Run Free: Salomon Super Spring Contest

With spring finally coming to the mountains of the Northern Hemisphere and firmly entrenched in many other places, heading out the door becomes a bit easier. The promise held by the unseen miles and kilometers are whispered to us by a warming wind. We answer by running onward, by embracing in the simple freedom that is putting one foot in front of the other.

Running is a freeing act. In it, we escape the bounds of expectations, routine, and homogenous comfort. Through running, we also indulge in exploration of the roads, the trails, our bodies, and our minds. This is freedom affirmed. We want to celebrate the freedom that comes from and is expressed through running.

What You Can Win
Ragnar Trail RelaysDang, we’ve got over $2,000 in prizes to give away in this contest!

Grand Prize
The grand prize is the winner’s choice of entry into one of the brand new Ragnar Trail Relays presented by Salomon. There are six Ragnar Trail relays this year, with teams of either four (ultra) or eight (non-ultra) runners, sequentially rotating through 24 legs over three loops for a total of 120 miles. The first event is being run April 26-27 near Zion National Park in southwestern Utah. The five events open to the grand-prize winner are:

  • Appalachians –June 7-8 (Big Bear Lake, West Virginia)
  • Tahoe – July 26-27 (Lake Tahoe, California)
  • Snowbasin – August 16-17 (Ogden, Utah)
  • McDowell Mountain – October 18-19 (Scottsdale, Arizona)
  • Vail Lake – November 15-16 (Vail Lake, California)

Update: The Grand Prize winner will now also receive a Suunto Abmit 2s!

Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket - men's white

Men’s S-Lab Light Jacket

Runners Up
Three runners up will receive a Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket, a 2.2-ounce (63-gram), full-zip wind jacket. Simple and sleek (and ultralight), there’s nothing about this jacket that holds you back.

Random Giveaways
We’ll also randomly award five pairs of the Salomon Sense Hydro S-Lab Set, a new glove-based hydration system new from Salomon this spring.

How to Entry
Here’s the deal, you’ve got until 11:59 p.m. MDT on May 14 to submit a written, photo, video, or other entry to express how running frees you and your spirit. You’ll need to leave a comment to this article by the deadline to be considered. You can link to your work elsewhere, be it photos, videos, or even a blog entry you subsequently post in response to this contest.

BTW, even a quick comments makes you eligible to win prizes, so be sure to enter.

Only US residents are eligible to win.

There are 99 comments

  1. Rudy Shepherd

    Here is my entry for the contest.

    I created a video from some footage I shot on one of my long runs through Van Cortlandt park in New York City.

    Yes, there are trails in NYC.

    PS: I am running my first Ultra in September and I have found your book and this website to be incredibly helpful.

    Rudy Shepherd

  2. Alex

    Here's my entry:

    running makes me feel free because it has taught me to be brave. Things go wrong: I've gotten lost, injured, and bitten off way more of a run than I could chew. Even when things didn't go all right, I was still all right. Running gives me the freedom to say yes, and to quiet the voices in my head that tell me no, I'm not good enough.

  3. Andre

    I run to keep me out of trouble. I run for the love of putting one foot in front of the other. I run to get from A to B without having to pollute our world. I run with my friends. I run with total strangers. I run trails, the harder the better. I run far. I run on the rain. I run when is hot. I run and so can you! Wanna join me? It's easy trust me, I'm a runner.

  4. Jonathan Auyer

    Setting foot on a trail sets my day, my mind, that moment, at ease. At the times when I have been the most confused or frustrated, a run through the woods de-cluttered and freed me, if only for a brief time, from the complexities of the world. It is just me and nature. Yet, it is surprisingly easy to live with the familiar discomfort that comes with running—because for a time, that all that is needed. Why run?

    To open myself up to all the possibilities that might come.

  5. Henry Bickerstaff

    I am a person of few words so no blogs or exposé. I am a CPA and running on the unpaved county roads in our area allows me to run free and free my spirit. It allows me to think beyond the box and I have developed multiple solutions to problems that I would never have found behind a desk. Helping other people obtain their goals allows my spirit to be free.

    Henry Bickerstaff

  6. Justin

    Running is everything to me. The ability to escape the stresses of life and connect with nature. The ability to explore the world around me as well as the world within my head and body.

  7. jared

    As much as reasons are varied and diverse for why we run, the reality that unites us and drives us to the trail is our desire to avoid that emptiness we feel if we're not running.

  8. James

    Running is a daily reminder of how lucky I am – to be healthy, to have food to sustain my runs, and to have two working legs that propel me through the dark each morning. As a physician, I have treated many fellow runners who, because of cancer and chemotherapy, become unable to run. To be able to return their health to them so that they can run again, to watch their smiles as they complete their first race after treatment and (hopefully) cure – that is greatest gift I have every received.

  9. Justin

    Nothing that I've completed in my life up to this point has given me the feeling of pure, raw euphoria that finishing my first ultra did.

  10. Eric

    Running freed me to expand the limits of what I thought I could physically do – and realize that I could do more than I thought I ever could.

  11. Kris

    Returning to running frees me to see the possibilities available. I work with elderly patients all day long who tell me, "Don't get old." Running improves my health, flexibility, connects me with like-minded people and allows me to travel to fun events. I'm not getting old while I'm running.

  12. Michelle Rach

    Here is my entry…

    Running has provided me with so many gifts, freedom, adventure, letting go, pushing forward, ect…there are really too many to name. There have been days where I have felt too tired, or had this excuse or that for not running, but the second I hit the trailhead all becomes simplified, the only thing I have to do is put one foot in front of the other. It matters not how fast or slow I go, only that I am present in my being, mindful in my steps. The rest seems to just happen without effort, and I never regret my first step.

  13. Lance Perry

    Running helps clear my head, keeps the body strong and the blood flowing. I'm in my 40s and only took up running 4 years ago. Can't believe all the good times and friends that I was missing out on before.

  14. steve snyder

    After starting trail running a few years ago, now 60 (not old), I think about running non stop. My biggest thrill is having introduced my kids to trail running and anyone else who will listen. My contemporaries, however, are weenies and prefer to retire somewhere "resting". This year will be my first 50K and next year, the JFK50 (if they let me in).

  15. Chris

    Running frees me and my spirit by being a good listener — and the longer the run the more I can get off my chest and out of my head!

  16. Leard

    Running (especially on trails) frees you from all of the man-made stresses of our modern life. There is something primitive and comforting about moving quickly through nature. The sounds of your own work and the natural world around you blend into a soothing symphony that really reaches your core… Leaving you tired and refreshed at the same time.

  17. Kerry O

    Running is freedom from the stresses of life. Running on trails even more so because there is no traffic to remind you of the hustle and bustle. It is a great time to pray and think and get answers to life's questions

  18. Brent Carter

    A professional volleyball career ended by a torn ACL and old age. Running was the bain of my training existence. A razor blade between my fingers. Then a family member invited me to join them in running a marathon. I was depressed and struggling with recovery, but agreed to try.

    At age 36 I ran my first marathon and enjoyed the endorphin high after long runs. Then I found trail running shortly after and it was all over.

    Ultra distance is my passion. The freedom of the woods ALWAYS makes me feel like a young boy. What once was awful is now my peace, my passion, my people.

    The trails and the people who run them are the most real version of humanity I have found. So I will continue to fly, dream and struggle in the mountains to be reminded if the hope that lies in all people.

  19. Jon Allen

    There's something special about mountain tops, and running up it is the most pure, free way to reach it. As you climb higher and higher, the sounds and cares of daily life disappear as you focus on the task before you and you reach higher into the sky. At the top, you are free.

  20. Jake Carlson

    How does running make me feel free? Where do I begin? In the interest of time, I will keep this potential book to a mere excerpt. Running frees my spirit by allowing me to run the day's worries away. Once those worries and stresses have been extinguished, its time to roll. This usually means getting lost in a day dream about a random cactus I just passed or the one that grabbed too far up my thigh. These daydreams continue until I realize that I am back at my car feeling fresh, renewed, and exhausted. This is my definition of passion. Doing and enjoying something so much that the action of doing it leaves you stripped to the core and renewed at the same time. That, my friends, is ultrarunning.

  21. esfrost

    The answer is just as simple as rinnung itself. Running is me, that is where i start living , running is where everything seems simple, and clear. Thank you!

  22. Trent Milam

    My entry:

    Running set me free from possibly being crippled from depression yet again.

    I’ve suffered from depression since I was 10 years old. It comes and goes, but usually lasts for 2 to 3 months when it rears its Noonday Demon head.

    I began running in November 2012 after 20 years of no real significant exercise. In December, my wife suffered a miscarriage and I could feel my resolve and inner strength beginning to fail. Instead of allowing my heart to descend into the familiar darkness, I poured my grief into running and learning how to run.

    My turning point happened soon after that, one morning while running in the rain, I felt waves of grief beginning to wash over me and instead of stopping I ran harder and faster than I ever had before in my life.

    Doing this allowed me to fully feel the terror and pain of my grief and let it pass without being overwhelmed by it. It allowed me to find a new wellspring of inner strength and be there more for my family during their own pain and grief. I also think it made me a better person by being an example to my family of how to allow yourself to feel emotional pain but still be in control of it and by being this example I believe that we as a family healed faster.

  23. Jason Nemecek

    Long commute, working a stressful job, the world is always go-go-go! I run every day at lunch and just turn everything else off and immerse myself fully into my surroundings, my feet pushing off of the dirt and rocks, ducking to avoid tree branches, stepping over roots. Time I spend running dials back the stress and frustration that the rest of the day tries to feed me. Often I plan my day around making sure I get that time on my feet alone with the dirt and trees.

  24. Tyler

    As a teacher, I've come across the acronym REST as one of the keys to being creative. It stands for Random Episodic Silent Thought. To me, my runs are an escaped from the day, the responsibilities of being a new father, my job, and I can think about anything and nothing at the same time with the only worry being arriving back at the trailhead alive. I am free from the binds of 21st century life and experience the world the way humans have for millions of years; moving across the land using just one's feet as propulsion.

  25. Peter

    I couldn't figure out how to post a pic here in my response but I run to see the smile on my dog's face when I first walk downstairs in my running gear, the entire car ride to the trail and the tired satisfied smile he has when we drive home. I run for the great nap we both take afterwards.

  26. JJ

    My mantra in running (and in life) is that I'm not here to get a good time, I'm here to have a good time. I am the person who high-fives other runners while trudging up a hill, just to bring a smile to their faces, and I am the one encouraging my team to stop and take pictures, not just buzz by an awesome vista. I run for the challenge of it. I signed up for a half marathon before I had even run a 10k. I just think life is about testing my limits (physically, mentally, and emotionally), and try things to see if I can accomplish more than I ever thought I could. And I have found over the years that the answer to that question is usually yes. And that definitely makes for a good time!

  27. Solana Klassen

    Just finished my road running season, and was really excited to get back on the trails. I spent the last 3 days in a row on various trail runs, including a race, and I am more in love with trail running than ever before. I am beyond excited to be back doing something I love so much. I recently was selected to participate in the Under Armour What's Beautiful Campaign for Woman, and my goal is to inspire, encourage, and motivate women to get outside and on the trails! I want to share my love with as many people as possible! Here are my 2 latest blog posts explaining the UA campaign & my mission, as well as my renewed and on-going love of trails!

    My blog is a mixture of trail running, road running, and being a paleo long distance athlete. – I write to keep myself accountable, and hopefully convince a few people to push outside their comfort zones…


  28. Brandon Swanson

    Running is Detox

    Making the time in my hectic schedule for running is necessary emptying of self. I let go of the wrong voices and just run. It frees me to hear the still, small voice of God speaking to me; reminding me who I am at my core.

    I’m a father. I’m a husband, friend, son, brother, and uncle.

    I’m a runner and a writer.

    The last two items on that list free me to be fully present in all the other roles and obligations I carry.

    Simplicity in Motion

    Running is human motion in its purest form. Don’t get me wrong. I love sports. Making a game of movement is a fantastic human innovation. When I play a good game of ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, or pickleball (cross between tennis and ping-pong) I feel energized and alive. There is no court, field, or pitch, however electrifying, that calls to my soul like a soft, velvety pine forest, or leaping rock-to-rock at a stream crossing.

    I am absorbed by the terrain of a good trail—swallowed by the geography of new lands. Running is the preferred pace of my exploration. I like the sweeping vistas from the saddle of a bike, but running makes me vulnerable and accessible to nature’s dangers and embrace. I become like a child again in the wilderness.

    I find comfort in that smallness. Some primal exchange occurs on the trails. A life balance is restored. It gives me peace to know that the universe doesn’t hinge on my successes and failures. I simultaneously understand how vitally important I am to so many and yet how insignificant I am as one man in a world that is larger than I can fathom.

    Running frees me to be the best possible version for the world and those that I love.

    I absolutely need no other reason to run than that.

  29. Jordan

    Running is for life. I began running almost exactly two years ago after reading a certain book. Little did I know it would profoundly change my life. I was lost in more ways than one and accepted trail running as my form of religion. I took to the hills in all sorts of western Pennsylvania weather loving every single dirty, smelly, glorious minute. Although running is a physical endeavor I have trouble expressing to my non-running friends how it is so much more. It is my go to when I have something weighing on my mind. When a seemingly unsolvable problem arises I head straight to the trail, allowing my experiences to shape my decisions. Long runs are no longer about gritting out 20 slow miles but more about celebrating the 3 or so hours that I get to spend alone discussing my problems with the passing hundred year old white oaks. Running has taught me more about myself and the world than all the years in school (and much cheaper as well). I wish I could summarize my physical and mental growth however they change the longer and harder I run. So all there is to do is to keep running because the best lessons are always learned on the run.

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