Nothing, not even a pandemic, can stop Coree Woltering from running. Only now is it less about the awards and more about the real joys that they bring.
Coree Woltering’s life was already moving quickly. The triathlete turned pro ultra runner for The North Face. Woltering has been a professional athlete for about 8 years and easily takes podium places.
And then COVID came and everything came to a standstill. Events have been canceled and racing calendars deleted.
Rather than grabbing a season pass, Woltering used his training chips and newfound free time to pursue a personal project: the historic 1,000-mile Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin. And the running world took notice.
Photo credit: Dream Lens Media
After woltering on social media and other online resources – a single point on the trail – the running world watched him steadily chop off at the fastest known time of the trail (FKT).
The finish was a nail bite. For the past few hours, Woltering has been running day and night, pushing his record time right under the wire. He beat the previous FKT by just 5 hours.
Coree and friends explore the Ice Age Trail
Less than a month later, the rest of the world met Woltering up close after Amazon released Eco-Challenge Fiji, where he raced with Team Onyx – the first all-black team in expedition racing. While Team Onyx had to drop out of the race, it was Woltering’s friendly spirit and good manner that fascinated the crowd.
In no time at all, Woltering switched from a 1,000-mile foot marathon to a three-month media marathon.
“I never thought it would be like this,” said Woltering. “I am a small town kid from Ottawa, Illinois.”
That said, Woltering is a very busy man in uncharted waters. But he does everything with a smile.
Photo credit: Kevin Youngblood
For many of us, being an outdoor professional would be a dream job. But it is not easy. Follow us as we go straight to the source and learn from professionals like Coree Woltering about their success, careers, families and passion projects “In Real Life”.
Coree Woltering: Motivated to run
Catching up with Woltering is like grabbing the tail of a comet and quickly moving into the spotlight. Everyone wants to capture something of their time. By the time we talked, he had already been on a series of Zoom calls for 6 hours.
“Today wasn’t that bad. Some days I record podcasts for 10-12 hours, ”Woltering revealed in a chipper tone. “It’s really hard for me to say no because I like to do it!”
The pace has not decreased since his FKT. In fact, Woltering was tracking the final miles of his FKT when Eco-Challenge called. They wanted him to hop on interviews for the Amazon Drop the day after completing his FKT.
Photo credit: Kevin Youngblood
Since July, his adventures have been reported by media juggernauts like CNN and the New York Times. But he is just as happy about a call to smaller sales outlets.
“I haven’t had this experience in the past. But I like to do as many interviews as possible, ”he said. His newfound fame gives him a platform to talk about what he’s passionate about in life.
When COVID first hit, Woltering raised $ 13,000 for small businesses and frontline workers in his hometown by running every street in Ottowa, Illinois. His FKT raised an additional $ 33,000 for Feeding America, a community-based food bank that serves over 46 million people in need.
“Running has a purpose. It gives you something to think about when you run for that long! “Said Woltering.
As an advocate of the LGBTQ community who brings more people of color outside, he likes to swap his time on the trail for a place in front of the microphone.
At least for a while.
Woltering is still recovering from his FKT and has no major events on the horizon. Nowadays, he can balance his coaching and social awareness projects with easier runs. “Training is not a particularly high priority for me. When I’m running, great, but when I’m not running, it’s no big deal, ”he shared.
In November, Woltering will withdraw its media engagements and focus its energy on running with enthusiasm. The same compassion for others carries over himself during his training.
In collaboration with his trainer Jason Koop (head trainer for CTS-Ultrarunning) Woltering tracks his training units by time and not by miles. Time-blocking workouts keep his schedule from going too crazy.
What if he’s having a bad day? He listens to his body and allows himself to take a break.
“One of the things that show my strengths,” Woltering explained, “is when I am not feeling well, I am not afraid to call a training session and say,” OK, we can do that again later. “Or I let it go and don’t worry.”
It is easy to assume that leading the pack puts a lot of pressure on overtraining. But that’s not Woltering’s style. “I don’t find racing stressful,” he said, wiping it off.
“I think a lot of that comes from knowing that I’ve studied the hours, the work, and the course. Races are more of a celebration of all of the hard work and maybe some of the sacrifices I’ve made in the race! “
And at the end of the day there is always a bowl of ice. “Nothing special – just vanilla,” he said.
His approach seems to be paying off: “I don’t think I have had an injury in the last 8 years that has kept me from listening to the body and being flexible about the workout for more than a week.”
Coree and crew at the TNF Endurance Challenge Peru
Advice to others
Self-confidence and self-confidence come from Woltering’s many years of experience.
“In a race the lows usually come from ‘I’m hungry, I’m tired or I need a drink,” “said Woltering. “If it is mental, I comfort my previous racing experience to build trust in the knowledge that I can perform.”
His advice for others who have less kilometers behind them? Start small by setting smaller goals. If you don’t have a good excuse not to run, start with 20 minutes. “Then give yourself permission to turn around or give him another 10 minutes. That’ll give you an hour! ” he suggested.
Woltering is a master at breaking down the complex into smaller tasks. About running: “It’s as easy as 10 seconds at a time. You can do anything for 10 seconds. “Woltering makes it easy:” You line up enough 10 seconds, you’ll make it. “
He channels his inner trainer, affirming that “No distance is too short to hike, run or cycle. It doesn’t have to be a glorious run because the training plan says you have to. A 15, 20, 30 minute run is just as good as an hour run if you just skip it entirely. “
Coree and friends run in Flagstaff, Arizona
Sense of community
As a full-time coach, Woltering starts checking in with his athletes every morning. These connections help keep his life center stage on a daily basis: “Some of them are athletes I’ve trained in the past, but we still talk daily to see what’s going on. It’s become a natural, organic part of my daily routine. “
Even during winter training, when exhaustion and burnout threaten to creep in, Woltering attaches great importance to seeing his friends. And that doesn’t stop when he’s on the go.
“For Black Canyon I went to Flagstaff for training 6 weeks before the race. I was in a new place and I knew I would be there for a while, ”he shared. “I met some friends on Instagram. The next thing you know is that Saturday and Sunday we run together for a long time and then have lunch together afterwards. It was great camaraderie. “
Meaningful friendships – even if he doesn’t always see them – are the core of Woltering’s self-care.
Corees annual Easter egg and beer hunt
Coree Woltering’s happy workspace
Every job is more fun with the right equipment. It’s no surprise for Woltering that it starts with his shoes.
Woltering ran in a prototype shoe from The North Face. He was careful not to give too much away, but he shared, “I think it will be one of the best trail shoes out there for a while.” He then quickly followed that he loves that FUTURE material So much so that it became a membrane shoe.
The path to becoming a professional runner is paved through hard work. It’s easy to get rigid and purposeful. Woltering reminds us to follow what you love and be present in the moment. And most of all, be nice to yourself. They are your best support crew.
Follow this advice and the rewards will follow.
To keep up with Woltering you can keep track of its activities Instagram.
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This article is sponsored by YETI as part of the brand’s “In Real Life” content series.