My schedule of late has taken a dramatic turn, and for the better from my perspective. I’m taking on a new career path that will hopefully lead to something bigger in the long run. January 31st was my last official day at Bend Research where I’ve been for the past 8 years. Don’t get me wrong, I was sad to leave such a great place of employment with great people to work with, a predictable schedule, and steady pay for something a little less sure.
Going back several months, probably years, I’d started to really enjoy the running part of my life and I began to devote more and more time to the “hobby” rather than the “career”. It had been my goal to figure out a way to make the hobby pay for a decent way of life and turn it into a career. Not the easiest task when we’re talking about the constraints already in place; I have to stay in Bend, I’m only half-fast, my strengths are trail running, not the track, and I have a family I need to help support.
I set about trying to use my engineering brain to figure out how this could be done and I had some good luck along the way to help out. The relative growth of trail running in the U.S. has definitely had an impact on how much an elite runner can make running trails. That coupled with several generous sponsorships from great companies like Montrail, Mountain Hardwear, Hammer Nutrition, and Ryders Eyewear that are interested in seeing trail running continue to grow and attract great elite athletes has helped push me in the right direction. The tipping point came in November when Teague Hatfield, owner of the local running store Footzone, offered me a job that I couldn’t refuse. As a co-footwear buyer, inventory manager, and community running development guy I hope to have a positive affect on the local running community.
As I hope many of you know, aside from really enjoying the racing that I do and beating the best guys in the sport, as equally important to me is running development. That’s the real reason why I’m sitting where I am today with my hobby now my career. I’m a shoe geek (see pic, 95+ pairs) and a running geek (obviously). I want to see the sport of running grow, in particular the sport of trail running continue to grow, for youth to be impacted as I have been through great coaches, mentors, and athletes all progressing the sport in an upward and positive direction. There is no other sport in the world like running where equipment limitations are not an issue, anyone can do it, slow or fast, and it can tie your mind to your body like no other sport.
The sponsors I have helping me and the Footzone are allowing me to turn my hobby into a greater career. All these pieces have fallen into place so that I can make it work financially and emotionally. I’m still racing to promote and support trail running (and win races obviously). I’m working on the local running scene through the Zone and doing some personal coaching through Rebound Sports Performance Lab to help others improve their performance. All toward one goal:
Running geeks and shoe geeks uniting as one.