Clare Gallagher quietly made her ultra running debut while living abroad in Thailand. It did not take long for the 25-year-old Colorado native to make a splash on the ultra circuit when she returned to her home state and won the 2016 Leadville 100 in the second fastest women’s time ever recorded: 19 hours, 27 minutes.
Gallagher visited Mammoth Lakes this March as a speaker for the Winter Adventure Series and shared with us her stories of how she got her start ultra running, living abroad, and how she balances being an environmental activist with her passion for running. And yes, she explains the frosting.
At 25-years-old you are pretty young for the success you’ve already had in ultra running. How did you get your start?
I did my first ultra in Thailand, which is a weird place to do a first ultra race you’re from Colorado. It was an 80-kilometer race in the northern part of the country in the golden triangle. In the 80s that was where opium thrived. All the drug lords were there, and crazy, crazy opium fields. Now there are other things being grown, but the hills are real. It’s a challenging first ultra. I did well, only two women finished and I won. It really got me into the sport in a way that doing a really standard western ultra never would have. I was eating sticky rice, seaweed-flavored Lays, fried rice—there are no gels, there is no Gatorade. So I fell in love with the ultra from its rawest point, which is cool and I am realizing it now after the fact that I really do love the sport.
Read the full interview on the Mammoth Lakes Cribs Endurance Blog