Sid Garza Hillman Shares Why Ultra Running is for Normal People

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My guest today is someone that has been in the running world from various angles over the years.

His most recent book, Ultra Running for Normal People, shares stories and lessons learned on the trails both as a runner and a race director.

I am looking forward to going a few easy miles today with Sid Garza Hillman.

Sid Garza Hillman

Recreational Runner

Sid Garza Hillman ran recreationally long before he ever got serious about the sport.

In his 20’s he ran a 10k and at age 38 he ran his first half marathon.

He never stuck with the sport prior to finding trail running.

When Sid turned 40 he thought that maybe he would try a marathon.

At age 46, Sid ran his first marathon and even after crossing the finish line he wasn’t hooked.

Shortly after completing his first full, he did his first trail run.

Sid found what he had been missing in the sport and was immediately hooked.

Once trail running entered his life, his entire viewpoint on running dramatically changed.

I Wonder if I Could

One year after completing his first marathon, Sid crossed the finish line of his first ultra-marathon.

Before signing up for an ultra, he wondered what was possible.

The worst-case scenario is that it wouldn’t work out.

Sid signed up for a 50-mile trail race and completed a 50k in preparation for the 50-miler.

He found that he enjoys technical trails and feels like an animal when running in the wilderness.

The 50-mile race turned out great, but it didn’t start as well.

Sid had a lot of anxiety and fear going into the race but ultimately settled down as the miles clicked off.

The lessons he has learned on the trails over the years have directly translated into other parts of his life.

Mendocino Coast 50k

Around the time Sid ran his first ultra, he also got into race directing.

While running with his training partner, he learned that there was no ultra-marathon nearby.

Sid was shocked that with all the beautiful and accessible trails nearby, no one had ever organized a race.

He began to reach out to other race directors and people in the running industry to see what it would take to organize a race.

A few months before the inaugural race, Sid sponsored an ultra runner podcast for $200.

That was the most he has ever spent on advertising to date, but it was money well spent that first year.

Sid had 8 people signed up before advertising, and a sold-out race of 100 one month later.

The Mendocino Coast 50k is capped at 150 and has sold out quickly each year since.

Mendocino Coast 50k

A Labor of Love

Sid had one guideline going into race planning and that was to create a race that he would want to run.

Convenience is a huge factor for Sid, therefore he provides easy parking that is near the start which is also the finish.

He purposely keeps the race small so that he can personally greet every finisher.

The race starts at 7:30 and is a loop course.

Sid provides food for everyone, not just the runners.

Over the years, the field has grown to include not only US citizens but runners from all over the globe.

Organizing the Mendocino Coast 50k has turned into a 4th job for Sid.

It can be extremely stressful at times, but also incredibly fulfilling.

Ultra Running for Normal People

Along with being a nutritionist and race director, Sid is also an author.

His first two books had nothing to do with running.

Sid began to realize how much ultra-running tied into his overall work.

Aside from elite athletes, there is a large swath of people that Sid can’t define that run ultras.

Sid felt drawn to write a book about ultra-running for normal people.

He and many others who have fallen in love with the sport have experienced a valuable mindset shift.

Regular everyday ultra runners typically have hectic lives, yet have chosen to commit to ultra-running.

Ultra marathons can often give people what they never knew was missing in their lives.

Sid Garza Hillman’s most recent book

Little Moments of Solitude

In his not-so-spare time, Sid coaches other runners.

As a coach, his main goal is to help others enjoy running.

Trails tend to force people to slow down.

Little moments of solitude can always be found on the trail.

In today’s world, people need to make a concerted effort to be uncomfortable.

Sid feels that endurance is natural for humans if they are just open to what is possible.

Trails have taught him to be more adaptable and versatile, which in turn has made him a happier person.


Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected with Sid Garza Hillman by following him on YouTube.


Sid Garza Hillman shared in his most recent book why ultra running is for normal people. Trail running has taught him and so many others to slow down from their hectic lives. Click To Tweet


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