Welcome to part three in a series highlighting each panelist for the upcoming film festival on March 8, 2018, No Man’s Land: “an all-woman adventure film festival based out of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado that meets a need and desire to highlight and connect with women in pursuit of the radical.”
CLARE GALLAGHER – ULTRA RUNNER
FERAL: Let’s start with an introduction! Tell us about yourself…where you’re from, when you came to Colorado, how you got into the outdoors – whatever it is that has shaped where you are now.
CLARE: I grew up in Colorado with an outdoorsy family. I ran track and cross country in college, where I also studied the impacts of climate change on coral reefs and other ecosystems. Hard not to care about our earth when you see coral graveyards and hungry people from lack of fish.
FERAL: It’s no secret you’re a complete and utter badass. Most people can’t even comprehend running 20 miles, let alone 100. What gives you your super powers? Say, what does your morning routine look like?
CLARE: When you have a brother who’s a green beret and another who’s a public defender, running 100 miles is chump change. I despise waking up.
FERAL: Many know you for your 2016 Leadville 100 win. Can you talk a little bit about what that meant for your identity as an ultrarunner, and how that extended beyond the sport?
CLARE: I was 24 when I won Leadville. I became a sponsored runner. I gave up a lot of my academic and intellectual goals in one fell swoop of winning Leadville. I’m trying to regain those goals and that purpose now, two years after Leadville. Being a Patagongia Ambassador now is one way I’m regaining my sense of purpose to better our earth.
FERAL: You intertwine your passion for running with environmental activism, with a very pragmatic attitude. Can you please share what some of your approaches and hopes for promoting environmentalism look like?
CLARE: Helping remind people how easy it is to google things like “public land issues in my county.” Or, “What is the Department of the Interior?” Or, “Why are Ryan Zinke and Scott Pruitt so bad at their jobs?
FERAL: While the gap between “male” and “female” runner/athlete is closing a bit, it’s still important to discuss equality and further closing that gap in sport and the outdoors. What has your experience been as a female in both the ultraunning world and as it relates to environmental activism?
CLARE: That’s a nuanced question. In short, both men and women are affected by climate change and public lands degradation. Sure, ultrarunning needs more women in races. It’s an embarrassing aspect of our sport. RDs should get their acts together in order to help this problem. Personally, I’m way more concerned about climate change than about how many women are racing Hardrock. But man, how are there SO FEW women racing the most iconic ultras?! It isn’t the fault of us women ultrarunners, but the fault of race directors not addressing the problem.
FERAL: You’re joining us as part of the No Man’s Land film festival. How did you get involved with this event and what are you hoping it accomplishes for both women in the outdoor industry and beyond?
CLARE: I was invited to attend and I hope it inspires women to continue to be badass, independent wilderness warriors.