We’re stoked to share our new athlete on Team Zealios, David Laney. A 30 year old professional runner taking on trails, ultras and coaching from Portland, Oregon. He's got a deep love for the mountains as well as finding humor in just about anything, including his sweet mustache.
Get to know a bit about David and the mind-blowing details on his 95-115 mile training weeks with 12,000-18,000 feet of climbing. This is running folks, no wheels involved.
You’re an Oregonian, graduating from Southern Oregon University where you were an All-American runner, where do you call home now?
“I grew up in Portland, went to college in Ashland, Oregon and then moved to Bellingham after college. I’m still living in Bellingham and enjoying the trails in Northern Washington. The trails are great, there are tons of dogs and great outdoor activities.”
You’ve been running most of your life with a family of runners, what got you into trail and ultra running?
“I started running in elementary school. I joined the elementary cross country program.
I had always been running and doing long backpacking trips with my Dad so I had a general understanding of endurance sports and moving fast through the mountains.
After college I started working at Rogue Valley Runners in Ashland, Oregon. That store has a great ultrarunning tradition and I decided to start doing longer and longer races.”
Side note: If you’re ever in Ashland, OR, the Rogue Valley Runners store is a must to visit. It’s stocked with ultra runners and all the local trail knowledge and recommendations.
David’s 2019 season is off to an incredible start.
David snatched one of the Western States golden tickets (more info below if you haven’t been introduced to this iconic race) when he won the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race earlier this year. A 25-mile loop ran 4 times around a lake. David finished in 14:03:17.
David Laney at the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race photo credit @ronnie_delzer
Then he went on to win a brand new trail race up in the Pacific Northwest, Tiger Claw. A 22 mile race with 8,200 feet of vertical gain. David finished first in 3:13:26.
David Laney wins Tiger Claw race in Washington State photo credit @markbgriffith
Okay, what is Western States 100 Endurance Race?
Western States 100 is one of the most coveted 100 mile trail races in the US to get into. The race starts in Squaw Valley and finishes on a high school track in Auburn, California. The course has 18,000 feet of vertical gain and descends nearly 23,000 feet. Runners cross mountain passes, drop down into scorching canyons and cross ice-cold river crossings. A qualifying “golden ticket” or a lottery drawing determines who is accepted into the race.
In 2015, David finished in the top 10 in 8th place at Western States. This is a pretty big deal because you’re automatically invited back to race the next year, no need to qualify.
And while we’re laying out David’s big trail accomplishments, one month after placing 8th at Western States, he took 3rd on the world trail running stage at UTMB (Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc) in Chamonix, France. Oh, and he was also named 2015's Ultra Runner of the Year. The dude is fast and can take on any mountain.
David raced Western States again this year.
How did Western States go this year?
“This year was a tough race for me. I started having some stomach and heart rate issues around mile 45 and it slowly dissolved from there. I basically walked much of the last 15 miles.
It was a frustrating day, but there is much that can be learned from that kind of experience. I did enjoy watching the sunrise over Lake Tahoe as we began the race in Squaw Valley.”
David placed a respectable 40th overall (20:39:25) at the 2019 Western States race.
Leading up to Western States you were hanging at the Mammoth Crib, which seems to be the mythical Disneyland for athletes… what was the stay like? Your Instagram photos of the area are incredible.
"Mammoth Lakes, California is a great place to train for any mountain race or road race. There are a variety of great training locations, flat roads, a new track, great trails, great weather and being above 7,000 feet is really helpful for endurance athletics.
I love the access to the Ansel Adams wilderness and John Muir Trail."
What did your overall training approach look like in prep for Western States 100?
"The core of my training for Western States looks like 95-115 miles per week with 12,000-18,000 feet of climbing.
I usually do one long run per week of 30-36 miles, one medium long run of 20-26 miles and a few hill interval or threshold days. One recovery day per week included consisting of light running, cycling or complete rest. It’s pretty boring, but also fun.
Basically, I get to spend half the day outside working hard and then I’m too tired to do anything else the rest of the day."
What’s next? Any other race plans? Enjoy the post Western States life for a bit?
"Next on the agenda is working at the Steens Mountain Running Camp, a high altitude experience for high school cross country runners. I’ve been working there for over 10 years and love helping young athletes have a wilderness experience in Oregon’s high desert."
And lastly, what’s your favorite Zealios product?
"My favorite Zealios product is the Sport Performance Sun Barrier! This is what I use running on a daily basis and what I used at Western States this year. I ran 70 miles with no shirt and didn’t even get a hint of sunburn. And I never had to re-apply!
The product works even after sweating and being out all day. It never feels greasy."
Follow David Laney