A Tale of Two Runners, Two Summers, and the Birth of MUTWiLD

Allie McLaughlin and I became fast friends under similar circumstances. While we have both lived in Colorado Springs the better part of our lives, our paths didn’t cross much until the summer of 2014. That summer was somewhat of a year of redemption for the both of us, where we both discovered a love and a talent for racing up mountains, found a niche within the wonderful community that makes up MUT running, and maybe most importantly, outran a bit of doubt as to whether we could compete at a high level. Allie came away from the year with the USA Mountain Running title to her name, a WMRA Long Distance Championship crown, and a bronze medal from the World Championships, while I had finished the season with a Mt. Washington victory and a bronze medal from the same Long Distance Championship Allie had won. It was a year to be proud of.

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Fast forward one year, to the summer of 2015, and nothing could be more opposite. Running is a fickle beast, and we’ve found ourselves warming the bench this year, chomping at the bit to be back out there, watching our friends race up and over mountains and trails and wishing we were with them.

We both share a similar characteristic in that when running has us down, we “run away” from it, in a manner of speaking; hide out and lay low till the tide turns and we’re ready to rejoin the ranks of the crazies.

But in recent months, during one of our many conversations on Allie’s back porch watching another summer day in the Rockies come to a close, we also came to the realization that maybe running away from running, when running isn’t reciprocating our love, isn’t the answer. We found that we missed the quirky community, camaraderie, and most of all the unique atmosphere that permeates MUT running. Combine this longing with two people who, other than running as fast as possible, also like to create–be it through video production, writing, designing ill-fitting trucker hats, or other various forms of “artistry”–and the stage seemed set for us to give something back to MUT running in a way that had meaning for us.

On the very same evening of our conversation, I received an out-of-the-blue Tweet from another local Colorado Springs runner and web designer, Mark Tatum, expressing his wishes to find someone to join him in creating a MUT running exclusive website. Coincidence? I think not!

What could we create that would allow us to express our own personalities while giving back to the MUT running world? How do we bring creative coverage to a niche of the sport that usually gets virtually none? And how do we do that without becoming simply a MUT version of FloTrack (FloMUT was a name we initially thought of, but…can you say “copyright infringement”)? Besides just the runners that finish first in the race, what other stories and “races within the race” could we bring light to? In short, what is MUT running through our eyes?

Cue, MUTWiLD.com. While the site is still in its wee infancy (bear with us there), thus far it has featured a handful of videos, articles, links to other articles written, and we intend to feature an array of other things of our creation, which for the time being will be kept under wraps, so stay tuned.

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Our first “experiment” featured coverage of the Telluride Mountain Run. A smaller race, it seemed an opportune time to try our hand at this stuff. To sum it up: it included a beautiful road trip to the western slope, a lot of brainstorming, sleeping in a car with a golden retriever in front of a liquor store in the middle of Telluride after deciding we didn’t want to pitch a tent in the rain, and our first experience with the Ultra running world. With a GoPro, a dirt bike, a couple of iphones, and Allie’s magic touch and talent for creating and editing videos, the TMR race video was posted to YouTube and, while I’m not sure everyone–or anyone for that matter– really understood what on earth we were doing, we got some good feedback and maybe more importantly, made a few people smile.

Since its inception a few weeks ago, we’ve also featured the pride of our own town, the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent, as well as followed a close friend of ours, Tim Gore, on his quest to raise $100,000 dollars for the Colorado Springs Rescue Mission at the Leadville Trail 100. He was successful, by the way.

While we’re not back out on the trails and mountains ourselves just yet, that’s certainly going to be an instrumental part in growing our site and adding new coverage as we’ll get to be right in the thick of it. Till then though, check out http://www.mutwild.com, and soon enough we’ll be seeing you out there whether behind the camera lens or toeing the line with you.

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