9/27/2023 Introducing Local Runners - A Series: Tanner Singleton
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 questions about how they got started, their future goals, and more. We will highlight a new runner regularly, so be sure to check back. Next up is Salt Lake native Tanner Singleton, in a Q&A with SkyRun staffer, Jeremy Leonhardt.
Tanner and I met at the Grandeur Peak trailhead just off I-215 and Parley's Canyon at 7 a.m. on a sunny summer morning. It was early, and a slight breeze kept things cool. We ran a lollipop route that took us south on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, up a steep gully, and down to the Pipeline Trail. Then, out to the city overlook and back to the parking lot just in time to catch the crowds headed up to test their meddle on Grandeur's West Climb.
What got you into running?
Initially, it was exercising for health and had nothing to do with running. It was a chance to eat more candy. (Laughs) My dad is a runner, so I would join him for two or three miles after a workout, and I enjoyed the challenge. I soon found myself going faster, staying out longer, and running further. I saw it as an opportunity to challenge myself and see what I could accomplish.
What do you think about the local running community?
I like it. There are a lot of runners, and everyone is pretty friendly. I think it's an excellent community. There seems to be a group for every pace or style you want. If you're into running big mountains, a group wants to run big mountains. If you want to run fast and flat, there's a group for that. You get it all, and it's easy to find people to do like-minded activities with and to get inspiration from.
What type of runner are you?
I always thought I was a long-distance runner. Somewhere in the 100k to 100-mile range. I've been enjoying faster objectives, however. I ran the Antelope Island 25k, which is relatively flat and has somewhere around 1500ft of gain. It's 8 miles up and 8 miles back, and it was fun. I enjoy putting a belt on with a flask and a couple of gels, going out, and that's your race. I may begin to categorize myself as a shorter-distance runner who also likes to dabble in longer distances.
Do you have a favorite race?
It's no longer around, but Twisted Fork was one of my favorite races. It was a 68k up in Park City and the first trail race I'd ever run. It looped the "Flying Dog" trails, then went to Jeremy Ranch for a second loop toward Big Mountain and the Great Western trail. It was such a great race. I believe they lost permitting for it. Some of it was on private land they could no longer access, so they shut it down. That's a race I would run every year if it were still on.
Do you have a running highlight you'd like to share?
There have been many great things that have resulted from running. I couldn't narrow it down to something I would pinpoint as a highlight. I feel that for me personal improvement is something to focus on. There hasn't been a highlight because I'm continually improving and getting better, so there's always something to look forward to. I've never looked back and thought, "That was my highlight." I'm always looking ahead as my highlight has yet to come.
How about a running low?
The doctors thought I had a nasty ear infection about three years ago. It caused severe dizziness and prevented me from standing up for about a week. That finally cleared, and I had no issues for almost two years. Then, last year, the symptoms returned and worsened through the summer, culminating with a DNF at the Wasatch 100. I didn't think I was ever going to be able to run or race again. I was finally diagnosed with Ménière's disease and, with proper meds, haven't had any severe symptoms since.
Less technical and more runnable. Honestly, I enjoy running in the foothills. You can get as much climbing in as you want or keep it flat and chill. I love the area behind the Capitol, over to City Creek, and on to Twin Peaks. Those are some of my favorite trails. You can link everything together quickly and get up to the marathon distance if you want. I would be a year-round foothills guy if it didn't get so stupid hot in summer.
When you started running, was it on trails?
No. I started running on the Jordan River Parkway, a paved path. I got my trail introduction when I moved to the Avenues neighborhood next to downtown. The trail access was right there and was easier on the body. Running on roads proved to be hard on me, and I had issues with my knees. My body had much less stress once I moved close and had easy access to trails.
You recently paced a friend at the Wasatch 100. What was your strategy?
My goal was to keep his calorie intake consistent. It was pretty hot, and I knew eating gels would be hard to stomach, so I was mostly encouraging him to drink liquid calories. I also did my best to try and distract him with any topic that wasn't running-related so he wasn't constantly thinking about running while he was running. That was to take his mind off what he was doing to help him get into the flow while encouraging him to hydrate and take in calories.
What do you do to cross-train
I started biking earlier this year to help with minor tendinopathy in my right hamstring. I enjoyed it and spent most of my summer on the bike, but I'm coming full circle back to running. I also do a bit of Nordic skiing in the winter.
What food do you crave at the end of a long run?
It's usually never food but nearly always soda. I very rarely crave food after a long effort. It's cold water and an icy can of Coke.
Coffee or tea?
Preferred time of day to run?
I'm all over the place. I don't have a set time. If I do a workout, it will be in the afternoon. For my long runs, I try to start early to beat the heat and enjoy the rest of the day ahead. If I had to choose, I'd say mornings.
Not really. The only goal right now is to have fun, improve, and enjoy the process.
Tanner is scheduled to attempt his second hundred miler, the Javelina Jundred, at the end of October.