowboy!


What can you not run without?



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

“Did I lock my keys in the car?”


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

I’d like to have Bill Murray there to say something like “Good job, young fella!” Bill doesn’t take life too seriously, and that sense of humor works for me.


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

It’s as I referred to above. I don’t take my running too seriously, as I think that helps to keep things light and fun.  


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


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

Shamefully, I don’t yet.  I’m working on getting a singlet right now.

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

I would like to be able to teleport to anywhere on Earth. If I could, I would teleport to the summit of Mount Everest to see what the view looks like from there.


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

Bora Bora.  There aren’t many places to run there, but I wouldn’t be concerned about that if I was in Bora Bora.


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

Probably when I ran the whole 318-mile length of the Hudson River in 2012. It was also my most amazing running experience. I’ll never forget it.


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

Through Papa, who was one of the 1st-year registrants of Rock The Ridge, a race I direct in the ‘Gunks.