"DIRT-BAGGING" The contrast between the lives of elite distance runners and the rest of us has been highlighted in a feature item, “Dirtbagging” written by Liz Gill and provided online by Tracksmith™, a running apparel company.
“For a few elite runners, living out of their car or truck offers them the financial and geographical freedom to travel and race over the spring and summer”, explains Tracksmith’s introduction to the story. In it the unconventional on-the-road existence of four elite distance runners, David Laney, Stephen Shay, Tyler Andrews, and Anton Krupicka is described.
Author Gill explains that “dirtbagging” is a term that was originally used to describe outdoor sport enthusiasts who were “living the true dirtbag lifestyle” fulltime in pursuit of their preferred activity, like rock climbing. She says it is now applied more broadly and can include shorter seasonal stints or even weekend adventures on the road. However, Gill makes a point of saying that it is still a rare practice in the road running community. The subjects of her article give readers a look into their experiences, explain their motivations, and reveal a bit of their ambitions.
It’s an eye-opening article for those envious of professionals who devote their lives to training. Rather than discourage readers however, these roughing-it road-warrior tales may lure some into joining the world of vagabond runners! Especially faster runners who believe they have potential to compete at the highest levels of endurance distance running.
Janey indicates that while living in a truck and traveling around the country in pursuit of running glory might seem like a dream-come-true, there are significant disadvantages to this life. Yes, but such descriptions inspire daydreaming even in the most conventional runners (I confess).
One thing seems clear. The elite runners who endure the isolation and hardships of a dirtbag life to be able to line up just behind the headliners at races, deserve respect. Prize winnings are small. Several part time jobs may be required to support training: keep gas in the van, protein bars in the glovebox, electrolyte drinks in the mini-fridge, and shoes at the ready. Yet their performance in the lead pack at these events provides excitement to spectators and inspiration to up-and-coming newbies.
Gill’s article might inspire less-than elite athletes who remain anchored at home
to ‘live the dream’ on a smaller scale, to plan an occasional seasonal road adventure.
Who knows, maybe the “dirtbaggers” of the future will include not only elite athletes, but everyday folks who want to find seasonal adventures touring the country on a limited budget, in a move-able home, chasing lower-level competitions or personal goals.
Glamping (glamorous camping) and RV-ing are in style. Prior to reading this particular piece, I was stalking road adventure magazines on Barnes and Noble bookstore racks. A new one has caught my attention: ROVA, “The Magazine for Epic Road Trips”. The website says it “is about traveling the roads of North America: the insightful stories, the spectacular images, and the best of what this magnificent continent has to offer.
Although “Dirtbagging” is about physical and financial hardship, it is mostly about dreams.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
New! Search Box
Earned Runs is now searchable! Check it out...