As the non-profit American Trail Running Association enters a quarter century of service, we are interviewing trail runners from around the United States like Stephanie Davies, who are participating in the winter edition of 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 Stephanie Davies
Hometown: Belmont, California
25th Anniversary Challenge Region: West
Years running trails: 35
Average miles per week on trails: 25 to 30
Favorite race distance: 50K
Longest trail race completed: 48 miles
[American Trail Running Association] How did you get into trail running?
[Stephanie Davies] I started trail running when I was young. My dad was a cross country coach. I used to run on the trails near my childhood home in New Jersey.
[ATRA] What motivates you to get out and run on trails?
[Davies] The need to get out of my head. Especially during COVID when everyone is home and the house seems to get smaller and smaller each day, I find that getting out, even for just 4-5 miles really helps. Another motivation is when I need to think. I put a lot of my ideas together for managing events out there on the trails.
[ATRA]What has your experience been running on trails vs. running on roads?
[Davies] As I have gotten older, I have found that running on trails actually helps keep me in better shape. I use different muscles for stability and balance on the trails. I have had less repetitive injuries. Running on the road hurts for more than a 10k.
[ATRA] What do you like best about being part of the trail running community?
[Davies] I have found that every trail athlete has been so helpful to those who are less experienced. There is always something to be learned. Being a part of the community allows me the opportunity to leverage my peers for ideas, best practices I can implement, and I would be remiss if I did not mention that some of the best friendships in my life have come from people who I have met in the trail running community.
[ATRA] What advice would you give someone trail running for the first time?
[Davies] The advice I would give to a person just starting out would be to know your terrain. Make sure that you have the proper shoes for that terrain. Additionally, I would add that as a new runner on trails, starting out slowly is very important so that you gain confidence in your footing and your ability to follow the trails. Always plan your route ahead of time, if you can and make a cheat sheet for yourself so that you know the trail names if you need to for a successful run.
[ATRA] How did you first learn about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Davies] I heard about the 25th Anniversary ATRA Challenge because I have been involved with ATRA for about 3 years now. I am one of ATRA’s ambassadors https://trailrunner.com/trail-news/meet-atra-trail-ambassador-stephanie-davies/. I try to keep my finger on the pulse of trail running and ATRA really helps educate, inform, and inspire.
[ATRA] What do you enjoy most about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Davies] I enjoy reading the highlights on the Facebook Group page. It is really a nice thing to be a part of something during this crazy time we are in. Personally, this fun challenge has helped me forget about the world.
[ATRA] How the 25th Anniversary Challenge has motivated you?
[Davies] In my town of Belmont (Beautiful Mountain), it is easy to get elevation on practically any route I choose. Just seeing that 14k challenge was enough for me to get out there and play a little more. I needed a challenge to get me out there and running more. The good thing – I see more people out running these days. The bad thing – they all found my trails – LOL.
Stephanie’s favorite post-run or post-race indulgence: Post race – potato chips. I can’t seem to get enough of them.
Stephanie’s favorite trail running shoe: Salomon Speedcross.
Stephanie’s favorite time of day to run trails: Mornings – it is peaceful, still, and the air is lighter.
Stephanie Davies’ pick one quiz results:
- She prefers Single Track to Wide Path
- She prefers Downhill running over Uphill Running
- She prefers Planking over Pushups
- She prefers Massage over Foam Rolling
- She prefers Long Runs over Speed Work
If you enjoyed this interview with Stephanie Davies, there’s more! Our earlier challenge profiles include interviews with Tyler Lahti, Diane Groff, 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.