category:Five Questions With

Five Questions for Ultra Runner Patrick Caron Interview By James Demer

Ultra Runner Patrick Caron
Photo by Philipp Reiter.

Patrick Caron is a young trail runner who is taking the world by storm. He seems to have limitless ability, and his love for not only the sport of trail running but life itself is inspiring and infectious. It was fun to sit down with Patrick and learn a little about what makes him tick, and what his plans are for the future.

Ultra Running and Patrick Caron A young Patrick Caron

James: Ultra distance trail running is not something people typically get into until they are in their late 20’s and 30’s. You’ve been running ultras since you were a teenager! How did you get your start and what made you want to keep running long trail races?

Patrick: My first foray into the ultra world was the TARC Fall Classic in September of 2015, although I felt the draw of mountain-ultra-trail running long before that. As a young kid, I was involved in almost every sport possible, but it took until 6th grade before I really started to pursue running as a stand-alone sport. I competed in cross-country and track & field all the way through my senior year of high school, and I dabbled in some low-key road and trail races on the side.

By this point in my life, I fully identified as a runner and felt it defined who I was. I immersed myself daily in my Runner’s World, Trail Runner, and Outside Magazine subscriptions, and it was there I discovered the crazy sport of ultra running. Immediately, it called to me, and the articles and breathtaking photography inspired me.

The summer after I graduated high school, I quickly began to ramp up my mileage, spending long days on the trails around where I live. I also joined dozens of group runs with nearby running clubs so I could observe and hopefully learn from those who were more experienced. I entered my first ultra that fall with very few expectations, never having raced a marathon (let alone a half-marathon!) before, and, although I certainly learned quite a few lessons along the way (and am still learning them), I was successful in completing all 50 miles. I left that day feeling proud and yearning for more, with a newfound passion that would take me all the way to where I am today. 

Patrick Caron: Salomon Sponsored Athlete

James: You’re a Salomon sponsored athlete, and that’s brought some cool opportunities to race and travel to other countries. Has that experience been scary for you? As a younger athlete do you feel intimidated or encouraged by more experienced athletes on your team? Any memorable travel experiences that have stuck with you?

Patrick: Yes, it’s certainly been pretty intimidating attending some of these major international ultras! The folks at Salomon expressed there weren’t any expectations of me in these first few races, and they were just hoping for me to learn from the experiences, good or bad, but I certainly had my own expectations. Whenever I toe the starting line of a race, no matter what the competition level, I’m always trying to get the best out of myself on that day, and hoping that it’s better than everyone else's. Of course, I’m also hoping to enjoy the experience and the beauty of the trails and terrain on which I’m running, but the drive to compete is always there, too. La Palmas

My Salomon teammates have never left me feeling intimidated, though, and one of the main observations I’ve made in the time we’ve spent together is how calm and composed they always seem, and how they approach every race and event with a fun, playful attitude. For many of them, they’ve lived this lifestyle for the last several years, and, for me, it’s incredible to have the opportunity to surround myself and learn from them because one day I’d love to be where they are now.

James: I’d imagine you spend a lot of time running and training. What do you do when you’re NOT running? If you listen to music, what are you listening to these days?

Patrick: Haha, you’re right. Sometimes it feels like all my time is spent running! But there are plenty of hours in a week, and the ones not spent out on the roads and trails are occupied by several other jobs or hobbies of mine. By day, I work at Marathon Sports, a local running specialty shop here in the Greater Boston area, and more recently I have been coaching Needham’s Middle School Cross-Country Team, which has been a gratifying experience, considering that’s where I first really discovered my love for the sport. I also am a coach and volunteer for the Boston Bulldogs Running Club, a non-profit organization established to provide an anonymous and safe community of support for all those adversely affected by addiction through running and wellness. Patrick Caron, Move Free

Patrick: I launched a new venture this fall that I’m excited to put more energy into! It’s called Move Free. We are a hat and apparel brand with a goal of connecting our products with people who are passionate about environmental stewardship and activism. And although I’m not big on listening to music while I run, I can be found jamming out to plenty of music in between everything going on - I can always use a little extra pep in my step! I enjoy mainly happy, upbeat tunes, whether it’s pop or dance music, from artists such as Avicii, Bastille, Lauv, Halsey, and Kendrick Lamar. Also, although I just mentioned I don’t listen to much music while running, there’s nothing quite like a late night winter run with fresh snow falling while listening to Yo-Yo Ma’s Cello Suite No. 1! Move Free Patrick Caron, Dream Races

James: What dream races are on your bucket list?

Patrick: At one point I used to keep a list, but then I realized I was adding practically every race to it! At this point, I’m still young and hopefully have plenty of years of running ahead of me, so I’m in no rush to do any one race although, of course, I’d love to participate in some of the big ones in the next few years, including Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, Western States Endurance Run, and Hardrock 100. Also, after experiencing the European racing scene this past summer, I’m eager to race more of the pinnacle ultra races they have to offer, as the sport’s on a whole other level there compared to the US. I’ve always been drawn to New Zealand too, so I’d hop on a flight there in a heartbeat! And although they aren’t races per se, closer to home there are many FKTs on New Hampshire and Vermont trails that I’d love to chase!

James: One of the things that I love so much about following you on social media are your positive messages and big smiles that seem to be a part of every post. Tell me more about why you choose to present yourself to the world like that.

Patrick: Well, thanks! There’s enough negativity out there, and I’m trying my best not to be a part of it. The trails have always been my happy place where I’m at peace with myself and the world. Running and movement bring me tremendous joy, and I hope to share this joy with others, to inspire them to pursue their own passions, whatever they may be. One of my favorite quotes, written by mountain running superstar Kilian Jornet, is, “I think I run simply because I like doing it; I enjoy every minute and don’t wonder why. I know that when I am running, my body and mind are in harmony and allow me to feel that I am free, can fly, and can express myself through all my talents.”

Also, positivity is a performance enhancer! We all have our own challenges and struggles, in races and in life, and that’s totally okay, but by acknowledging and focusing on the positives, we can shift our mindset. Races are meant to be a celebration of our training and all the hard work we’ve put in, so we deserve to have a little fun with them! Positive energy feeds upon itself, and by spreading a little here and there with a “Great job” or “Way to go,” you’ll find that it comes right back to you. Lastly, I’m incredibly thankful for the running community and everything they have given me. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of a whole bunch of people, and as a result, I love to support other runners in their journeys, whatever their goals may be.

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