As the non-profit American Trail Running Association approaches a quarter century of service, we are interviewing trail runners from around the United States like Diane Groff who are participating in our 25th Anniversary Challenge. Through these profiles we’ll introduce you to lesser known every day athletes who are walking, hiking, or trail running their way to distance milestones and sharing their experiences with the community on social media.
We hope these interviews will inspire you to get out on the trails while getting to know trail runners from different parts of the country. If you haven’t already joined our 25th Anniversary Challenge, you can learn more about it and sign-up on our website.
Let’s get to know Diane Groff
Hometown: Longmont, Colorado
Challenge region: West
Years running trails: 46
Average miles per week on trails: 15 to 20
Favorite race distance: 10K
Longest trail race completed: 13K. I also ran 22 miles over the Teton Mountain Range on my 22nd birthday.
[American Trail Running Association] How did you get into trail running?
[Diane Groff] I grew up in Western Maryland and ran the Wisp Mountain Resort ski trails for conditioning, and I loved seeing the terrain in the summer. We had a very steep run right at the base and lodge and to run uphill was quite the workout. This was back in 1974, and I think I was running in my Converse tennis shoes, as that is what I wore all the time then. I did own the first edition of a Nike Waffle shoe and read every issue of Runner’s World from cover to cover in the late 70s.
[ATRA] What motivates you to get out and run on trails?
[Groff] I have a personal motto: “Moving through Space and Slipping through Time.” Having fitness as my base has helped me recover from the “free fall” of a second Breast Cancer diagnosis and since 2001, I have been full of gratitude for 19 years of thriving while surviving. I love the out of doors and trail running allows me to immerse myself in all that renews me. And, when I get to share with friends, the joys of being active and out on the trails, well that’s even more fulfilling. Sharing happiness is the best experience!!
[ATRA] What has your experience been running on trails versus running on roads?
[Groff] I first started running the trails of my local ski area to condition for ski season when I was 17 years old, in 1974. I ran to be conditioned for downhill ski racing and competed at Utah State University’s Ski Team from 1976-78. Along the way I discovered cross country skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking, and biking. Living in Utah, Idaho and Colorado, has given me so many opportunities to share with family and friends. Always an adventure worth experiencing.
[ATRA] What do you like best about being part of the trail running community?
[Groff] It’s supportive and friendly. It is such a pure unobstructed opportunity to get to know one another out on the trails where important topics get discussed and friendships are forged.
[ATRA] What advice would you give to someone trying trail running for the first time?
[Groff] Start with a walk/jog combination and cultivate friendships with those who will support you and join you. Be consistent, build mileage gradually and enjoy the journey.
[ATRA] How did you first learn about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Groff] As a member of the American Trail Running Association, I started hearing about this celebration in the monthly email newsletter.
[ATRA] What do you enjoy most about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Groff] The weekly trail teasers are fun to incorporate into my runs. Thank you for all the wonderful contests over the years as well. You always have quality prizes!
[ATRA] Part of our 25th Anniversary Challenge is the weekly trail teaser. What trail teaser would you like to see during the challenge?
[Groff] I’d like to see the inclusion of our furry friends that may run trails with us. Also posting photos of plants going to seed, pine cones, and would love to see animal tracks in fresh snow.
[ATRA] How has our 25th Anniversary Challenge has motivated you?
[Groff] Sharing the joys of being active in the outdoors with a fun community challenge. As we head into winter, I am normally training for snowshoe race season starting in January. But, with COVID-19, having a fun running challenge is just the motivator, plus a great organization to support!
[ATRA] What is your favorite post-run or post-race indulgence?
[Groff] In winter, a hot thermos waiting in the car. Also, green tea in the morning and herbal tea in the afternoon.
[ATRA] What is your favorite trail running shoe?
[Groff] I like the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 or the King Mountain 2 for rockier trails.
[ATRA] What is your favorite time of day to run trails?
[Groff] Early mornings in the summer and late mornings in winter.
Diane Groff’s pick one quiz results:
- She prefers Single Track to Wide Path
- She prefers Uphill instead of Downhill running
- Prefers Planking over Pushups
- Likes Foam Rolling instead of Massage
- Prefers Speed Work over Long Runs
If you enjoyed this interview with Amy Machael, there’s more! Our earlier challenge profiles include interviews with Jeanette Reynolds, Amy Machael, Anastasia Christman, George Rehmet, Long Island’s Tim McNamara, San Antonio, Texas trail runner Kimberly Aubuchon, Sandra Galindo and Brooklyn’s Zobel Belisario.