The Boston Marathon unites distance runners from all backgrounds, abilities, and disciplines. At his first Boston Marathon, Canmore’s Karl Augsten, 27, ran the fastest time this year for a Canadian competitor in 2:25:30. Although the 2018 Canadian Mountain Running Champion usually spends his winters training for the road, his heart remains in the trails and mountains.
The software developer began running in high school, and started training more consistently five years ago. At first, he focused on the road, but living in the Canadian Rockies, he soon “became obsessed with trying to run the mountains and trails.” Transitioning back to the road for a marathon was an entirely different feat. “It was a venture into the unknown that would change my life forever.”
Augsten set the goal of running sub 2:25, if the conditions were favourable. As a trail runner at heart, Augsten also wanted to “crush the Newton hills” at Boston. It’s no secret that training for the trails and in the mountains can help prepare the legs for pounding pavement–especially for the downhills at Boston. “Running mountains and trails makes your quads bomb-proof, and that definitely helps to survive the downhills at Boston,” he explains.
The race went well for the Alberta native. With beet juice in his belly, Augsten felt “happy it wasn’t a head wind with cold rain! Training for Boston while living in Canmore is tough with all the snow and cold weather we get. Injuries always crop up for me when I run fast in the snow, but I did what I could. I always prefer training for a road race during the winter, so I’m not out spending long hours running slow on bitterly cold winter days.”
Augsten believes road running and trail running are completely different sports. Now that he has crossed the Boston finish line, he will be returning to the trails and mountains. Luckily, experience has taught him that transitioning back to trails from the roads is somewhat easier than the other way around. As much as he enjoys running fast, Augsten loves the different challenges the trails and mountains bring. “I love seeing a mountain or trail that looks insurmountable. Something you don’t know if you would be able to accomplish, and setting out on an adventure of completing it.”