Skimo Co

8/15/2023 Introducing Local Runners - A Series: Christine Casady

The "Introducing Local Runners" series is a fun way to see who is doing what on local trails and in the mountains. I have been fortunate to have shared many miles of singletrack with talented members of the mountain running community, both near and far, and they have been kind enough to sit down with me to chat about their love of the sport. This series asks various questions about how they got started, their future goals, and more. We will highlight a new runner regularly, so be sure to check back. First up is East Coast transplant and lover of mountains, Christine Casady, in a Q&A with SkyRun staffer, Jeremy Leonhardt.

Christine and I met at the Mt Olympus trailhead on Wasatch Blvd. The morning was overcast, and the temps were cool. We introduced ourselves and headed uphill and north on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST). We ran at a conversational pace and noted how pretty it was, with thousands of yellow balsamroot flowers dotting the hillsides. We reached the far end of the trail, made a quick U-turn, and headed back the way we came. After a few more miles, we returned to the parking lot for an easy 6 miles with 1700' of elevation gain.

Route and elevation profile
Route and elevation profile

How did you get into running?

Peer pressure. (laughs) I ran at the gym for exercise, maybe a mile at a time on the treadmill, then I would work out. Someone told me about a group at Wissahickon Park in Pennsylvania called Extreme at Valley Green. We would run a mile on trails and do a workout circuit. Then run another mile and dog sled (partner-up to pull partner via resistance bands) up a hill while running. I got to experience camaraderie, which I hadn't had before, which was awesome. That led to running a half marathon, followed by the trainer (Dan Goldstein) from the class telling me he wanted me to run 15 miles the following weekend. I couldn't help but think "why" because all I wanted to do was celebrate what I had just accomplished, it pissed me off. But the following weekend, I went out to run my 15 miles and bumped into Dan, who asked me what I was doing there. I told him I was running the 15 miles he suggested, and he said he didn't think I would do it. As I finished the 15 miles, Dan applauded me publicly on the sidelines. My heart felt full, and that's how it went, someone pushing me, then celebrating me. It wasn't the finish, but the community and the encouragement, which was rewarding. It was always like that.

What type of runner are you?

I am a MUT (Mountain, Ultra, and Trail) runner.

What is your favorite trail shoe?

Having been on the Altra Red Team for seven years, I'm an Altra person and have been for a long time. Right now, it's the Mont Blanc Boa. It fits like a glove.

Racing at the Squaw Peak 50 Mile Trail Run
Photo Credit: Karen Mitchell

In the grand scheme of things, why do you run?

I know that I'm most at ease with myself when I'm running. When I'm not moving, and I'm not running, it's like a piece of my life has been cut away. It's not just the running but the culture, the community, health, and lifestyle. It's adrenaline and mindset; it's everything—the whole package.

Do you have a recent running highlight?

I recently took a friend out for her first trail run. She'd wanted to try trail running, but her friend group isn't into that, so she reached out and asked me to take her, and I was happy to oblige. She wanted to be pushed and mentioned at one point that her legs were burning, I had to let her know that I wasn't pushing her, but the mountain was, and she finished the day wanting more. The feeling I got from that run, and the joy and inspiration she took out of it, was almost the equivalent I felt from finishing a race. But less tired. (Laughs)

What is a running low you've experienced?

Just like life, running has its highs and lows. It ebbs and flows. I've had injuries, and the thing with injuries is, they aren't lows; they're setbacks. You know that you are going to recover; it just takes time. Adjusting to age and changes in the body can be difficult; that's the tough one.

Navigating talus slopes en route to Sunset Peak in the Wasatch

Do you have a favorite race?

CCC (a 100k race in Chamonix, Fr). I thought it was great to have so many like-minded people worldwide in one place. No matter what language they spoke, their political beliefs, or the religion they believed in, we were all there for the same reason. I just thought that was so cool.


What do you do to cross-train?

(Laughs) Not much. I go to the gym twice a week, snowboard a couple of times a week in the winter, and picked up Splitboarding last season, but I continue running and doing some yoga. I do bike, but only if I'm injured.

What do you think about when out running?

If I can help it, nothing. If I'm running on the road, I tend to think about whatever is happening in my life. A problem I might have, whatever I have to do next, a dialogue that I may want to have with someone but can't figure out how. I prefer running in places where I'm thinking about what's in front of me, allowing me to be present and in the moment. When I'm mountain running, it's easier to do that.

All smiles after her first ascent of Box Elder Peak

You had a DNF at the Wasatch 100 in 2022. What did you learn from that?

Because of changing to a plant-based diet, I learned I could no longer eat certain foods. I carried my nutrition but made poor food and beverage choices at an aid station, had severe nausea, and dropped at Brighton. I overcame that pretty quickly, though. I was down for a day, or day and a half, and was done feeling that. I realized I had done the best that I could. I felt fine, my legs were fresh, and I was told to find another 100-miler because I was ready. But 100-mile races take a crew, and they usually involve travel, which can be a lot. I did have another race lined up, a 50k, and planned to run that and finish the year strong. I had an issue with my foot, so I opted out to stay healthy.

What food do you crave at the end of a long run?

Soup. Always. I think it's because of the salt. Even if it's summer, I want a big bowl of soup. Smoothies, popsicles, and watermelon are good choices if it's hot.


Christine is mending an injured foot and enjoying the freedom of running without the pressure of being tethered to any upcoming races. Thank you for the run and for taking the time to sit down for an interview! Twice!


Follow Christine on Instagram @trailhugger or her adventures on Strava.


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