Friday, March 21, 2014

Synchroblog: ultraVT

Here we go!

How do you describe ultraVT to a stranger?
We are a group of students (and alumni), based in Blacksburg, who get together to enjoy the trails, kick each other's asses in workouts, and just have fun together. We enjoy easy runs, hard workouts, and racing each other every so often. 

When did you get involved with ultraVT?
From the beginning! Several students through the past 15 years or so complete ultras while at the school. I got into them separately, thanks to Eric Grossman, and after my first Holiday Lake 50k in 2012, I notices some guys around campus wearing the same race shirt. I started running regularly with the triathlon club, of which they were a part, and after some time we decided that there was enough interest at the school to branch off and establish our own team/club. Rudy and I put in the grunt work then, getting sponsors, doing promotion, etc. to get a good membership base and we just keep growing!

How do you see yourself within ultraVT?
Organizationally, I handle sponsors, orders, work on marketing/publicity like interviews, and usually manage trip logistics. I try to be the person with an answer to any question though. I've been at this for nearly 4 years now, and I love helping out the people just getting started since I've likely been through whatever they are working through right now. Jumping into ultrarunning definitely has a learning curve from high school cross country!

What's your favorite aspect of ultraVT?
Definitely the friendships.  We can push each other through a rough training run, and then get back to town and relax over a beer. We've all spent enough time together that our friendships are not simply running anymore.

What's your favorite trail run in the blacksburg vicinity?
Now that is a tricky question; everything has different merits.  Most likely either Dragon's Tooth or Butt Mountain.  I love Dragon's tooth because you push hard, go hand over foot briefly, take some risks, and you're done in <55 minutes.  Butt Mountain is really a classic Western-style run.  It is simple, uphill 5.5 miles to the top, check out the view, then turn around and run back down.  With brief tangents you go past both the Cascades falls and Barney's Wall.  

Any secrets you'd like to share?
London Underground has the best day-after-race breakfast in town.

Favorite post-race meal?
Curry! Or if I'm feeling lazy, steak & guac burrito (quesarito)

What do you want for ultraVT five years from now?
In five years, everyone currently involved should be graduated.  That time is when we will know if the team is established and here to stay.  I hope it has grown from its current state, and spread out even.  We are in an exciting time for mountain running and young people.  Sterling College followed us with their own ultrarunning team (that is fully endorsed by the school) two years after we established ultraVT, and with the newly established Collegiate Mountain Running Championship, I would not be surprised to see ultrarunning follow suit in the near future. I would love for Virginia Tech to be driving force in that level of competition.

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