“I started to like running more than I liked being at the bar, and it’s really one or the other with that.”
Welcome everyone to episode Twenty-Two of the “It Matters To Me Podcast”! I’m your host, Adam Casey, and today my guest is Robbie Balenger, a professional ultra-runner whose accomplishments such as a run across America and breaking the world record for running the most number of loops around Central Park in New York City are almost too impressive to list.
Robbie explains how he evolved into the phenomenal runner he is today from an unlikely childhood where he was often a mischievous kid who played football and counter to his current athletic demands, was an offensive lineman.
He also talks about how the first real intro to running came later in life when he was living in Austin, TX, and his girlfriend invited him on a run. That moment became a catalyst for him to leave behind his hard-partying lifestyle and take his health and fitness much more seriously. Most notably was transitioning to a plant-based diet over the years out of personal and environmental concerns.
We then get into his most recent feat, something called the ‘Colorado Crush’, an adventure that included the Leadville Trail Marathon, traversing The Colorado Trail (485 miles in 11.5 days), the Leadville Silver Rush 50-miler, summiting all 58 peaks over 14K feet in Colorado, and The Leadville Trail 100-miler in just a measly 63 days.
Robbie details how the motivation to do the Colorado Crush was born out of a necessity to reconnect with his active personality during a time when the COVID pandemic was forcing him and his job to become more sedentary.
This one’s filled with some great advice about how to handle a race or big physical event once it’s over and the importance of finding a way to always be active.
Our conversation does get into the mental health side of ultra-running a little bit more than some other episodes, but I didn’t want to shy away from that topic because I sincerely think it’s important those discussions are out in the public view.
Robbie was someone I’ve been hoping to have on the show for a while and am so thankful he was able to open up the way he did. Yet another irrevocably ‘good dude’ who couldn’t have been more gracious and friendly.
Robbie Balenger (Instagram):
Robbie Balenger (Website):
It Matters To Me (Instagram):
Trans-Con (Run across the U.S.):
Outdoor Herbivore (camping meals):