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 Tyler Lahti, 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 Tyler Lahti
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
25th Anniversary Challenge Region: Southeast
Years running trails: 5
Average miles per week on trails: 17
Favorite race distance: 50K
Longest trail race completed: 52.5 miles at the 12-hour Run for Kids at Oak Mountain, my first ultra distance race.
[American Trail Running Association] How did you get into trail running?
[Tyler Lahti] I started running trails when I moved to Birmingham, Alabama after college in 2014, though at that point I still ran much more roads while trails were a weekend thing. There are plenty of good trails right around the city, including Oak Mountain State Park, Red Mountain Park, and Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve. A couple years later, I bought a house near Ruffner Mountain, and that’s when I started running trails most days of the week when not traveling for work. Ruffner is a gem.
[ATRA] What motivates you to get out and run on trails?
[Lahti] My mental and physical health, in that order. For me running is meditative, like a mental recovery. And trail running requires complete focus on what your doing, so my mind gets a break from whatever else is going on in life. After running, I feel mentally reset. And of course it’s good for my physical body.
[ATRA] What has your experience been running on trails vs. running on roads?
[Lahti] I used to run much more roads than trails. I didn’t run at all until the very end of my time in college. And since then I ran 7 road marathons and several other road races of different distances. I didn’t run a true trail race until a few years ago, one in Birmingham with BUTS. Now I run a pretty even mix of trails and road, mostly because of my proximity to the trails and availability during the week.
[ATRA] What do you like best about being part of the trail running community?
[Lahti] The people are the greatest. My experience is that trail running is generally less competitive and more about camaraderie. I run with a group of folks in Atlanta, we call ourselves the Atlanta Trail Runners. Being newer to Atlanta, I’ve made some great, close friends that way. It’s been particularly important to my well being during Covid times.
[ATRA] What advice would you give someone trail running for the first time?
[Lahti] Expect to run slower…and just enjoy the scenery. Nature is something else. Enjoy it (and please take care of it!).
[ATRA] How did you first learn about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Lahti] I read about it in the ATRA email newsletter, I believe. And it sounded like a run challenge, and I wanted to participate a bit more with the broader trail running community.
[ATRA] What do you enjoy most about our 25th Anniversary Challenge?
[Lahti] Learning about the other folks running has been super interesting. People from all walks of life.
[ATRA] How the 25th Anniversary Challenge has motivated you?
[Lahti] It’s given me a good goal to start off the year. I only have a couple races planned, so this has been a challenge that has helped me be consistent to start the year
Tyler Lahti’s pick one quiz results:
- He prefers Single Track to Wide Path
- He prefers Uphill instead of Downhill running
- He prefers Pushups over Planking
- He prefers Massage over Foam Rolling
- He prefers Long Runs over Speed Work
If you enjoyed this interview with Tyler Lahti, there’s more! Our earlier challenge profiles include interviews with 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.