Checking In with Geoff Roes in Juneau
Why the champion ultrarunner is spending the summer running free rather than racing
Roes running off trail through a swampy alpine meadow near Juneau. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Lavender Smith)
As several speedy and dramatic ultras unfolded earlier this summer, champion ultra trail-runner Geoff Roes deliberately missed out on the action. Instead of racing with the elite field, he immersed himself in the wilderness around his home in Juneau, Alaska, where he lives when not residing in his other home state of Colorado.
I interviewed Roes, 36, in late July while attending one of the Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camps that he and his girlfriend, Corlé LaForce, host for a dozen runners during six-day sessions. (For more on what his camp is like, check the website or this story and photos.)
We sat and talked near the entrance to Rainbow Foods, the natural grocery store where Roes was featured working in a scene from the film Unbreakable: The Western States 100, which documented his course-record-setting win in 15:07 against three other stellar 100-mile runners (Hal Koerner, Anton Krupicka and Kilian Jornet) in the 2010 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run.
Roes’s other achievements include the course record at the 2009 Wasatch 100-Mile Endurance Run and a win at last year’s inaugural Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100K. Early this year, he won the men’s foot-race division of the 350-mile Iditarod Invitational in Alaska.
Roes took time to explain what he’s been up to, how he feels these days about racing, and why he’s having one of his best summers ever.