Featured Runner: February 2017

Name: Amelia Hagen-Dillonunnamed

Age: 30

Hometown: Middlesex, VT. I came to Montana for a summer job in 2007 and lived in Missoula since 2009.

Why Did You Start Running? (and Why Do You Continue?): I started running my senior year in high school. I was having a rough year and one of my teachers was a marathon runner and suggested I train for a half marathon with her. Completing that race I felt so strong and empowered. Since then running has been my most valuable coping skill for dealing with the ups and downs in life. I ran one season of track in college but I didn’t love the structure or competition. Mostly I just like to get out on the trails every day and if I feel good I go faster and if I don’t feel great I walk! When my husband Jamie and I started Cairn Cartographics in 2010 we started spending our summers GPS-ing trails. At first we were mostly hiking but I missed running in the summer so I started throwing more runs into the mix. Since we transitioned to me doing the majority of the fieldwork by myself in 2015 I mostly run* with some backpacking thrown in. 

*I’ve really fallen in love with moving as quickly and efficiently as possible through the landscape – I call it running but there is a lot of hiking involved!

Group Runs or Solo Runs? I do most of my running with my dog Piper. It doesn’t matter if we are going on a three mile jog around the neighborhood and it’s sleeting or a twenty mile day in the mountains, Piper is always ready and excited. I try to embody her example of enthusiasm every day. I also love running with human friends. It took me a really long time to feel like I had a community and good friends in Missoula. When I look back, one of the main turning points was joining the RWM marathon training class in 2013. This led to other group runs (on trails!) and now I have a solid group of friends I can count on to be up for a running adventure.

Favorite Race or Run: How to pick a favorite! I loved running the trails in the Pintlers when I was working on that map; there are so many beautiful ridge lines to explore! For races I love the Bridger Ridge Run and Runner’s Edge’s Eleven Miles to Paradise. The trails in Missoula are like good friends – I feel like I have to go check in with the ones I haven’t seen in a while.

Favorite Food Pre-Run & Post-Run: Pre run: coffee and a ProBar before a big run. I’m pretty slow in the morning so something I don’t have to prepare is good! Post run: Burger and a beer. If I have a long drive home after a run I leave a bag of Barbaras Jalapeño Cheese puffs and ginger ale in the car for the drive home from the trailhead.unnamed-1

What’s Your Favorite Hobby? I love to read – news, essays, novels, everything. I also love cooking and messing around in my garden.

Miles Run Per Week: This time of year with this weather 20-25. I’ve been spending a lot more time on skis than in running shoes lately! In the summer during field work season it gets up to 50-60.

Currently Training For: Summer! Not sure where I’ll be working yet this summer but it will definitely include a lot of time of the trails. I also like to sign up for at least one 20-30 mile race every summer. I’m not very competitive with but I do like having a goal to work towards. I haven’t decided on a race for 2017 yet so I’m open to suggestions!

Words of Wisdom: It is a privilege to choose the way you suffer. I remind myself this all the time when days get long and things start to hurt.

Anything Else You’d Like To Add: I feel so lucky to live in a place with such a wonderful community of inspiring and adventurous runners. Thank you Missoula!