Since graduating from Dartmouth College in 2009, Glenn Randall has skied for the Bridger Ski Foundation in Bozeman, MT. While an undergrad, he competed three seasons a year for Dartmouth’s cross-country, skiing, and track teams, winning the 10 k freestyle at NCAAs his junior year.
Running has always been an important part of Randall’s career, both in training and racing. But he didn’t discover he was good at post-graduate running until he entered and won the Mt. Evans Ascent in Idaho Springs, CO last summer, finishing the 14.5-mile, 4,000-foot climb in the second-fastest time ever recorded, 1:41:21.
At this point, Randall considers himself a skier first and runner second. But we wanted to know if that would change if his running results kept getting better, so we caught up with him earlier this summer while he was at home in Mesa, CO.
FasterSkier: You’ve had a pretty impressive streak with your running in the past two years. Can you describe how you got started with mountain racing?
Glenn Randall: When I first got out of college, I didn’t do too many running races that summer. But last summer, I decided more running would make my skiing better. So I started to do mountain races to get me mentally and physically ready for ski season. It turns out I’m actually pretty good at it.
FS: I’ll say. You won Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak.
GR: First I entered the Mt. Evans Ascent, and won that with the second fastest time ever. That’s what got me an elite entry into the Pikes Peak race, which had already filled.
When I did Mt. Evans I hadn’t even thought about Pikes Peak yet. After Mt. Evans I did the Vail Hill Climb, which is a little less than an hour, and also won that. I showed up at Pikes Peak, and from there I pretty much went directly into the ski season.
This year I did the Mt. Washington race, and am also trying to do some flat races, too. One, because they’re good for me, and two, there’s pretty good money in it. I also got my way paid to Switzerland for the Sierre-Zinal a few weeks ago.
FS: Talk a little bit about that trip.
GR: It went really well; I was the top American. The race organizers covered everything while I was out there; I was having three gourmet meals a day, it was just spectacular.
My results from last summer got me in. I sent them in a resume, and they paid for everything out there, and on top of that I got an appearance fee.
FS: Do you have other races lined up for the rest of the summer?
GR: I’m also doing the Chicago Marathon. It’s a pretty fast course so hopefully I can get a good time. I got an Elite Development entry to the race, so I’ll be starting just behind the guys looking to break the world record.
FS: What is your goal time?
GR: One thing I’ve realized about racing is, if I go in telling myself I need a certain place or time, it doesn’t go as well. But if I go out there thinking I’ll have a fun time, race hard and pretty smart, then I end up racing a lot better. So I’m trying to go into racing with the view that I’m going to have a good race, and hope that the results take care of themselves.
FS: If you keep having really good running results, will it overtake your skiing?
GR: This next year, for skiing, there’s no World Championships or Olympics, whereas for running, there are Olympic trials. So I’m seeing how far I can take [running]. If Chicago goes really well, I could potentially be running pretty late in the season. But it depends on how fast I run!
The standard for the Olympic marathon trials is 2:19, so if I run faster than that, I can’t imagine passing that up — that’s kind of a big deal. But I haven’t thought a ton about it because I’m taking it one race at a time.
FS: How do you balance your running and skiing training during the summer? Are you doing a lot less ski-specific work now?
GR: I’ve done a lot more running, and less ski specific stuff. Which in large part is because I’ve been blessed with awesome running opportunities — it’s been hard not to take them seriously.
One thing I’ve been keeping in mind, though, is that the year I won NCAAs, the summer before that I was very focused on running. I was probably more focused on running than skiing, and then made a huge jump in my skiing ability. I feel like in the end, if I’m doing a bit more running, my legs are in tremendous shape. I try to keep running a decent amount even in the winter, because I notice when I stop running for a few weeks, I start skiing slower. My legs just don’t have it in them.
FS: What are your long-term goals for running and skiing? Or is it all just one step at a time?
GR: For the most part it’s one step at a time.
I set very high individual goals for myself, which is good. But in another respect, because I have high goals, it’s very hard to achieve them, which is hard on me.
The length of my career is dictated by how long I feel I can be great. The moment I stop believing in myself is the moment that I probably need to get out of it.
The 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon starts Sunday, October 9th at 7:30 am CDT. Extended TV coverage will be available at nbcchicago.com.
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.