#TeamMontane: Why we run

Long distance running seems more popular than ever. We asked the extended Montane team why they love to run.

For the runner’s high, freedom, fresh air and the fun of it! Alongside engineering lightweight, and breathable kit for outdoor adventures, many of the people who make great things happen at Montane are also BIG running fans. We know how important running can be to both our physical and mental health and we’re eager to spread the word so more people can reap the rewards for themselves…

Alyssa Wendt, #TeamMontane Ultra Running athlete 

Dear running– ah, we’ve had a complicated relationship, haven’t we?  We started out on bad terms. You were used as a tool for punishment in team sports growing up. But over time, I realized that, well, I sort of liked you. In fact, I liked you so much that I decided to leave my first love, volleyball, to pursue a university running scholarship. Those four years, you pushed me harder than I thought I was capable of, introduced me to lifelong friends, carried me to some amazing places, and broke me down on more than one occasion. 

Our relationship looks a lot different now. We are less focused on paces and road races, but now find ourselves enjoying slower miles on dirt trails and over high mountain passes. You’ve become a celebration of what my body can do, you have nurtured my curiosity to explore, built and rebuilt my community, and put me together again. Thanks running. You’ve made me a better person and I have a good feeling our best years are yet to come. 

running in the rocky mountains

Simon Roberts, #TeamMontane Ultra Running athlete 

Running came into my life in my mid-twenties. I will always remember my first run in the Brecon Beacons. The weather was miserable, my fitness was miserable. This didn’t stop me falling for mountain running though. I was hooked! The challenge, the adventure, the mud, was enough to keep me going back for more. 

I love the brief escape from normal life, the day job, and any responsibilities. I love getting muddy and getting exposed to the elements, whether it’s getting wrapped up to take on the winter days or if it’s stripping down for a sweaty run in the sun! There’s nothing like getting stuck into some big hills, the graft of getting to the top and then hammering it all the way down until you can’t feel your legs! It's great! 

Richard Hanley, Montane Marketing Graphic Designer

I picked up running properly in my early 30s via training for the Great North Run. I had run it 10 years earlier but it never gripped me then like it did this time around. I didn’t want to waste all the effort I put in and joined my local running club. It wasn’t as daunting as first feared and one race led to another, chasing PBs. It was there I discovered fell and trail running; it was different, it was less focussed on times and more of being out in open spaces. Less traffic, less people but more stunning landscapes.

I still run road races and trails but during lockdown I really found out how running helped me mentally and why I love it. I realised how it helped me blow off steam, get out of a mood or relieve some stress. If I could no longer run, I would have to replace it with something similar but I love the simplicity of running, putting on a pair of shorts and lacing up my trainers. It’s something I can do wherever I go and, when packing for any travels these days, trainers are the first thing in my bag!

Howard Dracup, #TeamMontane Ultra Running Athlete

I love to run because it takes me to new places, it’s my escape from day to day life. When I run, I usually don't have to think about anything more than running from A to B! So it’s about that element of simplicity. More often than not, I run in the mountains so running takes me to some pretty awesome, beautiful places all over the world!

When on the long run in the mountains, I feel satisfied and fulfilled when I occasionally take a look back over my shoulder and see all the peaks I have tagged and they are so far away! It brings a sense of achievement!

Victoria Thompson, #TeamMontane Ultra Running Athlete

As a child, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I have vivid memories of running around in the field at the end of my street, charging up the hillocks and climbing all the trees with my siblings! 

Nowadays, long-distance, mountain running is a way for me to feed my explorative side. I take enjoyment from planning routes over paths that I may or may not have been before. When I’m physically out, I enjoy the feeling of moving efficiently through the hills and seeing how far my body can take me. I like linking back-to-back days of running with a camp (particularly in good weather)! The total immersion in nature creates space for me to reflect and relax. 

Kay O’Toole, Montane Office Manager

Running for me started at a very early age, from being a member of an athletics club until my early twenties and then deciding, as my speed slowed down, that longer distances might be the alternative. I have never looked back.

Running is a way to keep your sanity in an ever more crazy, busy world. From running with the company of friends, chatting and passing the miles away, to putting on headphones and running solo -  I love them both in equal measure! Having spent most of the last 18 months injured, I’m finally back out again and loving it as always, even though it’s a struggle being so unfit. I’m sure it will get easier with time. For me the longer the distance the better, there is nothing like the feeling of pushing yourself to the limit to finish a race. These days, being older and knowing my running time left is probably quite short, I will make the most of it and take part in as many challenges as I can.

James Krasucki, Montane Equipment Designer  

I’ve run since I was at school but really got into it at university. For me, this meant putting in big mileage weeks and chasing faster times. It also opened up new ways to adventure like fastpacking and ultra distances, and really changed my mindset for how to cover ground in the mountains (fast and light). I’ve had so many experiences and seen so many places that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t run. 

Nowadays, I run for the consistency it gives me in my life and the reward of working to be better, even if it’s often 1 step forwards, 2 steps back! I think that the solitude running gives you and time away from the noise of life is really hard to beat - your brain goes into autopilot and I often solve problems on a run too. Plus, it feels great and empowering to run and get fit!

Galen Reynolds, #TeamMontane Ultra Running Athlete

Running makes the rest of my day better. My family can attest. It's an odd spot to be in, given I've disliked running for more of my life than I've liked it. In my late 20s, I defaulted to trail running when looking for a challenge that would motivate me to start exercising. I settled on UTMB. During that journey, something changed - the dread of running faded and was replaced by cautious enthusiasm.

Today I still have trouble putting into words the impact running has on my life. Being in the mountains, high up in remote areas, the sense of being in nature and pure adventure builds enough zeal to get me through at least one night of sick kids being up all night. Short runs have a great way of dealing with work or life issues, allowing me to zoom out and zoom in, helping put things in perspective or not think of anything at all. Reset. Recentre. 

Anna Pitman, Montane Corporate Social Responsibility Manager

Having run sporadically for many years, in 2015, I signed up to my first organised race with my husband – the Kielder 10k – as a way to get fit before a trekking holiday in the Himalayas. Running has remained a constant in my life since then, completing a few half marathons with friends and alone, in sunshine and in pouring rain, in my late twenties. These days I run to clear my head and boost my mood, even if it feels like a struggle at the time! I like how accessible running is, how it helps you to see the seasons change in the UK, and to explore new areas when I’m away on holiday.

Liam Steinbeck, Montane Materials Manager

Looking for a simple time-effective way to increase fitness during the week and enable me to cover more ground in the hills faster on the weekend, I took to running. Similar to many runners it quickly became an obsession of its own, and before long the list of interesting running projects grew. With a little more experience, I found myself more interested in bigger distances, especially events where the outcome is uncertain, impossible to cover the distance on any training run and ultimately learn something about myself.

I seek to find new challenges, a structured plan that I control and where success is largely determined by commitment, training, problem-solving during the event and managing oneself. Working in an office environment I long for the feeling of physical exhaustion. Running has become an integral part of my life and something I wish I had found sooner. I would encourage everyone to see if it works for them!

Looking for more running inspiration?

Hear from more of our inspiring team of runners and get motivated for upcoming running challenges with this handy #TeamMontane tips. For those eager but not sure where to begin, discover our full range of running clothing and equipment to get started. 

If you’re an avid runner seeking an inspiring new running challenge, why not try the Outside Hope Valley Round? Alternatively, we have insightful guides for Jack’s Rake in the Lake District, as well as Loch Coruisk in Scotland