By Sage Canaday
I’ve been training and racing year-round for 15 years. In the last year and a half I’ve been competing as a professional Mountain-Ultra-Trail Runner, and in that short time have become fascinated with the culture, community and history of this sport. I’ve already learned a great deal from long-time ambassadors such as Buzz Burrell and Scott McCoubrey, whose trail running roots go back to before I was even born. Guys like these, as well as super-star ultra runners like Scott Jurek (amongst many others) have helped pave the way for what the sport is today. I greatly respect and appreciate these individuals’ contributions to US ultra-trail running, and their stories of the past have provided me with context to understand how the sport is evolving now.
I believe that the sport has recently undergone some dynamic changes. A new kind of runner has emerged … a type of runner that will break course records, compete internationally, and rely heavily on support from sponsors as well as prize money from races. This is what I call “the rise of the MUT Runner”. What is this person’s background, and what are the concerns and benefits of this development?