What drives Candice Burt
Even newbies to the ultra running world recognize Candice Burt as someone who is driven and passionate about the sport. It’s her internal drive that makes up her “why.”
Her why for racing as a competitor and seeking FKTs.
Her why for creating and race directing 200-mile epic adventures.
Her why for launching a new podcast, “Humans of Ultrarunning.”
“I'm a driven person, I can't live any other way,” Burt admits. “I always want to do the best I can and the most I can. 'Content' is a word that I don't understand or feel; I never have. I enjoy reaching for the next challenge and so it is a natural thing for me to keep pushing my own boundaries as a runner and a race director and in every other aspect of my life.”
Even after concluding her 200-mile race series — Big Foot 200, the Moab 240 and Tahoe 200 — Burt is still running, training, podcasting and dreaming up the next big thing. “It makes life difficult sometimes to always be on the go and reaching, but there's always something happening in my world. It's exciting.”
Always going longer
Burt always remembers being active, saying she’s always been a runner and loved the outdoors, She ran competitively in high school cross country and track and field. Even then she preferred the longer distances.
“I like the longer races because they lasted longer and because I was better at endurance than sprinting,” she says. “I began running ultramarathons when I was 28 years old and looking for some sort of escape from my day to day life that felt dull and unstimulating. I became hooked after my first 50K — it was so hard and I loved the community I met.”
Her drive pushed her forward. How much farther could she go? She ticked off 100-milers, 200-mile distances, and fastpacking and FKT adventures.
Burt didn’t actually set out to create a 200-mile race but she has assembled quite a niche.
“I just wanted to make a race around Lake Tahoe and it happened to be 200 miles,” she says. “I’m not sure I would’ve done it if I’d known how much work it was.”
After the 2014 Tahoe race, Burt went to work on another 200-miler she “dreamed up” in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state.
“It was like a switch had turned ON and I’d found something that really no other race director was doing in the United States on that scale,” she explains. “That challenged me beyond my capability and limits. Only an ultra runner could get hooked so hard by something so ridiculous.”
Burt was confident that the Tahoe 200 would be successful. Still, she was surprised how many people wanted more 200-milers.
In three years, she had a three non-repetitive 200-mile races (single loop or point to point) in remote locations in four states. “Somehow with a combination of timing and passion I’d sold out almost every spot in all three races making my company the producer of the biggest 200s in the USA and second, third and fourth biggest 200s in the world.”
Burt recently launched her podcast, “Humans of Ultrarunning,” after talking about and planning it for six years.
“It’s a natural medium for me,” says Burt, who has appeared on podcasts during that time. “I want to focus on deeper topics in the ultra running world, the types I am covering in my new site, 'Humans of Ultrarunning.' The humanistic side. The real, gritty, raw and intense stories. Stories of hope and of giving back. Inspiration basically.”
Her guests will include elites, middle-of-the-packers, and back-of-the-packers, virtually any ultra runners. “It's not about performances per se, it’s more about the story behind the person and their journey.”
While there are other longer feats of endurance — the Vol State 500, multi-day stage races, etc. — the Destination Trail series is prompting ultra followers to wonder what’s next.
“There will always be a demand, albeit small, for longer and longer adventures,” Burt says. “200s are becoming so popular because they are still short enough that anyone can get the time off, make them happen but the 500-, 800-, 1000-mile routes just aren't accessible for most people with lives and jobs outside running.”
So what’s next for Burt and Destination Trail?
“I am working on a longer than 200-mile race, but it is going to take some time to get it ready to reveal!”
Name: Candice Burt
Hometown: Leavenworth, Wash.
Number of years running: 20
How many miles a week do you typically run: 100
Favorite race distance: 100+ miles
Favorite pre-race or training food/drink: peanut butter and honey sandwiches
Favorite piece of gear: Altra Superior shoes
Favorite or inspirational song to run to: “Unstoppable” — Sia
Favorite or inspirational mantra/phrase: “Somebody ought to tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit every minute of every day. Do it, I say, whatever you want to do, do it now.” — Michael Landon
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