WATCH: Meet Mountain Athlete Meredith Edwards
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Meredith June Edwards started running through the fields on her parents’ farm when she was a kid in Pennsylvania, in the wake of a traumatic incident that left her constantly anxious and stressed. She hasn’t stopped running since.
Now 33, and living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Edwards has morphed into an elite-level mountain ultra runner, with podium finishes at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc TDS race, the Javelina Jundred 100K and the Flagstaff Skyrace 55K. She is also a member of the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Team.
When she’s not on in the mountains, Edwards spends her time working at a treatment center for children with physical and cognitive disabilities.
You ran your first 100-mile race at the 2017 UTMB—what did you learn from the experience?
My biggest challenge was handling the stress of the whole event and the expectations I placed on myself. I’ve learned that 100 milers are an intense emotional journey, and to be successful you need to strengthen your mental game. I’m going to be working on my personal self-talk and validation.
Despite taking on longer races, you still make time to hit the track. Why?
I stick to the track to keep my turn-over speed. Doing lots of volume and vertical can make you slow, and I personally love running on the track. It’s a great way to keep things interesting and fresh.
How do skiing and running compliment one another?
Everyone always asks which one you like more. The truth is: I’ll never pick one, and I don’t want to. I grew up doing both, and I feel they benefit one another. Ski-mountaineering (Skimo) racing is a great break on the body from months of running; and usually when ski season is over I’m excited to run again. It’s a great way to not get burned out on either sport. Plus, Skimo is much shorter in duration and is often really fast. This keeps my threshold high for running, which can be quite slow.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently in China for the Ultra Tour Mt Siguniang 60K. It’s going to be a fantastic race. The average course elevation is at 13,000 feet with 13,000 feet of climbing. After that, I’m doing the Wolf Creek Skimo race November 18. I’ll transition into Skimo season after that.
What is your favorite place to run and ski in Jackson Hole?
I love Grand Teton National Park for both running and skiing. My favorite run is the Valley Trail. It’s about 23 miles and runs from String Lake to Teton village. To ski, I really enjoy the Middle Teton. You can make it super mellow or get scared quite quick.
What’s your number-one race-day pump up song?
Sylvan Esso Radio
What tips do you have for runners balancing training with career?
It’s important to make a schedule and to set small goals to help you achieve your big ones. I never look at training and work as impossible. I just get it done.
CALL FOR YOUR STORIES—Jaybird supports athletes from all walks of life in chasing their running dreams around the world. Jaybird also wants to hear your stories. Share your motivation for running in a short story and hashtag #whyirunjaybird on Instagram for a chance to win weekly prizes including earbuds and a chance to be featured on our social channels.