It may be a surprise to anyone reading this post, but we at EPIC are endurance junkies. We use up our Saturday mornings on 50-mile bike rides in the Texas Hill Country, pushing ourselves to the top of the highest elevation possible. A few of us have attended Kona for the most prestigious Ironman on Earth. And we dream of running 100 miles across the highest altitudes on Earth, and so it’s only natural that we find the fastest woman to do so and make her an EPIC sponsored athlete. Nation, meet Ashley Arnold.
Ashley recently battled the rough terrain in Leadville, Colorado, where she took first in one of the toughest ultra marathons on Earth. She raced tirelessly through the night, completing 100 miles in 20:25:43, taking first place among hundreds of women. When I asked her how it was, she simply responded, “I had so much fun. I fueled the entire race with bacon and avocado.” Ashley is EPIC in every sense of the word.
I had a chance to chat with her via telephone about her racing goals, life goals and her food philosophy. Ashley’s every word was in line with the EPIC values and with each moment I liked her more and more. Here’s a sneak peak into why Ashley Arnold is the first EPIC-sponsored women athlete:
Why do you want to represent EPIC Bar?
I used to be a vegetarian, but I love meat. And I love red meat. The problem is, I won’t eat just any meat. I have to know where the meat came from, that the animal was treated humanely and that it was grass-fed and 100% organic. EPIC Bar is a company that stands firm in the company’s mission for sustainability and animal welfare. Plus, grass-fed and free-range meat is simply healthier. It’s got more vitamins and minerals, it’s leaner and it tastes better! Not only do I absolutely LOVE EPIC bars, but I am also really supportive of the company and the company’s mission.
How did your passion for ultra running develop?
I once ran a trail race—a 50K actually—after hardly running for a couple of years. Despite being extremely painful (I remember not being able to walk for days), running on trails brought me such euphoria I couldn’t get enough. When I moved to Colorado then, and started running on Rocky Mountain trails, ascending into high alpine terrain, I became hooked.
What is your personal food manifesto?
To eat healthy food and treat your body with respect does not mean a low fat diet that follows the foot pyramid. At all. It means eating whole, real, sustainable foods that can not only adequately fuel us, but also positively impact our environment and lives. My goal is to reduce empty carbohydrates like bread and sugar, minimize dairy intake and stick to a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables, seasonal fruits and sustainable meats with ancient grains like quinoa.
Who or what inspires you everyday?
More than anything, the landscape I surround myself with inspires me. Creativity inspires me. Adventure inspires me.
We couldn’t be more excited to support Ashley and her goals. She’s incredibly inspiring and kind while also a powerhouse in the sport of ultra running. Stay tuned for more updates on Ashley as she trains for her next races, with her current goal to win Bandera outside of San Antonio, TX!
Check out her post-race Leadville interview at IRunFar.com, HERE.
Photos provided by Joe Viger.