Today’s guest is not only a runner but also directs several different races.
I know just enough about race directing to see that it’s a massive undertaking and I am excited to hear all about what makes his races unique.
Let’s get this conversation started as I go a few easy miles with Trent Swanson.
Trent Swanson has a Thanksgiving tradition of playing a yearly game of football with family and friends.
A close friend gave Trent a reality check when he said that he still had a good throwing arm, but he couldn’t run at all.
The very next week, Trent met up with his friend and went for his very first run.
They did the Galloway method and Trent was admittedly dying at the end.
Trent wasn’t deterred and wanted to go for another run just a couple of days later.
Following the second run, his friend looked over and said, “You’re a runner.”
Trent has been consistently running since that November of 2011 when he became a runner.
The Distance Ladder
Trent had aspirations to run a race and logically planned to start with a 10k.
His friend had other ideas when he suggested Trent go straight to a half-marathon.
Trent trained for and completed his first two half-marathons within two months.
His brother was the next person to suggest a race distance to Trent and this time it was a marathon.
Trent and his brother chose a race in Colorado in the fall of 2012.
Running his first marathon at high altitude made for some extra challenges, but he still managed to cross the finish line.
That first year of running along with every year thereafter taught Trent that you never know how running will change your life.
Love At First Trail Mile
The second Trent stepped onto the trails for a run, he was hooked.
Trails struck a different chord for him due to a variety of reasons.
He loved that there was less of a focus on pace and he was able to enjoy his surroundings.
Trent is fortunate to have a plethora of trails nearby to train and race on.
Though he would love to introduce all runners to the trails he understands there isn’t always easy access.
Trent encourages all runners to make the best of what is in their backyard.
Races With A Mission
Algonquin Ultra’s mission is to promote, expand, and improve trails across Delmarva through ultra-distance running events.
The organization is a non-profit that is continuously working to get more people involved in running.
In the beginning, Trent never envisioned what the organization would eventually grow into.
It all started when he decided to put together a half-marathon for fun.
His first race had about a dozen people participating.
After getting lost on a local trail and running his first unofficial ultra, Trent got an idea.
In 2017, the Algonquin 50k was born.
The race is now in its seventh year and typically sells out in under an hour.
Hard To Choose A Favorite
The three most popular races that Algonquin Ultras puts on are Duc100k, The Tuckahoe 25k, and Pemberton 24.
Trent compares the races to his kids, in that it’s impossible to choose a favorite.
The Pemberton 24 has a backyard ultra format.
For 24 hours, runners have the opportunity to run one 5k per hour.
The participants aren’t required to run them all, but the maximum they can run is 24.
Team and solo categories are offered and there is a point system that helps determine the winner(s).
Trent is anxiously awaiting the year there is a tie so that he can enact his tie-breaking spring of 0.6 miles to determine the winner.
Variety Is The Spice Of Races
The Tuckahoe 25k half ultra marathon is in its 5th year.
It takes place in November and features rolling hills.
The Delmarva Ultra Challenge (DUC) 100k trail race started 2 years after the first Algonquin race.
The idea for the race first began when a friend suggested to Trent that he should hold a 50k before the 50k.
Runners must qualify to run the race by completing a 50-mile race along with having night running experience.
The field is limited to only 30 runners.
The first 50k is held on a Friday night after packet pickup at an undisclosed location that even the runners won’t know about.
Each year the course changes to keep the participants on their toes.
An All-Encompassing Hobby
Race directing is full of challenges that are constantly changing and evolving.
Trent has a full-time job that is separate from race directing.
He views being a race director as an all-encompassing hobby that he truly loves.
His biggest piece of advice to participants running a race is to ask questions more than a week out from the race.
Oftentimes it is harder to make changes once it’s race week.
The hardest part of the job in his viewpoint is having to pull people from the race for not making the cutoffs.
Trent continues to run races both because he enjoys running and because he can always learn what to do and what not to do.
His advice for continuing to develop as a race director is to run the races that others put on.
Mentioned In This Article:
- Algonquin Ultras
- Algonquin 50k (Instagram)
- The Algonquin 50k (Twitter)
- Algonquin Ultras (Facebook Group)
Stay connected with Trent Swanson by following him on Facebook.
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