not running for gold

(from l-r: shamai, tara, laurel, alicia)

Many of us run with a personal best or goal in mind. However, for three long-time runners with big plans for 2013, a PB isn’t a factor at all.

Laurel, Tara and Alicia are three pals who have a lot (and we mean A LOT) of running experience between the three of them. Sometime this year, they were chatting about this year’s race plans when they mutually stumbled on a realization and created a very cool concept called Not Running For Gold. Their summer of running for fun and adventure is culminating with a trip to Mongolia, where they will run through mountains and the Gobi Desert in the month of July. Not exactly your typical marathon season!

alexis: so tell me how you ladies – all accomplished sub 1:30 half-marathoners – came up with this idea?

laurel: One day Alicia and I were talking, and we realized that we have a similar philosophy on running and life. We decided to start Not Running For Gold to represent what parts of running we actually love: the camaraderie, the spontaneous friendships, the cool ways to discover a new city. Because we have all been so competitive for so long, we realized that we needed to re-focus our efforts on the parts of running that mattered most – and that doesn’t necessarily include a personal best.

alexis: that’s pretty radical stuff for girls like you…I know you kids, and you race all the time.

alicia: Simply put, we realized we are missing out on 90% of the joy of running. We want to recreate what running means for us. It started a few months ago. On a whim, we all bought gold shorts and ran the Gorge Falls 50k race together. The day before we bought t-shirts and cut them at the thrift store – and we had an incredible time. People were coming up to us and they wanted to be friends with us! After we finished, we thought “what else can we say yes to?” We then got serious and created a summer of fun and exciting challenges.


summer 2013 itinerary for the not running for gold crew

Rim To Rim To Rim

alicia: We’re going to the Grand Canyon, for a week and a day. We are doing the course, not the actual race – it’s considered an "Ultra Pilgramage" for diehard runners. Think of it as the Burning Man of the running community. We’ll be camping in the wild and running all day in the desert. We will end the trip by celebrating in Vegas on the last night.

How To Not Die: Training For Mongolia

laurel: That’s right: this is our training series for prep us for our upcoming run trip to Mongolia. Think training in the trails, testing gear, trying travel food and compasses. We’ll be interviewing people with wilderness skills. Some of the places we’re going to include the West Coast Trail, Sunshine Coast Trail and Gambier Island! (Editor’s Note: that’s West Coast-speak for lots of mountains, steep hills and remote terrain.)

Mongolia: Yurts and Air Horns

laurel: In Mongolia, we will be camping. Some of the supplies we are bringing is an air horn for the Gobi Bear….hats, gators, water, matches, stoves, pots, sleeping bags, food, merino wool, dehydrated meals in a bag, flasks and more. We are leaving on June 21st, aka Summer Solstice. We’ve been doing heat training via Bikram classes to prepare.

alicia: When we were planning this trip, I thought we should go somewhere where the culture is very intact, at risk. Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, houses 50% of the population. Beyond the city limits, traditional people in the countryside people live a very nomadic lifestyle. Global warming is affecting this indigenous way of living and we thought it would be cool to see before it disappears.


After these girls, my friends and co-workers told me about their plans, I was actually speechless (and for anyone who knows me that is a uniquely rare experience). Three girls, stud athletes, taking a summer off of traditional marathoning and going to Mongolia for a cross-country adventure? I think I’m safe to say that this is crazy shit…and it is AWESOME. Talk about taking life by the horns and making power moves! It got me thinking…”am I living big enough? What does risk really look like for me?”

Follow these ladies on the blog they’ve set up chronicling their adventures. We’re also going to sporadically check in to see how they’re doing, so stay tuned. In the meantime…what crazy, wild adventures are you going on this summer? What is your version of going big?

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Sub 1:30 marathon!? I didnt think we broke 2 hours yet!? Either way these girls seems awesome :)

Comment by Jen — May 26, 2013 @ 10:01 am

Um, yes, I think the author might have meant sub 1:30 HALF marathoners…? :)

Comment by Rachel — May 26, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

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