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

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!! 

http://www.mohonkpreserve.org/rock-the-ridge

First, what is your name?

Todd Jennings

 

Do you have a nickname?

Some people call me TJ, which I like.

 

How old are you?

52

 

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?

Shoes

 

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.

Thanks WhippAss

You know whats incredible to me?  A year ago none of this existed and I only knew a few of you.  A year ago I was standing on the outskirts of a road running team feeling like a complete outsider because I had dreams that others didn't seem to quite understand.  When I closed my eyes I saw single track winding along a ridgeline, the sun at my back, the crisp taste of nature tickling my nose.  I dreamed of dirt underfoot.  I felt alone when I closed my eyes.

If theres one thing that I am thankful for on this day, its all of you.  The shoutouts in running magazines, and seeing more and more "Trail WhippAss" singlets at races makes me all warm and giddy inside... but I am thankful for all of you.  If we never get another mention i'll be ok as long as I still have all of you. 

Seeing our members achieve amazing things like win races,  run multiple 100 mile races, run 200 mile races, become ranked and make USTF teams makes me feel legitimate... but I am thankful for all of you.  I don't give a damn if you come in first or last place or even finish at all.  I just care that you have fun, and if nobody I know ever wins another race or sets another record i'll be ok as long as I still have all of you.

We all share things in common.  Sure, we love running (obviously), we feel a desire to protect nature, we can't help but smile the dirtier we get, our heart skips a beat and we fall in love with life just a little bit more after cruising over some beautiful single track, and we laugh and pick ourselves up after gnarly wipeouts.... but it goes deeper than that.

The truth is what we are building here is more than just a team.  Its a group of friends, a family.  We cheer at each others achievements, we believe in each others dreams, we help each other in times of need.  Our bonds go beyond that big beautiful dirt playground, and lasts long after we have undone our laces.

Today when I close my eyes I see the same single track winding along a ridgeline, the sun at my back, the crisp taste of nature tickling my nose.  But you know what... i'm surrounded by all of you.

We are Trail WhippAsses and that is what I am thankful for today.