Pre-2011 TNF UTMB Interview with Topher Gaylord

An interview with Topher Gaylord, president of Montrail/Mountain Hardwear, prior to the 2011 TNF UTMB, where he’ll try to finish the race for the eighth time.

By on August 24, 2011 | Comments

Topher GaylordTopher Gaylord is an impressive, yet humble guy.

Last year, he became the president of Montrail/Mountain Hardwear (not a bad gig if you’re a trail runner), but if you caught his ear out on the trails, he’d ask you which race you’re excited about running, bond with you over race you’ve both run, or chat about the latest running gear from all sorts of companies.

While running Montrail/Mountain Hardwear is pretty impressive, running UTMB SEVEN TIMES and running the complete tour around Mont Blanc 17 times to date might be even more impressive. Oh, and Topher’s not just finished UTMB, he was second in the inaugural race in 2003, sixth in 2005, 24th in 2007, eleventh in 2008, and 24th in 2009… but he’d never tell you that unless you asked him.

That said, Topher’s love of and ties to The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc go even deeper than running the race. Again he’d never tell you as much, but in his previous roll with The North Face he was an instrumental partner with Catherine and Michel Poletti, UTMB’s co-race directors, from before the race was ever run.

In the following interview, Tohper shares a bit about what makes UTMB so special, what he’s looking forward to this year, how Montrail runners Geoff Roes and Dakota Jones might stack up this year, and, since I had his ear, a bit of last minute advice for me!

In finding the homepage and archival thumbnail by Patitucciphoto, I came across the following paragraph written by Dan Patitucci about Topher in 2009:

Toph is, quite possibly, the most psyched and motivated human on the planet. A top ultra runner, Toph has actually placed second in the Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc, the race on the same course we would run. To say Toph travels a lot is an understatement, airport staff know him. To stay fit he has been known to actually run in airports, putting on his running clothes, and actually lapping the airport, inside and out.

From everything I’ve seen, Dan couldn’t be more correct about Topher being “the most psyched and motivated human on the planet.”

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.