In a recent post, we talked about the influence social media has on our running. Sometimes it helps us push farther than we think we can, or helps us feel motivated to get out the door on a day when we’d rather park it on the couch and watch the latest episode of our favorite show. Sometimes, though, it discourages us. So, in the age of social media, we need to choose who we pay attention to wisely. When it comes to trail and ultrarunning, these seven influencers are worth a follow.
While the elite trail ultra runner is often depicted on her Instagram account with an exuberant, toothy grin, if you’ve ever met her in person, you know it’s authentic. And her photos display a balanced and intentional life: She trains hard (or plays, rather) in the Swedish mountains, works the land on her small off-grid farm, bakes delicious-looking food, practices yoga regularly, skis and, in general, advocates for an environmentally-supportive lifestyle. She and her mountain-athlete super-star of a boyfriend, Kilian Jornet, live mostly off grid. Oh, and her book, “Sky Running: Finding strength, happiness and balance in your running” just came out in March 2018.
Gallagher made a huge splash in the international trail ultrarunning community when she won the Leadville Trail 100 in 2016 with the second fastest time ever. And she’s continued to run strong ever since. But we didn’t choose her because of her running exactly. Gallagher is effectively using her platform as a global athlete to push environmental policy and act as an activist for everyone in the outdoor space. When she’s not training, she spends her time pushing for the preservation of public lands and wild places.
Gates has spent most of his life traveling the world running and taking pictures and then later writing about the experiences. He rarely takes the easy route and tackles many of his travels solo. It is his unconventional lifestyle and the way he describes it that make Gates both an inspiration for us to travel more and someone well worth a social media follow.
Ever since this short film came out in 2017, Mirna has been gaining popularity. She’s an ultrarunner and, at about 250 pounds, is running proof that size doesn’t always dictate health. There’s a growing body of research that some people just can’t dip their BMI into the “healthy” range and that, for one reason or another, they simply have to cope with obesity. But Valerio, it seems, is doing far more than coping; she’s thriving and showing the rest of the world that health and happiness and fitness is entirely possible, no matter your size.
If you’re looking for ultrarunning wisdom and zen-like motivation to tackle big distances, this is not the place for you. If, however, you want to make fun of the whole ordeal and experience adventure on the most guttural level, then Shelton’s feed is for you.
The former Olympic Marathon team member turned pro ultra trail runner has a balanced and relatable Instagram feed. She posts pictures of her runs, her dog, family, nutrition, work and travel. She sprinkles in subtle words of wisdom that she uses in her own life and offers tips for combating ailments that come along with training and aging. At 44 and running strong, Lewy-Boulet is indeed an inspiration that we can all go fearlessly after our dreams.
Miller’s posts are bright, and his stoke is high. He talks about real life with a contagious curiosity and an obvious interest in a more profound experience. He is thoughtful and kind, and If nothing else, his Insta feed is almost guaranteed to get you excited about running trails and making friends.