Chi Running Responsible for Win at National Trail Championships - Chi Running

Chi Running Responsible for Win at National Trail Championships

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Fri Sep 4th, 2009, 10 comments

Yes, you can say you heard if first right here in the blog. All of my Chi Running race-specific training paid off and I actually won my age group at the 2009 USATF National 10K Trail Championships last weekend. But, let’s be clear about this. It doesn’t mean that I’m the fastest 55-59 year old trail runner in the U.S. It just means that I was the fastest old guy who got it together to show up on race day.

The race was extremely enjoyable as well as being an extremely challenging experience. In the 6.2 miles of the course there were 1310′ of vertical gain (climbing) and the same amount of vertical loss (plummeting).

The race started literally on top of a mountain and was shaped like a cloverleaf where you had to descend the four sides of the mountain in separate loops, returning to the top of the mountain at the end of each loop. The best word I could come up with in describing the course was “treacherous.” It looked like it had been built by a work crew using only weed-eaters and pickaxes the week before and I had to rely on my wits (as well as my hands) to keep myself vertical a few times. The views were off the charts but, as you could guess, I didn’t have much time to take them in. I was busy using every Chi Running focus in the book.

I don’t mean to sound like I didn’t like the course. On the contrary, I thrive in these conditions. I get to put everything in know to the test and this event felt like a final exam in a graduate course. I finished the race in 1:02:46, a mere 16 seconds behind my training partner, Billy Jonas. The winner of the race ran it in a totally unbelievable time of 39 minutes and some change. Do the math. That’s a 6:20/mile average for the course I just described! I figure the guy who won had one of three things going on: a.) he’s bionic… b.) he’s carrying a major death-wish… or c.) he forgot to do one of the required loops. 

Hats off to Jason and his outstanding race crew for putting on such a “well-run” event. Y’all did a great job!

I’ll be running the Asheville Citizen-Times Half Marathon on September 12th and I’ll be using the same race strategy…pass every gray-haired guy I can find.

Keep on Truckin’



  • running technique,
  • trail racing,
  • 10k race training,
  • half marathon,
  • training

10 CommentsLeave a comment below

Great job on your accomplishment! Thanks for coming out to Pasadena and talking last night, I am sitting up straighter now as I type this!
Happy Running!

Congratulations, Danny! Way to go.

Congratulations!  I want to be just like you when I grow up!!!!

That’s topper Danny - and well done for taking on a new challenge.

Well done indeed, Danny, a great performance! Good luck in your next race!

Laura Houston Sep 10th, 2009 10:47am

Awesome!! I was just out for a much needed run clearing my head of the Burning Man fog and thought about you and this race. I’m so jazzed for you and the outstanding job you did keeping in the focuses! Congratulations!

Danny, speaking as someone in your age group, that was an impressive performance.  I had considered running that race, but after hearing your description of the course, I’m glad I passed on it!

Phyllis Howard Sep 16th, 2009 03:35pm

Great going Danny!  I was chuckling over your having won your age group—I won 1st place in my age group for a sprint tri I completed in August ... it was the second of 3 that I did this summer.  The funny part is that I came in 2nd and 3rd ... only one in my age group!  60-65! 
So.. my question is, (with a wink) how many in your age group?  smile
Phyllis Howard

I think there were probably less than 5 in my age group. But, i would have finished very well in both the age groups younger than me. I think that as runners get older, they mostly tend to not be as competitive, especially after 60, so the age groups are smaller.


Maria Gonzalez Feb 24th, 2010 07:00pm

Hi Danny - I’ve been reading your book on ChiRunning and have been enjoying it greatly.  I’ve been a runner for over ten years and have completed two marathons.  Recently, I was diagnosed with a heel spur in my left foot right by the Achilles.  Unfortunately, shoe inserts have only temporarily relieved this problem and I’m experiencing pain again.
I am hoping that adopting a ChiRunning technique will help get me back to running again but the few times I’ve tried it, I’ve notice my heel getting pretty sore again.
I have also been experimenting with the Vibram Five Fingers shoes in the hope that “less is more” in my case. 
Do you have any thoughts/comments on this situation?
Thanks in advance!

Hi Maria,
Heel spurs are usually caused by overusing your plantar fascia. Overuse of the plantar fascia comes from pushing off with your toes at the end of your stride. ChiRunning will help you learn to totally relax your lower leg throughout every phase of your stride. When you get to the point of being able to run with relaxed feet and lower legs, your plantar fascia will no longer be pulled beyond the safe range and your heel spur will begin to very slowly disolve over time. In the meantime I would say that if you’re running on VFF’s, be very careful to not run on the balls of your feet or you could aggravate your heel spur problem. Landing in a fullfoot strike is really the only way to insure your heel spur won’t either increase or get aggravated. In fact, until your heel spur goes down a bit, VFF’s might not be the best shoe for you (VFF’s are fabulous…but there’s a time and a place for everything, and this isn’t really the time or place for less of a shoe, sorry to say).

hope this helps,

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