Our Sport is Still in Good Hands

AJW's TaproomIn the winter of 2013, I penned a column titled “The Future is in Good Hands” in which I profiled two up-and-coming American ultrarunners, Dylan Bowman and Timothy Olson. At that time, North American ultrarunning was experiencing a boom, and young runners in particular were flocking to the sport. Many of the old timers, myself included, while excited about new energy in the sport, were also skeptical about how long these “young guns” would be around. Two of the most noteworthy newcomers were Dylan Bowman and Timothy Olson.

Bowman, a former collegiate lacrosse player, raced prolifically in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, he had a true breakout season. Olson, a Midwesterner, discovered ultrarunning and rescued himself from some personally difficult times. Among other stellar accomplishments, Olson won and set a then course record at the 2012 Western States 100. For my 2013 article, I interviewed both athletes and provided commentary on Bowman and Olson — how I felt that they represented two bright lights for the future of ultrarunning.

Dylan Bowman at the start of the 2021 Hardrock 100

Dylan Bowman at the start of the 2021 Hardrock 100. Photo: iRunFar/Alex Potter

So it was with great joy when I came across a short video clip of Dylan earlier this month, while finishing his Hardrock 100 training on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) outside of Mammoth, California, encountering Timothy in the midst of his quest to achieve the men’s supported fastest known time (FKT) on the PCT. In this short clip, the two runners, now in their mid-thirties, chatted briefly and ran together for a bit before going their separate ways. In the midst of that moment, I smiled to myself and thought, “I was right! The future is in good hands.”

Dylan and Timothy could have been two guys who visited the sport for a few years, had some great results, and moved on. And indeed, there are some who have done that, but these guys are still getting after it. Bowman just finished second place at the Hardrock 100, and Olson, at the time of this writing, is nearing the end of his quest to set the men’s supported FKT on the PCT. [Editor’s Note: Timothy Olson has now set a new men’s supported FKT on the PCT.] Sure, they have both had their ups and downs in ultrarunning since 2013, but they are still integral community members, achieving great things, and inspiring others along the way.

Timothy Olson on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2021

Timothy Olson on the Pacific Crest Trail. Photo: Keith Ladzinski/adidas Terrex

In addition to their own running, Timothy and Dylan also serve the ultrarunning community in myriad other ways. Olson’s incredibly popular Run Mindful Retreats have opened up trail running to hundreds of people, and allowed Olson to share the beauty and mystery of his unique perspective on the intersection of mindfulness and long distance running. Bowman’s podcast and mobile app, Pyllars, has quickly become the go-to place for athletes looking to improve both physically and emotionally. His interviews with people across the spectrum of the sport are both insightful and thought provoking.

It warms my heart to know that these two guys, both of whom I am lucky enough to call friends, continue to be active in both our sport and our community. As we emerge from what has undoubtedly been an incredibly challenging time in the lives of many, Dylan and Timothy continue to stand out as beacons of hope, beacons that I have a feeling will continue to shine brightly for years to come.

Bottoms up!

Timothy Olson - Dylan Bowman - 2012 Bandera 100k

Left to right are Timothy Olson, Dave Mackey, Joe Uhan, Dylan Bowman, and Nick Clark at the 2012 Bandera 100k. Photo: iRunFar

AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Ska Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado. Ska Brewery Mexican Dark LagerReminiscent of the Dark from legendary New York City watering hole McSorley’s Old Ale House, Ska’s Mexican Dark Lager is a surprisingly crispy take on a classic dark lager. Not at all syrupy like some dark lagers, Ska’s version blends refreshing light hoppiness with a perfect blend of maltiness. This beer is well worth stocking up on the next time you’re in Durango.

Call for comments

  • How have Timothy Olson and Dylan Bowman positively influenced your journey with ultrarunning?
  • Who do you believe has influenced the sport of ultrarunning in the last decade?
  • Are there other athletes new to the sport who will continue to carry ultrarunning into the future?
Timothy Olson and Dylan Bowman

Timothy Olson and Dylan Bowman on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2021. Photo courtesy of Dylan Bowman.