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Though a recent arrival on the trail scene, Magda Boulet has been running competitively for well over a decade. She has notched top-10 finishes at the last three U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (and qualified for a fourth, in 2016), logging a PR of 2:26:22 along the way. Her repertoire extends to track races as short as 5,000 meters and, most recently, trail races as long as 100 miles.
Since her ultra debut—the 2013 North Face 50-mile in San Francisco, where she came in second—Boulet has put together an impressive string of podium finishes, mostly wins. This year alone, she’s won the Sean O’Brien 100K, the Chuckanut 50K, the Canyons 100K and the Western States Endurance Run, her first 100-miler.
Boulet, who is 41, lives in Oakland, California. Between training, racing, coaching, directing R&D at GU Energy and spending time with her husband, Richie, and their 10-year-old son, Owen, she stays plenty busy. How does she fit it all in? It comes down to “how you juggle the intensity and the racing,” she told Trail Runner in June, a little over a week before Western States. “I’ve made running my lifestyle.”
Here, she shares a few of her thoughts on running and life.
Transitioning: I’ve trained 15 to 20 years [for] racing on roads or on the track. I was ready for a new challenge.
Hill training: It was really difficult to justify doing 18 miles in four hours when I can crank out, in two-and-a-half hours, a 20-mile run. It required a different approach.
First trail race: It took me two hours to do a half-marathon. It was the first time I walked in a race. I had really mixed feelings about that.
Fitting right in: The trail-running community’s super intimate and very supportive. I feel like I have gained an instant family.
Getting to 100: I had to put in my years of training. It was just a matter of time before I tried something longer. And I totally prefer to do that kind of distance on trails.
Training as a mom: When I started training, I always had a plan A that needed to be done a certain way. Now I have plan A, plan B, plan C, it goes on. And if something comes up, I’m OK with it.
Not alone: I married an awesome guy who likes to balance things as well. We both love to run, and giving each other time to do this makes us better parents.
Proudest running achievement: Having longevity in the sport. Versus being really, really good for only a few years and then walking away.
Proudest life achievement: Being a mom, and a well-balanced mom. I’m proud of being a good example for my son.