Mike’s passion and enthusiasm for running long distances in the mountains stems directly from his upbringing. Growing up in the mountains in Montana, family vacations were week-long backpacking trips, not trips to Disneyland or Cancun. A love of long treks and adventures in the mountains was instilled in Mike from an early age.
After high school, Mike spent the next decade exploring wild places, in many different ways. From paddling 1,600 miles over a period of 90 days across the Arctic of Canada, to climbing first ascents on the Torres del Paine granite spires of Patagonia, Mike relished in such gallivanting adventures.
Having never been a formal runner growing up, Mike found his love of mountain running by borrowing a pair of Nike racing flats and racing the infamous Bridger Ridge Run, a rugged 20-mile mountain run on a whim without food or water, at age 18. After that, he was hooked.
Mike began competing seriously in ultrarunning in 2006 when he ran his second 50-mile race at the USATF U.S. 50-mile trail championship in White River, Washington. Mike won outright that year, then returned to win again in 2007. Later that summer, Mike won his first 100-miler, the Grand Targhee 100 in Wyoming.
In 2009, Mike was injured, partially tearing his him flexor during training. Mike was unable to run for the entire summer, so he turned to mountain biking, which he could do pain-free. After two months, Mike jumped into the Pierre’s Hole 100-mile mountain bike race in Idaho. Despite three flat tires in the last 20 miles, Mike still ended up third overall. Then, in October, Mike and The North Face teammates Nikki Kimball and Tracy Garneau, headed to the Amazon region of Brazil where the team placed first in the Jungle Marathon, a grueling 7-day self-supported stage running race.
In 2010, Mike focused his training on the 100-mile distance. In June, he set a new course record in the Bighorn 100-mile race in Wyoming in 18:43. He broke Karl Meltzer’s long-standing course record by over 40 minutes. Then, in August, Mike placed second overall in the Tour de France of ultrarunning, the Ultra Tail du Mont Blanc, Chamonix, France.
In 2011, Mike won the Way Too Cool 50km, one of the largest and most competitive 50-kilometer races in the U.S. He placed 2nd in the equally competitive Miwok 100km, and placed 2nd overall in the Western States 100, edged out by a mere 4-minutes in a tight race in the final miles against eventual winner Kilian Jornet of Spain.
Although Mike loves the competition aspect of ultrarunning, Mike’s true passion lies in the love of wild places, and the personal insight and exploration that comes from pushing oneself to the edge, maybe even over the edge, high in the mountains.
Favorite Destination for Your Sport: Chamonix, France
Favorite Movie: Jeremiah Johnson
Favorite Magazine: The New Yorker
Favorite Piece of Your Sport’s History: Gordy Ansleigh, father of 100 mile running at Western States, gave up his horse, ran it on foot!
Words to Live By: Talk minus action = zero.
Three TNF Things You Always Pack: Anamagi jacket, ball cap, Single-Track shoes
Causes: Balance in life, and public service.
Proudest Moment of Your Career: 2011 2nd place overall at Western States 100
Favorite Trail: Mt. Baldy, Bozeman Montana
Theme Music When Running: Nothing, listening to sounds around me
Training Nutrition: Lots of ice cream!
Training Regimen: Get up early and run. run at lunch. run after work!
Favorite Place to Travel: Sometimes I like traveling internationally to races to experience other cultures and communities. However, sometimes I just like local races where you know everyone and the community is tight-knit.
- Western States 100-Miler, California. 2nd place overall (15:38, ran 102 miles, took 15-20 minute detour early in race, getting lost)
- Miwok 100km, Sausalito, CA. 2nd place overall (8:06)
- Way Too Cool 50km, Cool, California. 1st place overall (3:28)
- Rocky Raccoon 100-Miler, Huntsville, Texas. 9th place overall (16:53)
- Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Chamonix, France. 2nd place overall (10:36 – race shortened to 100km due to weather cancellation)
- Bighorn 100-Mile Endurance Run, Dayton, Wyoming. 1st place overall (18:43, new course record—broke Karl Meltzer’s old course record by 35 minutes)
- Don’t Fence Me In 30 km, Helena, Montana. 1st place overall (2:15, new course record)
- American River 50-Mile, Sacramento, California. 4th place overall (6:03)
- The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championship, San Francisco, California. 7th place overall (7:14)
- Jungle Marathon, Alter de Chao, Brazil. 6-Day Stage Running Race, 225 km. 3rd place overall, 1st place in team category (Team North Face). My first stage race.
- Grand Targhee 100-Mile Mountain Bike Race, Alta, Wyoming. 5th place overall (10:32). My first Mountain Bike Race after starting mountain biking only 2 months prior to the race.
- PCT 50-Mile, San Diego, California. 1st place overall (7:12, course record)
- 2nd Place Overall in Ultra Division of 2008 Trail Runner La Sportiva Trophy Series.
- USATF 100-Mile National Championship (Tahoe Rim 100 Mile), Lake Tahoe, California. 1st place overall, national champion. (18:59)
- USATF 50-Mile National Championship (White River), Crystal Mountain, Washington. 1st place overall. (6:59)
- Bridger Ridge Run (20 Miles), Bozeman, Montana. 2nd place overall. (3:23)
- Grand Teton 100-Mile, Alta, Wyoming. 1st place overall. (24:12- new course record, breaking course record by over two hours. My first 100-miler ever).
- USATF 50-Mile National Championship (White River), Crystal Mountain, Washington. 1st place overall. (7:00)
Nordic Racing: 2008:
- OSCR 50k Freestyle, Seeley Lake, Montana. Second place overall. (2:34)
- Stillwater 50k Freestyle, Whitefish, Montana. First place overall. (2:20)
- OSCR 50k Freestyle, Seeley Lake, Montana. First place overall. (2:38)
- Sacajawea Classic 28k, Bozeman, Montana. Third place overall. (1:48)
- Interviewed and Profiled in February 2011 Trail Runner Magazine for 2010 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race.
- Profiled in Fall 2010 UltraFondus Magazine (French trail running magazine) for 2010 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race.
- Profiled Runner in June 2009 Trail Runner Magazine.