Mountain Man: A Shift From Roads to Trails Elevated Tim Tollefson’s Career // Runner’s World

So many spectators wanted to high-five Tim Tollefson, a pro ultrarunner from Mammoth Lakes, California, at last summer’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc that he almost forgot to cross the finish line. Trail-running fans—who are far more numerous in Europe than in the United States—packed the streets of Chamonix, France, to watch the end of the high-altitude race, one of the most prestigious off-road ultras in the world. After climbing more than 33,000 feet over 106 miles, Tollefson notched an impressive third-place finish. “It was magical,” he says.

Tollefson may never have enjoyed this moment, however, if he had run 29 seconds faster at the 2013 California International Marathon: His time (2:18:29) missed the 2:18 required at that time to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. He tried twice more over the next two years, falling short of 2:18 both times. “I’d always wanted to venture into the trail world, but it never made sense,” Tollefson says. “Missing the standard was the perfect opportunity to explore that route.”

Read the Full Story in the May Issue of Runner’s World, or a portion of the feature online here.

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