On the Trail – Q&A with Duncan Callahan

On the Trail
Q&A with Duncan Callahan
Duncan Callahan on the trails

Duncan Callahan is one of our favorite faces to see at a race. Besides being a pleasure to be around he’s an extremely talented ultrarunner, he took the first place spot in two of our races in 2014, and an inspiring coach. Currently Duncan is an Elite Team Ambassador and a member of the Altra Endurance Team. He’s also working on putting together an ultrarunning training camp in Crested Butte this July. It will highlight the stunning trails in the area and give runners a chance to train at altitude. He took a minute to talk to us about his coaching philosophy, greatest adventures, and what he likes to eat at the finish line.
How did you get into helping other runners achieve their goals?

It really stems from a passion and motivation to see others succeed. Whenever I fall into the trap of caring only about my success, things don’t go as smoothly and I become way too self-absorbed. But helping others – either through full-on coaching or just small bits of encouragement – takes the focus off of me and somehow allows for even more progress in my own pursuits.


What does coaching mean to you?

Coming alongside someone and pointing out the pit-falls ahead and/or showing the huge benefits of certain training methods or ways of thinking. Or, it can also mean paving the way for others to worry only about the workout and not to stress about logistics.
How can training camps improve a runner’s performance?

More than anything, I feel that training camps are a way for someone to get away from their daily life, focus on rest and recovery while training more! Most adults with careers and families force their training while skimping on sleep, stretching, proper diet, or other recovery techniques. Training camps allow for people to focus on the training AND the recovery all while enjoying a bit of mental peace. I’d encourage folks to sign up for a training camp and go AND leave their smartphone at home. I’d also encourage folks to adopt a training camp mentality into certain times of the year (high volume month or high intensity week, etc.). Pick 1 or 2 main things to focus on in addition to the training and make those happen!


How has coaching changed your own running and racing?

Coaching allowed me to view the pursuit of goals as a worthwhile, life-changing endeavor.


We’re so lucky that you keep bringing your amazing skills to the Gemini Adventures races. Do you have a favorite race and distance?

I LOVE the Trail Running Festival in Fruita every April. Beautiful. Amazing course. Great aid. Perfect time of year. Just incredible. The double marathon is my choice event at this race.


What do you love to see at the finish line after a race? [Ed. Note: we’re always looking for ideas!]

I love to see real food at finish lines. Chili, sandwiches, eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. I tend to crave real food after a day of eating a bit too much sugar, etc.


What’s one of your greatest adventures?

I did an epic 55 mile run in Canyonlands last year with my buddy Timmy Parr. We set out on what was supposed to be a 28 miler, but we could not connect it back to the car. We had no map, had run out of water and food, had no head-lamp, but we turned around and retraced our steps all the way out! We ended up barely finding the trailhead to take us up to our car, hiked through the dark, and lived to tell about it. Amazing adventure!

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