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    On Simple

    By Nick Triolo

    Simple is white rice and cream soda.

    Simple is Mario Rojas calling my family’s landline at eleven on a Sunday and wondering a) if I’m up yet, b) what my dad made for breakfast, and c) If I want to meet for a skate downtown.

    Simple is the smell of apple cinnamon pancakes left on the kitchen counter and a note from dad:

    "Make Every Day a Masterpiece."

    Simple is a childhood unmuddied by plans, by heartthrob or heartbreak, professional ambitions or self-doubt. No Google Calendars, no Facebook, no hour-by-hour corralling of life into lists and to-do’s. Coffee wasn’t part of this adolescent calculus, either, nor hangovers or attachments of any sort.

    If there was any dependency it was skating, regular ten to twelve hour binges. I’m speaking of inline skating, an activity people like me tuck under the moniker of “skating,” to dodge bullying skateboarders who hear inline and instantly lob derogatory slashes about one’s self-worth.

    Regardless, it was the nineties, I had frosted tips and Sugar Ray was king, so I’ll stand on eight wheels and call it what it was:


    Mario and I would rollerblade down to Main Street in our small town of Murphys, California with pockets heavy in allowance coin and candle wax, to slicken railing and curb. When hunger struck we’d pool change to buy cartons of white rice from Sun China and whatever two-liter bottle of pop was on sale—cream soda, always. We’d sit and poke chopsticks at our empty calories and guess the models of cars as they approached.

    White rice. Cream soda. Rollerblading. Simple.

    To grow up skating in Murphys you had no choice but to be creative. There was no endless cityscape to manifest your next trick, grind, or flip. It mandated invention, requiring you to think hard about moving through time and space, given limited opportunities. My high school mascot was the bullfrog; the town was that small.

    Here in bullfrog country we worked with what we had, like the time Andy Burke and I trespassed onto the high school’s rooftop and attempted to jump a terrifying gap between two buildings—a thirty foot fall and guaranteed paralysis if you failed. Andy was first to launch his BMX bike across and he made it, barely, a legend now immortalized despite serious trauma to the loins. I followed.

    Looking back, skating gifted me with eyes to view my external conditions with boundless possibility—to work with how things are, not as I would like them to be.

    Running affords similar vision. When looking at mountains and maps I’ll often revert back to skating’s no-frills approach to movement in a given and limited landscape: pump the legs and lean into the climb, up into forested gully to a big air at the summit, then grind along ridgeline for that drop-in, that halfpipe velocity, wind rushing adrenaline flailing return to solid ground.

    In running, as in skating, I’ve found play to be at the heart of what’s simple: a form of buoyancy found through such daily practices of visualization and creative body movement.

    “Busyness is the thief of intimacy.”

    For me it’s these simple things that also tend to amplify how busy our days have become. Living with intimate calm isn’t difficult, on its own, but it can sometimes feel like the hardest thing to embody.

    And yet I thrive on complexity. I excel when oscillating between naked breath and intricate problem solving. I pine for both—to sniff along singletrack, letting mind melt into the locomotion, then return home to wrap around the tectonic things, complexities of a mysterious planet and my niche among the fray. These two sensibilities feed one another and both require attention and presence. Mary Oliver said it best (she always does):

    “Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet emphatic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”

    To braid our lives with rituals of play, of simple movement calibrated by attention and joy is preparation for when the more complicated trials come tumbling through Main Street (read: current political climate). Then we’re better able to set down the rice, that bottle of pop, and take fierce action from a platform of equanimity, attentiveness, and calm.

    Simple, right?   

    Land of the People

     by Brett Farrell

    Several weeks ago, Donald Trump issued an executive order that threatens a great deal of land that has been protected as National Monuments- a break from the land conservation our nation has worked so hard to create.  

    This news made my plans with friend, David Herron to travel to the southwest a bit more serious. 

    We wanted to travel, to run and relax in the astounding areas of Arizona and Utah but with these threats we decided to travel to a spot on this National Monument hit list- The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

    The National Monument is a 1.9 million acre area with incredible landscape, geographical wonders, dinosaur fossil discoveries dating back 75 million years and some of the least light polluted night skies in the country.  

    Our minds were blown.

    As we traveled through beautiful landscapes and made our way through the Peekabo slot canyons it was hard to imagine that this land would ever be sold off.  It was easy to think that this amazing area of our country will stay protected, that nature will prevail but a lot of things have surprised me lately and I choose to not take it for granted.

    The executive order made me think more about public lands and the prioritizing of protecting areas over the idea of those looking to profit off of it. If I had to tell Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke one thing to defend this land what would it be? 

    And the answer I keep going back to is something I heard astrophysicist, Neil Degrasse Tyson say, "to leave the earth how nature intended it to be."  

    Because when I am camping at night in an area like Grand Staircase and there are just dirt roads, starry skies, and only the quiet sounds of the natural world I feel a little more like myself- more like how I think nature intended me to feel.  

    It is a state of being that is not focused on the self or the trivial issues and stresses of the day. It's where my perspective of my little spot in the world and universe becomes positioned properly- and as it actually is.

    And I cant help but think that if everyone lived a little closer to the natural world we would all be better off.


    Click here to let your voice be heard by submitting a comment to the Department of Interior regarding your thoughts on preserving many of our National Monuments.

    If you pledge to submit a comment online or mail your postcard to:

    U.S. Department of the Interior
    1849 C Street NW
    Washington, DC 20240

    we are giving you 15% off the Land of the People T-shirt with code "myvoice".



    The Burn

    The Tillamook Burn 50m & 50k Race Weekend

    Photos by Steven Mortinson

    Our first Runners of the Wild team event of the year was this past weekend in the Oregon Coastal Range. We got to meet and hang out with 23 Runners of the Wild from eight states and one province. And many more came out to volunteer.  
    Our next team events will be the Backcountry Rise races in the Mt. Margaret Backcountry north of Mt. St. Helens in Washington and the Stumpjump 50k in Chattanooga, TN.  



    Our custom race hats for the Tillamook Burn
    Our custom trucker hats for the Tillamook Burn with moisture wicking sweatband

    Lessons with Less

    from Callum Pinkney and Katherine Yager
    Photos by Callum Pinkney

    A common phrase when you do something bad ass like a cross continent road trip is, "I wish I had done that when I had the chance."  

    Callum Pinkney and Katherine Yager, a couple from Toronto, took that trip when they had the chance and lived five months on the road across America.

    They sold some stuff, put some in storage, moved out of their apartment and hit the road in a Roadtrek Camper Van.  

    They lived just a sliding van door away from the outdoors at any given moment, shared meals over candlelight in tight quarters every night and met awesome people (including Runners of the Wild) around the country.

    Here is a peek into their life on the road and the lessons they learned.

    What were the steps that led you to living in a van?

    Callum: This idea was talked about in vague non-commital terms for years. A year or so before our wedding, we started the process to buy a condo. We were in a real estate agent’s office one night with a whole list of things we had to do and fees we would have to pay and things started to get really overwhelming.

    On the way home we realized that if we bought a condo, the longest we would be able to go away, would be a month. We decided that that wasn’t what we wanted and from then on the trip went from something that always was talked about in passing to a real plan of how we would be able to do this.

    We think what made us really go for it was the idea that we had to do the things we REALLY wanted, and not say “Oh, when we get older, we will do that!”. You never know what is coming around the corner, and we didn’t want to turn 60 and be slumped on the couch going “We should have done that when we had the time.” Today is the perfect time to grab a hold of your dreams. 

    What did you learn about living without much stuff?

    Callum: It really frees you, you know? Removing things from your possession creates not only physical freedom, but a mental freedom. I worry less about whether I have that tech or gear, and more about what I want to do. Generally I could bring less camera gear on a run or hike, and focus more on moments and the actual experience of living out of a van in various state and National parks. 

    Katherine: That there's really very little that you actually "need" and there was very little that we missed. Our van being really small was a great excuse to not buy any stuff and instead we focused our time on experiences. 

    What was the biggest surprise of living out of a van for as long as you did?

    Katherine:  I think the biggest surprise was what life is like when you’re not “busy” all the time and don’t have plans. And also how resistant people are to you not having a plan. When we left we had a rough route that we were going to go but no timeline of when we would get anywhere. That meant that we never made plans more than a week out. If we wanted to see something/do, we were free to go do it. It was extremely freeing! I think it's a good lesson that when you're "busy" all the time, you won't get the opportunity to run through Zion National Park in the middle of the week or have picnics on the beach! 

    Tell us about the people you met along the way.

     Callum: We met a bunch of runners from all different backgrounds, from the Runners of the Wild in Portland, to some new amazing friends Krystin and Karl in Phoenix. We met them via another Runner of the Wild, Robbie. Katherine, Robbie and Krystin ran the San Tan Scramble 50k together just outside Phoenix. We hope they come to visit us soon in Toronto and we can return the favour. And Pat Fuller in Mobile, Alabama.

    We met up with Sawna in LA. She gave us an epic tour of the Hollywood sign and the endless trails you can get lost on around it. That was probably one of my favourite runs of the entire trip. It was so wild to be in the urban jungle and in five minutes you are on a trail with no one around, overlooking the city. 

    Callum: Being able to connect with people in person and make friends who actually live in the city we are visiting was the reason we joined Runners of the Wild. We knew that’d we taking on this trip and were hoping that other runners would be open to showing us their hometowns (or adopted-hometowns).

    From Colorado, to Portland, Arizona, California, Alabama, there were amazing things to see. The Portland crew took us out to Bingo at a crazy Portland bar, and Sawna introduced us to the most amazing ice-cream/coffee after we hammered out a trail run with her. Robbie took us out to a cool group trail run at night around Phoenix; there were about 40 runners with headlamps just chasing each other through this open trail that backed onto a zoo. It was kind of wild, and nothing like we had done before. 

    Callum and Katherine are back home in Toronto. Callum is back to his business as a wedding photographer and you can see more of the photos from their trip on his blog here.

    The Goonies Trail Classic


    In a time where on-demand and streaming nearly unlimited media didn’t exist, the Goonies VHS tape was one of the few movies my family owned and that meant I watched it a lot.  I know the characters, the scenes, and can recite it line by line.  

    The thought of traveling the coast with some adventure pals on foot while taking in the sights from the film is exactly why I train.  Yes, I love being in shape and racing but really at any given time I want to, without hesitation, be able to say “yes” when presented with a chance to experience something like this.


    Having friends and teammates to run a 33 mile Goonies themed adventure run with is pretty amazing.   For an entire day we were Goonies, and it was awesome. Goonies stick together, Goonies stay positive even in the most stressful circumstances, and Goonies embrace adventure and the magic of possibility.  This rings true for my fellow Runners of the Wild, who continue to inspire each other with endless amounts of grit and enthusiasm for life and all it has to offer; practicing to achieve their own independent goals as well as the goals of this community. Sticking together, staying positive, saying yes to adventure, and throwing in a little truffle shuffle every now and then for good measure.

    - Larissa

    It is rare to get uninterrupted time with another human these days.  There are so many distractions taking our attention away from really getting to know someone. 

    The long run changes that. 

    Multiple hours, working together, chasing a common goal void of the bombardment of constant stimulus allows me to connect on a much deeper level with someone. It is what I have come to enjoy most about these adventures.

    Bombing down the muddy trail yelling “Slick Shoes!” and “Goonies Never Say Die” is something that will bring a smile to my face for years to come.


    Doing a point-to-point is the way to go. It makes it a TRUE adventure. There were so many unknowns going into it: not sure of the actual distance, not sure where we could get aid, not sure if it all connected up, but we were determined and we were happy.

    Other than the constraints of daylight, there was no clock to chase, no course record to aim for. It was just frolicking along, laughing, huddling together, stuffing our faces with potato chips and doing what we do best; moving along, fast, slow, and in-between, from point A to point B on whatever path would takes us there.


    It is a natural occurrence to develop a bond with someone you spend an extensive amount of time with. But the bond that forms during a run, navigating the unknown - both people and the wild - is special. It isn't just a common past time or a hobby, it's the shared experience of joy and struggle. I'm closest to the people with whom I adventure. Openness and vulnerability are easy when the mind and body are focused on the trail ahead. 


    Going into this, I assumed that each of us five runners doing this Goonies run were fairly seasoned ultra-runners. When Larissa admitted this was her first attempt at an ultra, even her first attempt of going over 20 miles, it really gave us all an exciting mission: get Larissa through to the end!

    Running side by side with her at mile 20-something, she told me how inspiring the other four of us were to her, but I had to admit to her that she was way more of an inspiration to us.

    Because making the choice to push your boundaries far beyond anything you've ever attempted before takes BIG GUTS. No matter what the distance is.

    She ended up running 13 miles farther than she had ever run before. So big props to Larissa!


    Five Runners of the Wild -Larissa, Travis, Jameson, Jordan and Steven (behind the lens) ran 33 miles from the Goonies jailhouse in Astoria, Oregon to Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, OR.

    They dug up old childhood dreams of adventure, bonded hard over the shared experience and consumed a large quantity of Baby Ruth's.

    Runners of the Wild never die.