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Kalahari Captain

Timothy Olson

We went live on our Instagram with our Kalahari Captain, ultra-runner Timothy Olson to ask him questions about his racing life, his favorite indulgences, and his family adventures!

Read more about Timothy and his FKT on the PCT here

Timothy Olson eating original biltong with snow topped mountain in the background

What was a memorable race moment where you just had to laugh to keep from crying?

In the Leadville Trail 100, I was having a really hard time coming down off of Hope Pass and my left knee was hurting so much and every single step was painful, but every person I was seeing was giving me these words of encouragement and my spirits were lifted. And I finally got down from there and on the straightaway and I just started throwing up like crazy. And everything is going wrong, but that’s ultra-running. Some days it’s really awesome and I’ve won my races, but I’ve also DNF’d (Did Not Finish). 

So, I remember throwing up and then my awesome pacer, Matt Hart, asking if he could take a picture, and in that moment I’m laughing hysterically. Then I got a little further and someone at the aid station asked me how I was doing and I’m like, “I’m ok”, and the person was like “oh yeah? I just saw you on Instagram throwing up.” And I look over at my pacer and I’m like “what?” and he’s like “oh yeah I maybe posted it too.” And it’s things like that where I just laugh hysterically and it’s those moments in racing that you have the highs and lows and you’re just being a human. 

What's your go to post-race indulgence?

Definitely ice cream, like Coconut Bliss, but any chocolate ice cream. Also love peanut butter cups, especially Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. After the PCT I learned how many treats I loved, and I did not slack on trying to put the weight back on. 

Next adventure that you're most looking forward to?

I’m in the midst of a grand adventure right now with a 3 month old baby so it’s full on and there’s some moments of not as much sleep and I’m absolutely loving it. I’m also hoping to share more about the Pacific Crest Trail and those 51 days and the years prior to it by writing a book about it. I got into running to just transform myself and running has been a powerful force in my life and I love sharing with people so I’m looking forward to writing the book and doing more retreats. 

How do you go about instilling your values in your life and in your family?

By living every moment like it’s my last. I have hard days too, and I try to be authentic and real and sometimes I’m sad and having a hard time and sometimes there’s joy and I share all of that with my kids. Being a family we go and have these epic adventures, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fall down sometimes and get a scrape and have to nurture that part too. When you see it all as part of life and part of lessons, there’s a joy in it all. I live my life to the fullest and hope to show my kids that’s how you do it too. We say to have a good adventure you have to have good snacks so you don’t get cranky. So we like to have Biltong on our hikes, my son likes Spicy Peri Peri, I like the Original and Garlic

Do you foresee your kids following in your footsteps or do you hope they have an entirely different journey in their athletic endeavors?

I hold space for both, they love running now, but I haven’t really pushed it or put too much pressure on it. 

I did get them involved in adventure early, but we didn’t take them out on big hikes right away. I wore them on my back a lot and then they hiked a little and then we’d slow down. The more you pay attention to your kids, the more they teach you. They teach me to slow down and smell the flowers. So we go on hikes but we also just sit down and enjoy a nice creek. We might have a plan for a longer hike but we find an awesome waterfall and just hang out there for awhile. 

They remind me to keep playing. 

Interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

You can follow Timothy on Instagram @timothyallenolson or on his website.

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