Santa Barbara based athlete Chris Douglas knows a thing or two about going the distance. He is one of those rare athletes that actively seeks out the more punishing events -- like a double century cycling through Death Valley -- and does so with a smile on his face. Ironman-distance triathlons, 5k swims and epic cycling are all on his resumé, but it’s running that remains his favorite outdoors endeavor.
“It might sound corny, but my favorite aspect of running is the feeling of freedom,” says Douglas. “ Doesn’t matter where I am or what the weather may be, I can just put on some shoes and walk out the door to explore wherever I am. Some of my favorite runs have involved getting super lost in new cities or trails that I’ve never explored before.”
As an active member of the endurance sports community, Chris serves as a board member for the Golden Gate Triathlon Club . While some runners prefer the isolation of ultra running, Chris embraces both the solitude of solo adventures and the community found in running clubs. “There’s something magical about running in a group to me. Whether on a trail or a road, sharing the activity with friends keeps everyone honest. I’ve also met some incredible friends while on group runs.”
Douglas adds that one of his favorite runs is a weekly group outing. “Although not an official event, my favorite event is a local Bay Area ‘secret’ called the Ninja Loop,” explains Douglas. “Every Thursday morning at 5:30am, rain or shine, before dawn most of the year, a group of runners meet at a parking lot at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge to run an 11.5 mile loop in the trails of the Marin Headlands. I consider it the perfect training run. A usually epic sunrise over San Francisco at the end doesn’t hurt either.”
Trail running is ultimately what keeps Chris grounded. “Running is my therapy,’ says Douglas. “I always feel good after a run. I’ve used runs for meditation and winding down a long day or as a ‘punch dance’ to blow off frustration from work and the like. Without running, I would probably be grumpy all the time.”
As for future goals, Chris says, “I was lucky to get a chance to travel to Mallorca off the coast of Spain and was able to run on some epic trails. While there I learned about a trail race that traverses the mountain range on the island called the Serra de Tranmuntana. It’s 112 kilometer race or something close to that. My plan is to run this race in 2016!”
With many events under his belt and a presence in a highly active community, Chris reflects on one of his proudest moments as a runner. “ Probably my proudest moment was completing my first marathon in 2011. This race was my “turn my life around” race. Everything from the training to the culmination on race day with my family and friends supporting me was a memory that I carry with me on every subsequent race.”