Podcast: Episode 161: Joe Gray: The best mountain runner ever, and you've never heard of him?


We finish our 3-2-1 countdown interviews from the Men's podium of the US Mountain Running Championships with the winner, Joe Gray.  Joe is one of the best mountain/trail runners in history.  He is very articulate and insightful, and is extremely well respected by other runners, while some casual runners may not have heard of him.  How can that be?  Let's correct it!

Joe has won a ridiculous 20 National Championship races, as well as 2 World Championships, in addition to wins at countless (literally) other races - see his Bio below. 

"I value the work. Someone can post a post a picture on Instagram, and it's gone 2 days later. I win a championship, and it's there forever."

How has he been so successful for 15 years?

"The biggest thing is being smart.  Take pride out of the process. Coming to the line healthy is better than showing up really fit but hurt."

There is a preponderance of people of African descent on the podium of road and track races, while on the trail and mountains, the ratio suddenly reverses.  Has he ever felt isolated?

"Early in my career, you look around, and no one looks like you. So I wondered. And occasionally someone makes a racist comment.

"But as I've gotten older, I realize, I'm not there for those people. They have an agenda, and it's not mine.  If I act out, if I lose my focus, then I can't do my best, I can't inspire the next generation."

Joe told me something in person 6 years ago and I never forgot it - indeed, I've quoted him on three previous Podcasts!  Let's finally hear it in his own words:

"There are two ways to build a running career.  One is on social media; by talking about yourself.  The other by winning races."

Boom!!  Don't miss Joe's wonderful insights.

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Full CV

Joe Gray

Runner | Any Terrain Any Time

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