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Keep Trail Running Weird Finalists

Get to know the top finalists in each category for the 2023 Awards. Cast your vote by January 5!

UltraSignup News

December 21st, 2023

34 min read

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Each year, UltraSignup closes out the year with Keep Trail Running Weird Awards. We consider the awards a ‘podium finish’ for the everyday runner, honoring the beautifully weird and free-spirited culture of the trail running community. Since 2021, we have recognized 5 winners nominated by the community and 5 winners based on crunching the numbers in our database. Read on to learn about the award categories and nominate your friends. Award winners will receive UltraSignup apparel and be invited for an interview on an episode of The Trailhead podcast.

This year’s awards are supported by our friends at Aspire Adventure Running. Anyone who participates by making a nomination or voting will be entered into a raffle to win a multi-day running trip, Goat Rocks, for you and a friend with Aspire Adventure Running!

Contest Timeline

VOTING CLOSED

Best Dressed

Trail runner style should have it’s own fashion week. This award is given to the runner who consistently looks the smartest, the flyest, the most worthy of the cover of UltraSignup magazine “Keep Trail Running Weird Awards” issue.

Bryce Johnson

Bryce Johnson is easily recognizable for his colorful outfits, his jorts, and the spirited energy he brings to his work with Tailwind Nutrition. He skis in jeans, wears watermelon shorts and Hawaiian shirts, and is always ready for a run.

The nominations say….

“He’s so well known for loud, colorful outfits, and the man skis in jean shorts. The literal epitome of style.”

“His vibe is inspiring and amazing. Positive and encouraging.”

“Bryce is always wearing bright, forget me not, outfits!!! They are loud, fun & bring a smile to my face!!!

“He has a very colorful way of dressing. He works with me at Tailwind Nutrition and he loves to pair loud button-down short sleeves with a clashing shirt and printed shorts. People remember him for his personality but at first glance they way he dresses makes him stand out. I wish I could post pics. For example at the Broken Arrow Skyrace we launched Dauwaltermelon and he had watermelon-themed everything. He ran the 5k dressed like that. But its also pretty much how he dresses every day.”

See more of Bryce

Charlotte Corriher

A black widow at the Richmond marathon, Wednesday Adams at Delirium 24 hour race, the Statue of Liberty at Merrils Mile 48 hour race, a pineapple at the Charleston 100, Charlotte brings the costume every single time. The creativity never seems to let up. She must have discovered the anti-chafe equivalent of the fountain of youth. It seems there is no costume that’s too chafe-inducing for Charlotte.

The nominations say…

“I am really surprised that Charlotte has not won this award yet. I cannot think of anyone else who has run multiple 100 miles and other ultras in theme costumes related to each race.
I can also vouch that she is a fun person to be and run with, even at 2am climbing up White Top mountain during the Yeti100 while she is dressed as Dolly Parton!!”

“She dresses up for every race with a different costume that is appropriate to that race AND she races literally every other weekend. She’s amazing.”

“From 5k’s to 100 milers, she dresses up for them all!”

“Charlotte has run 265 races of marathon or longer, all in a unique costume she makes herself. (The costume usually reflects the theme of the race). Her “rules” include she must complete the entire race wearing the costume. Whenever she shows up at a race, you know it’s gonna be fun!! And seeing her name on list of entrants, it’s fun to guess what she’s gonna dress up as :)”

See more of Charlotte

Scott Traer

As a professional runner, coach, and race director Scott strikes an easy-to-recognize figure at races across the Southwest in his signature white button down and green hat. His thick Boston accent makes him an easy-to-recognize voice as well. Scott’s social media presence shows off his expertise and humor with his partner Callie Vinson, bringing his signature look to people across the web. His look has become so iconic that several runners chose to dress as Scott for the annual costume party at the 2023 Javelina Jundred.

The nominations say…

“The white button down and bedazzles. What more could trail running fashion ask for?”

See more of Scott

Yuki Chorney

A previous award winner, Yuki is well-known for her incredible costumes. From outfits that scream of holiday festivities to full on New York City pride at the New York Marathon, Yuki brings the drip every race and is never lacking a smile.

The nominations say…

“Yuki puts a smile on EVERYONE’s faces with her awesome costumes at every race! From the Stormstrooper Yankee getup for the NYC marathon this year to EVERY OTHER race (short and VERY LONG) where she wears a themed costume that seriously screams her creativeness and desire to bring others joy when they see her!”

“Yuki puts so much time and effort into her costumes. There are always fun little details, and her personality really brings her ideas to life!”

See more of Yuki

Kelsey Long

Kelsey is a Navajo ultrarunner and triathlete with a smile that lights up the trail. She runs her races in bright colors and sporting traditional Navajo ribbon skirts.

The nominations say…

“She often races in traditional Navajo ribbon skirts that she has made herself, but she is also just a fun person and wears lots of bright colors, beautiful earrings, and has an amazing smile.”

See more of Kelsey

Best Pacer

Pacing is hard work. It requires a certain finesse, physical preparedness, a poker face, and at times a silver tongue to keep a runner moving in the darkest points in their race

Chad Colson

The nominations say…

“When my race was going south (my first 100 miler) my husband who does NOT enjoy running and hadn’t run over 5k in his adult life jumped in and paced me for 34 miles to help me finish under the cut-off at Hennepin. It was my comeback race after a freak accident last year and surgery on my quad as a result and he knew how important it was to me. I’ll never forget it!”

Chris Morrison

The nominations say…

“I was nervous about hitting cutoff for my second ever ultra this year at Pass Mountain 50k. Chris volunteered to run the entire race with me to help me get to where I needed to be, when I needed to be there. This race didn’t allow pacers for the 50k, so he registered under his own name. We were the very last finishers, but came in with 90 minutes to spare…because of Chris. My emotional lows weren’t as low as they usually are because I had a friend along to encourage me to push through & keep going. Oh, and it took me 13:30 to finish. Chris can run the same course in HALF that time!! Best. Pacer.Ever. Especially since that last place finish will remain on his ULTRASIGNUP account forever now! He was willing to do that for a friend:)”

Honora Einhorn

The nominations say…

“Nora has paced me for 7x 100 milers this year alone and has supported indirectly the other 5 I’ve raced in 2023. I couldn’t do it without her support. Beyond the sheer number, these were also challenging races to pace. She was head crew and paced about 40 miles at Badwater, paced 40 miles Leadville, 20ish at Ouray (which took about 12 hours). She is highly featured on my Youtube channel (@runningwithsimon) – Badwater and Ouray in particular will show how dedicated she is. I think it’s universally accepted amongst my viewer that she the best!”

“She is super encouraging with a mega, super hard work ethic”

Sabrina Houck

The nominations say…

“Sabrina has been there for me at ALL my races. When Bigfoot 200 was cancelled in 2020 we still decided that I was going to still run the 200 mile course with the help of my friends on the weekend it was originally planned. She planned ALL the logistics and made sure the rest of the crew knew where to go and when. If you know that course, you know there is NO CELL PHONE service, you are super remote, driving on forest roads in the backwoods. We prepared all our food for the weekend since there would be pretty much no access to grocery stores while out there. I was able to finish that 206 mile course because of Sabrina!”

“She was my pacer for the last section of Cocodona which included the final 2000(ish) foot climb to the top of Mt.Elden. We were summiting Elden around 11 PM in the dark and at the top there were winds up to 40-60 mph which were blowing us all over the place. We made it to the aid station at the top and sat down to warm up and the aid station volunteer came over and asked if I needed any food and at that moment Sabrina pulled out some still warm Chicken Tenders and JoJo’s from her iconic yellow puffy and said “”We are good, I carried these chickie strips and jojo’s up the mountain for her in my puffy!”” Now, if that isn’t a great pacer then I don’t know what is.”

Dave Pease

The nominations say…

“Dave Pease, a true legend in the ultrarunning community, has earned this nomination for the Best Pacer Award with his extraordinary dedication and expertise. With an astounding track record of completing 27 grueling 100-mile races listed on Ultra Sign Up, Dave has undoubtedly demonstrated his prowess in the world of ultramarathons. What truly sets Dave apart is his unwavering commitment to helping others achieve their dreams. In 2023, he embarked on a remarkable journey to pace another runner, a fellow 60-year-old, through his inaugural 100-mile race – The Bear. Dave’s selfless dedication, experience, and mentorship transformed a daunting challenge into a shared triumph. With Dave as pacer, the two older runners overcame the seemingly impossible.”

“Dave Pease embodies the spirit of camaraderie and support that defines the ultrarunning community. His ability to guide and motivate others on their path to success is a testament to his exceptional character. Dave’s dedication to the sport and his willingness to assist fellow runners make him a truly deserving nominee for the Best Pacer Award.”

“The Legendary Dave Pease. I’ve known Dave for 20 years. He is a runner with many 100 miler finishes, including numerous Hardrock 100’s. We share a passion for climbing and we have worked Emergency Medicine together for 20 years. He is kind, principled, hard working and experienced in the way you really want your ER doctor to be at crunch time. And, he is a great pacer. I took to ultrarunning a few years ago and Dave encouraged me after my many DNFs. So when I signed up for my first 100 miler, the Bear 100, he offered to pace the night. It’s a long dark night out there on The Bear, said Dave. He was right.
He joined me at mile 51. That’s a cold, high, windy aid station and at 10pm I was tired. The Legendary Dave Pease was bright eyed, bopping around and fully motivated. We chatted throughout the night, marveling at the spectacular terrain and night sky. The aid stations came and went. Dave kept me moving and kept me fed. Dave and the aid station chairs were in competition. Dave always won out with “”David, it’s time to go.” Then morning and the mile 75 aid station arrived. His last pearl, “”You got this Dave, just keep moving. Later, I thanked him and replied “oh no, it was my honor to pace you on your first 100 miler.”

Best Race Day Fail

Not a lot of explanation needed. Who biffed it best?

Amy McDowell

“Amy flushed her keys down the toilet 20 minutes before the Sugg Farm 20 miler. They were in the back pocket of her shots and fell out. Her vest, headphones, and fuel were all locked in the car. She ran the loops with a cheap water bottle and finished the race! Amy told me her near-panic attack and adaptation was great practice for her upcoming 100 milers (completed Rim to River this year and is going to WSER next year)!”

Kelley Fejes

“Kelley Fejes deserves the Best Day Race Fail Award for her unforgettable moment at the Snowdrop ULTRA 55. Breaking “The Bell” during her attempt to signal her 150-mile lap added a humorous twist to the race. The unexpected mishap, captured by the official photographer Don Davis, not only provided a lighthearted moment but also showcased Kelley’s resilience in embracing the unexpected challenges that come with ultrarunning. Her unintentional bell mishap adds a unique and entertaining element to the race narrative, making her a standout contender for this playful yet memorable award. Pictures.”

Kenny Garner

“On January 7, 2023 Kenny attempted the Athens Big Fork Trail Marathon – known to be the toughest trail race in Arkansas. He had done it before but this time tripped and fell, busting his head wide open. There is a photo of him on Strava with blood all over, gushing from his forehead. It looked like a murder scene. He made it 2 more miles after the gnarly fall (with a concussion) before leaving the race in an ambulance. He got 14 stitches across his forehead and suffered effects from the concussion for several weeks. Nbd though, he was back to running 100 milers in a few months!”

“While running a technical trail marathon in contention for a top 10 he took a hard spill and cracked his noggin on some rocks.  Unfortunately he wasn’t able to finish the race, but has since fully recovered and is doing well.”

Tara Dower

“Epic cactus attack at Javelina Jundred”

“I was following the Javalina Jundred race and feeling inspired by all the shenanigans. I came across this prickly runner Tara Dower! I thought it was a joke!!! The torture of having stumbled into a cactus during a jundred?! Wow, just an EPIC fail. Hope she wins this award!!!”

“Tara ran right into a Cholla at Javelina 100! A very painful race day lesson! If you haven’t seen photos see her Instagram. The least she could get out of it is a sick award! :)”

David Haunschmidt

“He got the biggest weirdest blisters on the balls of his feet 30k into a 60k mountain Run (Kepler Challenge). We are talking holes in his feet!  – He managed to finish and podium in this highly competitive event despite the last 30k feeling like he was running on knives. Some gnarly pictures on his instagram. He could only walk on tiptoes for a week, including daily shifts in the emergency department where he works! Absolute perseverance and resilience. Safe to say he will never use those shoes ever again!”

Favorite Trail Weirdo

One person’s weirdo is another person’s idol. There’s lot’s of weirdos in trail running and we love that for us. These are a few of the people you nominated as your favorite trail weirdos. Maybe it’s their nutrition plan, their race day kit, or their training style, maybe it’s their unconventional outlook on life, there’s something about them that is just so dang loveable.

Bryan Kuhlman

The nominations say…

“While running the rugged trails of Cirque Series, I ran up on a guy crushing the rocky course BAREFOOT!I asked “WOW dude! I have to ask what made you start running barefoot?” He responded something clever but caught my attention. We became great friends after that. His level of intellect is borderline genius and his words are philosophical. He’s a weird dude and wears Hawaiian shirts. He was a preacher, and professor, and now just chills doing stats for a credit card company so he can go chill on the trails. I recommend looking into his TicTok because he posts some REALLY cool and nerdy weird stuff and I like it!”

See more of Bryan

Eric Brumbalow

The nominations say…

“There’s no denying Eric is weird, but that’s why we love him, and get excited to see him at a race. Whether he is running, voluteering, or RDing, he makes every race experience better ! ”

“The first time I met Eric he was dressed in a huge pink unicorn blowup costume at 7 trails in Damascus. Since then he has continued to be the cheerleader for everyone while running his own races! He has even started his own trend of portapotty selfies dubbed #Brumbalowing”

“Completely eccentric and fantastic human and would do anything for a runner or person.”

See more of Eric

Jeff Garmire

The nominations say…

“Jeff’s sense of humor is unique, whimsical, and often a clever poke at the ultrarunning world. He also has no shame when it comes to his outfits!”

See more of Jeff

Jeremy McCoubrey aka Chad Ultra

Jeremy commits to the bit. Chad Ultra is a character Jeremy has created to bring even more fun to ultrarunning. Chad is “never tired” according to his instagram handle @chad.ultra.never.tired and he wears the coolest sunglasses.

The nominations say…

“He is the weirdest. Chad Ultra is his running persona, he makes everything weird from clothes, to how he acts. Chad believes he is God’s gift to running.”

“Jeremy aka Chad Ultra is a total badass. He is not only a total weirdo he also volunteers at aid stations and cheers everyone on.”

“Jeremy is the NICEST dude ever and when he came up with his Ultra Alter Ego, it was the best and weirdest thing ever. He totally deserves this award.”

See more of Chad Ultra

Mindy Littlefield

The nominations say…

“Mindy is the glue that keeps our weirdo trail running community together. Whether it’s coordinating a trail run solstice celebration, a full moon romp around the woods, a day spent in the mountains, hosting her amazing event “The Terrible Running Game” each summer, or random ultramarathons she encourages us to run, Mindy is always cooking up something fun and wild to keep us all together.”

“From making us howl at full moons to dressing as a lobster and eating warm crab salad straight from the tub for game points on the Maine coast, she always has the best ideas to make a run wacky. Everyone needs a Mindy in their running circle.”

“Mindy is the epitome of all things weird that inspire me to keep running! From making us howl at full moons to dressing as a lobster and eating warm crab salad straight from the tub for game points on the Maine coast, she always has the best ideas to make a run wacky. Everyone needs a Mindy in their running circle.”

“Mindy is the backbone of weird trail running in our area and she’s hilarious to boot!”

Most Inspirational

The Most Inspirational award highlights the community members that are the best ambassadors for trail running. They run with joy and determination, they are at the heart of their community, lifting others up and encouraging everyone to be their best self. There are so many more people that this award could go to and your nominations were overwhelming.

The finalists below were chosen based on their nominations and how those nominations described them as a person and/or their impact on the people around them.

Andrew Glaze

“He is the definition of consistency and has encouraged me to get out the door when I haven’t wanted to….because sometimes we all need that “daily reminder to do hard things.” Besides running, he’s a family man and works hard as a firefighter, who gives back to this trail community.”

“He is such an inspiration to not only me but the thousands of followers he has. He makes zero excuses and gets out there and continues to push!!!! Rain or shine, he is out there running.”

“This dude meets ALL the categories. He’s truly inspirational, helps pace his wife, motivates others, has serious swagger in his “fit” or race attire, frequently fights gravity. Overall a great guy that truly sheds light on how running is therapeutic for the mind and body.”

“This individual provides grit, dedication and inspiration to challenge yourself to “do hard things”. He demonstrates the commitment and willingness to use his platform to inspire others to better themselves physically and as an individual. Smile, or your doing it wrong”

Andrew on Instagram

Jen Shetler

“Jen “DNFd” her first race last April – her first attempt at 100 miles at Umstead 100.  It crushed her.  She’s been training for that race for nearly three years. But instead of throwing in the towel, she grabbed a few running friends and started a social media group with them to help encourage and motivate each other, figure out who’s running what and where, and generally “never run alone.” She wanted a place she could go when she had a run scheduled but no one to keep her accountable to it or push her, and wanted a place that everyone felt welcomed because she didn’t “fit the mold” of a typical ultra runner (whatever that means!) – she is a back of the pack runner, self-described “band nerd, not athlete”, and happy just to finish any race.

Since then, her “TUFF Run Club” (Trail + Ultra Fun Fam) has over 170 members of all abilities, ages, paces, and distances.  She takes pride in the fact that she has runners who’ve finished elite races like Cocodona 250 and Badwater 135 as well as runners who are working on finishing their first 50k and even trail half marathon. They meet weekly and always have hot coffee and snacks to share, most of which she bakes herself. The community she has build flourishes because they all genuinely feel like family, and have been so supportive of each other.  Their next group run is a “holiday themed” run where they’re all going to dress up in holiday attire and run 7-12 miles – they have 30 people signed up already and always have some show up that they didn’t expect.  They run on holidays like Thanksgiving (and are planning a Christmas run!) because she recognized the need for some to have a family when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to celebrate. 

She’s not only on track to finish Umstead this April, but she’s already planning crew, pacers, and volunteers for the club because over TWENTY of them will be running the race!  She’s inspired so many to walk/hike/run together and grow as a community and family, and has inspired myself and our kids to never give up even when things get hard and the pain of moving forward is almost too much to bear.  She’s not giving up and for that, she’s the most inspirational woman I know.”

Verna Volker

“Founder of @Native_women_running, Verna is a tireless advocate for indigenous people in running and in life.”

“She is such a wonderful leader in the running space, advocating for Indigenous people and making waves with her organization Native Women Running. She’s unapologetically Indigenous and has gone above and beyond to make space for Indigenous runners.”

Verna on Instagram

Xavier Boyer

“I’ve had the privilege of training with Xavier over the past year. I’ve seen him handle both success and failure, both with grace. He has been through some adversity, but that doesn’t build character,  it reveals it. I’ve depended on him through early morning and long runs.  I am a better runner and athlete from running with him.”

“Xavier overcame innumerable hardships over the past year including major surgeries following an assault, relearning to walk, and returning to running/lifting and competing. He is truly an inspiration to so many around him and his grit and determination to get better each day is amazing.”

“Xavier absolutely deserves this. He dedicates literal blood, sweat, and tears into this and he shows strength like no other. He’s been through a lot but his dedication and perseverance shines much brighter. Please choose him!”

“Xavier battled being overweight through running and weight training. Last year, he was assaulted and beaten while in another state for work. He had a broken pelvis as well as multiple other injuries. Despite this devastating and life changing time, Xavier persevered by focusing on weight training and running. He was back in the gym as soon as possible and running as soon as he got clearance from his doctor. He has run numerous marathons and participated in many athletic events. To say he is an inspiration is putting it mildly. Not only is he motivated, he’s also the kindest and most humble and appreciative man.”

“Xavier is a huge source of inspiration for me. Last year he suffered a brutal attack, was assaulted and left for dead, endured multiple surgeries, rehabbed through a pelvis reconstruction, relearning to walk and recently completed a 50 mile ultra. And he does this with a smile in his face, and the spirit of a lion in his heart. It’s very easy to draw inspiration from him, and easier to be proud of him.”

Xavier on Instagram

Sally McRae

“I know there are thousands of inspiring runners, but Sally is someone who feels like an inspiring friend when you haven’t even met her. Her story is part of why I started in ultra running, thinking, she’s a mom doing this, maybe I can too. She gets scared and nervous and ran on a treadmill because trails were scary, and became an amazing mountain runner, maybe I can too. She helps us all dream and laugh, and that’s inspiring.”

Sally on Instagram

Jeff Waldmuller

“I have never met someone more determined to have fun, make new friends, and help others enjoy trail running. On top of his everyday attitude while on the trail, he showed extreme grit this year when he broke his collarbone and a week later ran in the Leadville 100. If that isn’t inspirational, I’m not sure what is. Jeff is a true badass!!”

“No question that Jeff should be most inspirational. What he achieved at Leadville this year was astounding. Despite set back after set back and a bike crash as an amputee athlete, his resilience and drive to continue forward is to be celebrated and recognized. As a paraplegic ultracyclist myself, I look to other outstanding disabled athletes as motivation and Jeff has certainly helped me continue moving forward this year. Not just an athlete, Jeff works tirelessly in the community for others with disabilities, whether that’s through his day job as a prosthetist working with other amputees or volunteering with nonprofits for athletes with disabilities.”

“Jeff is an amazing young man who does ultra run and mountain bike races. He’s a champion for AWD athletes. He is an amputee himself. Broke his clavicle doing the Leadville 100 MTB Race and he finished it and a week later attempted to run the Leadville 100 foot race”

“His positive attitude is infectious, and he “never quit” mindset is the most inspirational thing I’ve ever witnessed.  Look him up, he’s amazing.”

Jeff on Instagram

Greg Spike

“Greg is a 75 year old ultra runner, a Vietnam Veteran living with PTSD & has achieved 32 years of sobriety.  His strength & will to get out the door each day is tenacious, just like his latest 100 mile finish in August.  Greg will stop & with a big smile greet every runner, hiker & dog on every single run.  His motto when things are good is, ‘Keep smiling’ & when things are bad is, ‘Sure is a nice day’, either way he keeps going & encouraging others every step of the way of every race & run.  He has run loads of races from 5Ks to 100 milers & every distance in between.  He also goes on countless endurance adventures in the Cascade & Wallowa mountains, as well as far away adventures in the Himalaya & Alps.  He is humble, kind, compassionate & with his positive energy is known by almost every trail runner in the Eugene area.  He even saved a woman’s life when he helped her jump from a burning building (The Valley River Inn fire in Eugene) during a run in March!  Greg Spike is the Most Inspirational runner I’ve ever met!”

Jean-Richard Chery

“Jean is an incredible runner who is always smiling and never gives up and his positive spirit and smile are contagious on the trail. You meet Jean on the trail in those moments when you want to give up and Jean picks up and his words lift all around to keep pushing on! He is the inspiration for our entire group and also leads by example.”

“Always the first to join in your success and helps motivate even when he doesn’t know you. You can tell he is a person that cares about everyone and helps find the best in everyone.”

“Jean is the absolute most influential person when it comes to my running “career” I have paced Jean in numerous races and half the time he is inspiring me to keep going.  Even when he has 30 plus miles to go.  His infectious smile alone is inspiring.”

“He shows up for the track kids no matter how he’s feeling and does his best for his other runners.”

Jean-Richard on Instagram

Goldstein Little Eagle

“My friend “G” is a hell of a runner and community leader. He’s a crusader for addiction recovery, organizes multiple events in his surrounding area of Lame Deer, MT, to engage people of all ages to be active. He leads by example. Someday I hope to join him on his annual 20+ mile run around Bear Butte Lake in South Dakota. Check his Instagram page and I’m sure you’ll be impressed.”

Goldstein on Instagram

Saulius Braciulis

“Saul will randomly do things like 300 mile loop around the Puget Sound. 100 mile tire drags. Barefoot marathon. Traverses across the Washington peaks. He does it all without a car to show you don’t need a car to go on an adventure.”

“He has run multiple long races. Work on himself and embraced his realities of autism and has not let the stigmatization dictate his life!”

“He took a tire 100miles barefoot up a mountain and came back. Also just constantly doing amazing things.”

Saulius on Instagram

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