Seth Swanson has quietly climbed to the top of American trail running in the last five years. He placed fourth in the 2015 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, the 104-mile race in Chamonix, France and twice was runner-up in the famed Western States Endurance Run. He also set a course-record run at Washington’s Cascade Crest 100 in 2014.
He became a good skier and then a mountain biker. Then he raced a duathlon, which he entered in 2008, marking the first time he had run in years. He caught the bug, returned to the event a year later, and won. The years following included an Ironman triathlon and Montana’s Bridger Ridge Run, as well as an unofficial ultra—his first venture to longer distances.
As much as Swanson has grown as a runner, he’s never checked his heart rate and doesn’t follow a strict training plan. But the father of two and horticulture extension agent at Montana State University prioritizes his limited time to make each run count.
- 2nd place Western States (2014, 2015)
- 1st place and course record, Cascade Crest 100 (2014)
- 4th place Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 166K (2015)
- 2nd place Lavaredo Ultra Trail (2017)
- 2015 Big Dipper Ice Cream eating contest champion