On February 1st 2014, Craig Lloyd was appointed the new Chief Operating Officer for TrailAndUltraRunning.com. An author, competitive athlete, and a dear friend; Craig invests his time into the growth of trail running, assisting other athletes, and writing to share his passions. While he hides under a jovial laugh and his tag of “shameless self promoter,” Craig’s dedication to inspire and mentor other runners will take TrailAndUltraRunning.com to the next level. I took the opportunity to discuss with Craig the change to COO and to learn a little more about the man behind the TAUR scenes.
Craig, what drives and inspires you as a trail runner?
My surroundings and “the line”. “The line” is a rock climbing term referring to the aesthetics of the climb. In running, what inspires me is how the trail turns, the technicality presented in front of me, where it leads, and the solitude that surrounds me. Even boring, repetitive runs can inspire me simply by their familiarity.
Tell us about your first ultra.
My first ultra was an adventure run with the legendary Davy Crockett. He has been my mentor since I started running. My longest run to that time had been 20 miles. He offered to take me on a tour of dirt roads and ATV trails around a local mountain by his house, Lake Mountain. It isn’t a tough course, but mentally challenging due to some long, straight road sections and continuous rolling hills. By mile 25 my legs were wrecked, my form had gone to crap, and the result was an inflamed IT Band. I came close to running out of water. …It was a brutally tough day, but I was hooked for good.
Who were your mentors in trail/ultra-running? Do you view yourself as a mentor, in person and/or virtually?
Davy Crockett is responsible for getting me into this silly sport. To this day he continues to be an inspiration to me, and a valued friend. Every single one of my other running heroes I run with every week. They are my closest friends and it is they who inspire me the most. Am I a mentor to others? I frequently give advice to friends and strangers. I don’t know if I really inspire others though. I just have a good time and like to share my experiences with others. (Author’s note: In local running circles, Craig is a leader and inspiration/mentor to many, organizing group adventure runs and taking time to pace his friends)
Explain your perfect day in the perfect place on the perfect run:
I’ve had enough perfect days to know exactly how to answer this question: deep the Utah Uinta Mountains with two or three of my closest friends, far away from cars, buildings, noise, and the humdrum of everyday life.
Outside of running, what makes you tick in the real world?
I love to read. I’m pretty much open to all genres of reading, but I generally read science fiction or classics. And playing with my kids. I’m a big family man and will sacrifice everything for them, even running.
How did TAUR begin, and how did you get involved?
TAUR was originally started as a public blog by Mark Kruezer (our CFO) and a partner, who eventually gave up his control to move on to other projects. Mark discovered my personal blog refuse2quit.com and asked if he could use a few of my articles to post on TAUR. From there I started writing regularly. Over time we wanted to expand on product reviews and I seemed to be the obvious choice to run it. Product reviews have been wildly successful for us because we manage them different then almost all other publications. Companies appreciate our methods and our readers drink it up.
How much time do you spend each week on TAUR?
As the Product Review Coordinator I was spending 10-15 hours a week, all outside of a very busy and taxing real job (I still have to pay the bills). As COO I’m expecting to increase that amount by about 25% initially. But with the goals we have for 2014 I think that will increase again significantly. Luckily, I have a very supportive wife who understands what we are trying to accomplish and even pushes me to spend time on TAUR.
So what drives you to invest this much time? How do you fit it in amongst work, family, and training?
There is a quote by a motivational speaker, Les Brown – “If you want something bad enough to go out and fight for it, work day and night for it, to give up your time, your peace, and your sleep for it…….if dogged and grim you beseech and beset it, with the help of God, YOU WILL GET IT”. TAUR is that important to me. And because of that, we as a stakeholder team will do whatever it takes to make is successful.
Where do you see TAUR going within the next 5 years?
Without giving too much away I’ll just say that our goal is to lead the market space in online trail and ultarunning content.
What does the TAUR headquarters look like?
Go find your favorite place in the mountains. That’s our headquarters. We meet in the woods and on the trails. Business decisions are made over meals of energy gels and beef jerky. Come to TAUR headquarters and you’ll see first-hand.
Any sponsor plugs?
I’m currently sponsored by Altra Zero Drop Shoes, Gnarly Nutrition, and Ultraspire.
What did you eat for lunch yesterday?
Uh, honestly, it was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (I made it for my kids), fruit, and a sugar cookie.
And, for kicks, if you were a kitchen appliance, which one would you be and why?
I’m a Microwave. I have multiple settings and generally degrade the quality of people who come within range of me.