Running is a life choice, a way to escape and explore new places

Joe Grant tells how running has shaped his life.

Endurance athlete Joe Grant lives in Gold Hill, Colorado, and has competed in running events for the last decade in places ranging from his home state of Colorado to the Alps, Mexico's Copper Canyon, Alaska and Japan.

Grant’s diverse and extensive resume of trail- and mountain-running events includes the Hardrock 100, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, the Western States 100, the UltraTrail Mt. Fuji, the Tor des Géants (330kms in Italy), the Iditarod Trail Invitational (560 kms. in Alaska in winter), The Coastal Challenge (six-day race in Costa Rica) and many more.

 Do you remember the first time you first started running?

I first started running as simplification of backpacking and climbing. I wanted to cover more terrain and explore wild places under my own power without being encumbered with too much gear. I was attracted to the simplicity and freedom of movement that running provides. I was also most inspired by beautiful landscapes, so right from the start I gravitated toward trails and mountain running rather than roads.

How was your childhood?

I grew on the West coast of France in the country side outside the city of Nantes. I played a lot of sports and spent most of my free time outside. In the summer, I spent a lot of time at the beach with my family and every year we would go on long camping trips around France. In retrospect, I think this was pretty foundational in me developing a love for the outdoors. 

How your relation with running has changed?

The biggest change over the past 10 years is that running has evolved from just being a passion to also being how I make a living. I wouldn't say that my approach to the activity has changed fundamentally since I started. I still love the simplicity of just getting out the door and exploring on my own two feet. 


You say you like the concept of “Explore wild places on foot”. How running has change your life?

Running is an integral part of my life and something that I'm compelled to do every day. Through running, I've been very fortunate to have amazing opportunities to travel the world and meet incredible people. I would say that it has shaped my life for the better and allowed me to put my energy into something really positive. 

What does “the power of moving on foot” really mean to you?

That's kind of a difficult question to answer. I think it just feels like a natural way to explore places at a rhythm the allows you to really appreciate your surroundings. It's also universal so it's an easy way to connect with people regardless of where you come from or where you might be headed.

How did the project Alpine Work start?

I started Alpine Works as an umbrella website for my writing, photography and coaching. I just wanted to create something where I could have my own voice and share my experiences. Now I contribute to a lot of different publications, so it's not always easy to find time to post on my own site, but it's definitely something I want to keep working on.  

Do you have any “ritual, lucky charm or habit” before a race?

I usually just have a cup of coffee and try to stay as relaxed as possible. The best races that I've had have always come from not forcing anything and just letting the effort come to me. If you are well prepared there shouldn't be much to worry about on race morning.