A Q&A with FCRC Member Harlan Grossman
1) Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up in Fort Collins.
I grew up on Long Island, NY and started running as a freshman in high school. I went to college in upstate NY, close to New England, and I started exploring different mountain ranges: Adirondacks, White Mountains of NH, and more. The exposed ridges of those ranges drew me out West! I started in Flagstaff, AZ for a couple years before learning I wanted more mountains, and that led me and Jess to FoCo. Jess and I have also been blown away by the camaraderie and generosity of the running communities up here. We feel lucky to be a part of them through the Runners Roost, Fort Collins Running Club, and Gnar Runners!
2) How did you get into running and how did that evolve into ultra distances?
I started in high school as a way to stay in shape for tennis, and I decided to run a few local races. In college, I ran to stay in shape. I also ran several obstacle course races, including a couple in the mountains. Around the same time, I began hiking more because I wanted to see open landscapes. This hiking started as 5-10 mile days, then gradually evolved into 20-30 mile days. I also ended up working in Upstate NY and Maine, which led me to iconic hikes in the northeast, such as the Presidential Traverse, Pemigewasset Loop, and the Great Range Traverse. While completing those, I started
trail running, and I learned I could hike or run ultra distances. Mainly, I enjoy ultras because they allow me to see beautiful parts of the country without having to manage the logistics of backpacking permits.
3) You have a unique philosophy on running and racing. What can you share about that?
Racing is exciting, and a lot goes into it! I try to target a couple races each year, and this year the big one is Never Summer 100K! In addition to racing, one of my favorite ways to run is via “adventure days.” On adventure days, I’ll pick a special ultra route in a national park, national forest, state park, etc. and try to complete it. Some on the radar for this year include Loowit trail around Mount St. Helens (snowpack dependent) and a route in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
4) You officiate high school and collegiate soccer. How do you balance that with your running schedule?
Balancing the two can be tricky. For most collegiate assignments, I will not run the morning of the game in order to stay fresh. I want to give my best on the field, as I feel privileged to be part of the game at that level. Overall, I plan my long runs around the assignments, and the games usually do not interfere with my running schedule. The biggest challenge is the accumulated wear and tear on my body by the end of the fall. I am trying to improve on that this year through some proactive strengthening and cutting back some on high school soccer officiating.
5) You also volunteer with Gnar Runners. What’s your favorite thing about that?
I really enjoy volunteering at Gnar races since it allows me to cheer others while they race! It is exciting to be part of that atmosphere and help others on their journeys! My favorite assignments are to be part of an aid station or a course sweeper. I’m looking forward to volunteering at more races this year.
6) What is your favorite trail running experience?
It’s really tough to pick one, so I’m going to choose two:
-Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire, out and back – This was almost entirely above tree line, and the views and weather were breathtaking.
-4 Pass Loop in Colorado – I ran this last year in July, and we had a blue bird day. The wildflowers were blooming, everything was green, and the Maroon Bells were majestic. The company was great, too.
7) What’s your go-to trail in Fort Collins?
Horsetooth Mountain Park – South Ridge to Audra Culver. This is my favorite route for most of the year. I enjoy the views of the Continental Divide on Audra Culver, and it’s great that it can be run year-round since most of it receives lots of sun.