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. Fernando Najera Baez

    Trail Running allows me to get away from a stressful workweek downtown, at 2.2 ounces, the Salomon jacket will not only make me look good (wink wink), but no city's lights can catch up to me! Plus, at 4am, its easier to see a white jacket running thru the darkness.

    Fernando Najera Baeza
    San Antonio, TX

  2. Brett

    I only started running a little over a year ago, but in that time I have gone from considering a half marathon, to running two full marathons. I am not fast but I love the feeling of being free from life that running gives me. I recently started looking at Ultra's and building up my trail running stamina. I always feel like I am a kid again bouncing from stone to stone down a steep singletrack trail. Some new gear would help me keep that feeling for a long time, something I greatly desire to achieve.



    Woodbridge, VA

  3. Adam S

    Running is my Prozac (or cymbalta nowadays)! In the past year I've transitioned from a road runner to a trail runner. It's like peaceful meditation to get away! Free gear would help me get away for longer!!!!

  4. Danny

    Running is an experience like no other for me and makes me feel alive. I enjoy being able to connect with nature and myself in a way that only running can allow.

  5. Jake

    Running frees me because it's one of the few experiences left in the world that's absolutely, undeniably and uniquely mine.

    When I'm alone on the trail, without anything to focus on besides just moving forward, my mind and my heart open wide.

  6. Sam

    It might last only for a minute or 2, but I always have at least a short stretch of a trail run where every foot placement is perfect, my balance and momentum match the slope and turns, and it feels like I imagine a bird feels flying low, following the contours of the terrain.

  7. Adam E

    Running does not free my spirit, it is already free. Running is more like a flame that refuses to extinguish. Like a child, I cannot ignore its glow. I can turn away, but it continues to grow even after I return with renewed wonder. But I don't want to look away, because it makes me grow somehow too. As I continue running, I realize that I have shared more of life and nature than I would have on my own, and I am happy.

  8. Ethan Lockwood

    I remember the day I first felt like I could run forever. It was toward the end of a Junior High School cross country season and my friend, Jacob, and I were leading the team on what in retrospect was probably only a 3-4 mile run. As we ran side by side we looked at each other and commented how easy it felt to be running. I don't remember which of us said it, but we both felt it; "I feel like I could run forever."

    Many runners may experience moments like this, where running transcends the physical realm and is a pure experience. Ever since that day that I been chasing that feeling where everything clicks in place and the miles fly by without apparent effort. Throughout High School I was a three sport athlete with hardly two weeks off between sports and my training was dictated by the XC, Nordic Skiing, and Track seasons. I spent a summer waking before 6:00 to train with Jacob, and we slowly began to push the distances we ran gradually passing into 10 plus mile runs when we had the time. The summer prior to my senior year my weekend runs were pushing 90 minutes and one crazy weekend I planned a 20 mile run in the mountains outside of town.

    It was a humbling outing. I was not prepared for the elevation gain let alone the distance of the run. I remember hitting the wall that day in a way that I have never experienced since. With 5 miles of steady climbing on a lonely dirt road left, I bonked. It was a term I had heard before, bonking, but I told myself I was immune to this. I sat in a small patch of shade out of water and food and was unsure if I was going to be physically able to get back to my car. I forced myself to adopt a running shuffle in the sun and allowed myself to walk in the patches of shade the few trees provided. Finally I made it back to my car and despite the experience knew I wanted to go back and be able to run the whole loop.

    After my senior year I was free of training plans and organized practices. I celebrated my entering the Pilot Hill 25k Classic, a race that cemented my desire to run long trail races. I began college at Cal Poly and after a short detour into the world of triathlon, the local trails soon had me training for my first 50k. It was small race at Montana De Oro with 4 major climbs and it rained for the vast majority of the race. I remember struggling on the last out and back with frozen hands and tired legs knowing each painful step downhill was only to be repeated a few short minutes later climbing back up and over Hazard Peak. I was cursing myself for having entered the race, for having put myself in so much pain, but as I began the long descent to the finish line the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds. I hit the final road crossing and my friends were there with handmade cardboard signs yelling for me. I found energy I didn't think I had and flew down the trail crossing the finish line in first place. I still have those cardboard signs, and they mean more to me than my friends may ever fully recognize. They showed me that even in the lowest low you still have more to give. Since then, I have ran countless 10k's, half-marathons, 25k's, paced a friend 35 miles at the Bighorn 100, and ran another 50k this summer.

    "I feel like I could run forever." For me this has become a mantra that I am scared to find may not be true. The world of ultra-running has grown exponentially since I was in junior high and I have followed countless 100 mile races online and in print. Each time I push myself further and harder I fear I will find my breaking point, but it has yet to happen. The internet has made it easy to read countless blogs of mountain runners putting in 100+ mile weeks for months on end with ridiculous elevation gain. I don't know if I am physically capable of this sort of running, or even if I mentally could handle and enjoy it, and I doubt I will ever commit my life so fully to running. But 50miles, 100k, 100miles . . . only time will tell.

  9. Todd

    I run for companionship or solitude. I run for excitement or equanimity. I run as a form of mental escapism or material exploration. I run to pour over some problem in my head or to avoid it altogether. I run for a variety of reasons depending on mood or context; never have I regretted pulling my laces tight and venturing out onto the trails.

  10. Rachael Smith

    I run because it makes me a better person overall- healthier, more optimistic, more peaceful, more disciplined, stronger…so many reasons.

  11. Andrew

    Total freedom is the sweetest thing. I mean not waiting for red lights, not stopping for anyone else to make an action, immediacy. Choosing, doing, right now. It's the reason why I run. I can choose to go right now and I do when I'm running. If I want to run left over the creek, right through the forest or right through the damn creek I can. It's not running that's special. It's the taste of total, complete immediate, freedom. Now that's the sweetest thing.

  12. Justin

    Running allows me to focus on my breath. To slow the mind down to a couple of things. Breath, Direction, Movement. About as simple as you can get sometimes.

  13. Ben

    Free stuff is cool. But running the trails unencumbered is even better. Love the opportunities you have and never take them for granted.

  14. Andy Mc Breen

    Running has freed up My Spirit and Mind to promote a more rich sense of mind body and spirit in My life. Most importantly, I have made My own weight loss and alcohol free life through this incredible activity. When I completed My first Marathon, I remember finishing it with a Law school student Who just graduated and passed His Bar exams. He said, It is amazing what the human body can do when the mind is pushing it. Wow, I thought, that is exactly Why I want to take up long distance running.

    So, after that first marathon I rewarded Myself with an incredible pasta dinner. I remember limping into the restaurant with My medal around My neck. I was so proud of Myself. It was when I was waiting for My meal that I decided to head over to the nearby barnes and noble for a coffee. I went over to the magazine rack and noticed the Trail Runner Magazine. I thought Wow, that looks awesome. On the cover displayed the article, Scott Jurek, The Hundred Mile dominator. I looked Him up and called Him for a one on one trail run. when I connected with Scott was the time when I realized that anyone can improve their life through an enjoyed fitness hobby. He stressed the idea of breathing, balance and stride rate. Most importantly, He emphasized that one can re charge their mind body and spirit out in nature. I was a changed person that day. Since than I have lost 45 pounds and am planning My 10th ultra run.

  15. CJ

    Since taking up running again in 2008 after taking nearly 20 years off, I've lost over 50 pounds…talk about being freed up! I'm also free to eat more…and more often as my mileage has increased over the years.

    But seriously, the daily run allows me to breathe in the fresh air, take in the spectacular beauty of God's creation and enjoy the smells that the outdoors provide. It clarifies my thinking as more oxygen gets to the brain and even allows me to be more creative.

    Running has been a great way for me to learn discipline to a greater extent which also leaks into other areas of my life. Running is a natural pick-me-up if I'm feeling a little sluggish after a long day…no caffeine required.

    What a freedom it is to put one foot in front of the other at any time and any place!

  16. Charlie M.

    Running is like watching a Harry Potter movie with the kids. Running is like drinking fine wine. Running is dreaming. Running with scissors is stupid. Running away from it all sometimes seems like a good idea. Running to work saves a tree and dinosaur bones. Run DMC is my favorite band. Run to the grocery store, you can't spend $300. Run in Hokas, spend $300. Run on sentence. To run is fun. Run 26 miles, then help save a life at the Boston Marathon finish line. Spirit can't be much more free than that.

  17. John A.

    Running breaks all the chains. Padding through rice fields, fighting against street traffic, or huffing up a mountain trail, I am weighed down by nothing.

  18. Ian

    Running gives me the ability to visit amazing places, or simply get a workout in. Running is freeing in every sense of the word because it can be whatever I want it to be.

  19. Kristin Z

    Running let's me be. It's an honest representation of who and how I am that day. Sometimes it's all roughness and ragged edges. Sometimes it's fluidity and flow. Much of the time it's Midwestern work ethic with nothing frilly to show but the sweat, dirt, and fatigue. But inside, I'm whoever I want to be… and I'm cleansed, inspired, and psyched to get to be me.

  20. Mic Medeska

    I'm an introvert stuck in an extroverted world. After being in work all day in a setting very demanding of social interaction and meetings, I need time to recharge my internal batteries and escape. Running has solved that.

  21. Geoff

    I was curious if anyone had any thoughts on that fact that Ragnar has bogarted the Javelina Jundred course and has their race date just 10 days prior to the start of the Javelina Jundred. I imagine from a business standpoint they plan on poaching runners who may be interested in Javelina.

    I like the old school style of ultra races, many of those aspects were mentioned here in a post last week regarding Lake Sonoma. We live in a free world so i realize people have a choice about which races they are running. Like wise no one has ownership of the trails we run(most of the time). Ragnar is commercialized big time, perhaps that why I have never been drawn to enter one. Below is a link regarding some interesting facts about Ragnar and other similar races.

  22. Matt "Uber Adve

    "I'm certain one of the reasons mile four was such a great stretch was due to the fact that I was running straight into a glorious sunrise the entire mile." [Broken link to Uberadventure Blogspot blog from July 12, 2012 entitled “12 Mile Trail Runhike South Mountain” removed.]

  23. Danny

    Trail running frees the mind and body not only by the simple act itself, which can be replicated in so many other ways, athletically and otherwise, but also by the disassociation of the mind and body from the modern world's stimuli and stressors. Crowds, harsh noises, cell phones, and the internet are all among the things that evaporate into the virgin air of the mountains, forests, deserts, shorelines, and other natural environments we so fervently seek.

  24. Matt Fitz

    Running is the living metaphor for how to live the rest of my life. Always persevering. Always looking to excel. Always looking to challenge the human factor. It's the only factor matters in life and on the trail. Giddyup!

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. Bill Day

    My entry, on why trail running is the best kind of running (at least for me): [Removed broken link to Run Keeper blog article “Why Trail Running is the Best Kind of Running.”]

  29. 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.

  30. 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

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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).

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. Trent Milam

    My entry: [broken link to Iamadirtyfoot Tumblr post “My entry to the run free salomon super spring” removed].

    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.

  48. 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.

  49. Moshe

    The Sun Rise!

    Being out, running, when the sun rises. The ultimate charger. [Removed broken link to Mosherivel website]

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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!

  53. 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…


  54. 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.

  55. 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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