227: Clare Gallagher & Abby Levene on Activism, Trail Running, and a Decade-long Friendship

“It’s the community, and it’s the, being out on dirt, on rocks, in forests, on ridge-lines, in the elements, you don’t even have to be in like the sexy rocky mountains right, you could be in the middle of your urban park in just name, name your state, and if you’re out there with a love for what you’re doing and a passion for your environment, like you are trail running”
– Clare Gallagher

“The beauty of trail running is that it’s really just an expansive way of thinking about running itself and like just going outside and putting one foot in front of the other on whatever medium you have available to you”
– Abby Levene

Clare Gallagher and Abby Levene have been best friends for a decade, are professional trail runners living in Boulder Colorado, and activists.

Clare is a Patagonia athlete and works for Patagonia doing advocacy work. She has won the prestigious Leadville 100, CCC (101km sister race of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc) and was the 2019 Western States 100 winner, where she ran the second fastest female time in race history. Days after this podcast was recorded, Clare was announced and awarded the #2 Female UROY (Ultra-runner Magazines Ultra Runner of the Year award) for 2019.

Abby is a former national champion professional triathlete, who took up ultra trail running after stepping away from triathlon. She now runs for Adidas and works as a writer. Most recently, Abby placed 5th in the deeply competitive North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile race in San Francisco. Clare and Abby bring high energy and candidness to this episode, which really highlights their friendship. This conversation is full of laughter, as well as touching on the following themes:

  • How Abby and Clare met, and their time together running at Princeton
  • Eating disorder culture in collegiate running
  • Role models in the sport of ultra-running
  • The paths that led both of them to move to Boulder and start trail running, and how their stories intertwine
  • The importance of community
  • What running means to them
  • Their time in Ethiopia with Girls Gotta Run Foundation
  • The power and importance of advocacy
  • The intersection of advocacy and being a professional athlete
  • The ethics and carbon footprint of being an athlete
  • Their future plans both on and off the trails
  • Sharing stories of their favourite runs together and describing each other in three words

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