Episode Summary:

Today marks the first time that we’ve had a professional athlete as a guest on the show!  Nikki Kimball is a distance runner specializing in the ultra-marathon, and she has a really amazing story to share about her recent attempt to set the time record for completing the Long Trail in Vermont.

Nikki and I talk about what motivates her to run, and why she wanted to set the fastest known time on the Long Trail.  Her answer is not quite what I expected, and draws some interesting similarities with the motivations behind my mom and I’s Long Trail hike.  Nikki explains that she thinks of running as her “medication of choice” in a lifelong fight with major depression, and we spend some time talking about the science behind both treating depression and overcoming extreme grief through strenuous exercise.

A big part of Nikki’s motivation for taking on the Long Trail however came simply from a desire to spend time in Vermont’s outdoors.  Nikki grew up in Vermont, and she’s been thinking about setting a record on the Long Trail since she was 12 years old.  She feels very strongly about the power of spending time in the outdoors, and explains that she gets more fulfillment out of backcountry trail runs than more organized (and much shorter) ultra-marathon races.


Trailer for “Finding Traction” – featuring Nikki Kimball:


“On the Trail” – my short film about thru-hiking the Long Trail:



Finding Traction website

Watch “Finding Traction” on Hulu

Girls on the Run – Vermont

The Green Mountain Club


Listen to the podcast episode here:

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