Queen of the UphillKim Dobson named Open Female Trail Runner of the Year
Photo by Joe Viger
Kim Dobson of Grand Junction, Colorado, is best known for her uphill running prowess, and rightly so. In 2012, the 28-year-old broke the long-standing women’s record at Colorado’s Pikes Peak Ascent, a record set by trail-running legend, Lynn Bjorkland in 1981. To Bjorkland’s previously thought “untouchable” record of 2:33:31, Dobson crossed the line in 2:24:58. Of that performance, she told Trail Runner earlier this year, “Going in to the race I thought it would be possible to run around a 2:30 if I had a strong day. I was not expecting to be around 2:25! That finish taught me to never place limits on what you can achieve in a race."
Before Pikes, Dobson blew away the competition on Mount Washington. There, she ran the second-fastest women’s time ever, breaking the elusive 1:10 barrier and running a 1:09:25. Then, to top off an already incredible season, Dobson finished third at the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge—the Jungfrau Marathon—in Switzerland, earning not only a podium spot, but also earned the second highest points toward Team USA’s Gold-Medal finish.
Dobson took a few minutes to answer some questions about uphill running, her past season, her involvement with the sport and what she hopes to achieve in 2013.
How did you get into mountain running?
Although I didn’t run in college, I did enjoy running recreationally during that time. The mountain running came into place many years after college, probably from the combination of my love of running and the passion I shared with my husband for hiking tall peaks. I was also fortunate to meet other awesome mountain runners, such as Brandy Erholtz and Scott Elliott who encouraged me and believed in me. After that, I met so many other wonderful people involved with the sport and saw so many gorgeous places that I fell in love with mountain running.
Uphill running is your specialty. Why do you love it?
Whether it’s biking, cross country skiing or running, uphill activities have come naturally to me for as long as I can remember. … It’s just who I am and the way I was made. My family jokes that I can do most things faster uphill than downhill, which is not too far from the truth! For me, the most rewarding part of running uphill is the sense of accomplishment it brings. My favorite thing about uphill running is the goal-oriented nature of an ascent. Each hill or mountain is different, but the objective is always to reach the top as best or as fast as you can. You have to fight to overcome mental and physical challenges as you climb to your destination. Once you reach the summit, you get to breathe, enjoy the stunning views and cruise back down the mountain.
How do you overcome the mental barriers of the "uphill grind"?
Before I run a hill, I accept that it is going to hurt and remember my goal, which is to always do the best I can do on that day. When I am on a long ascent in an important race or training run, I often recite a Bible verse or a favorite quote in my head. It’s a privilege and a blessing to have the ability to simply run, and I try to remind myself of that as often as possible.