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Mountain Trail Runner

Renn Meuwissen debuts a new column on exploring the delights of responsible trail running in the northern Rockies

Trail runner and columnist Renn Meuwissen surveys the route ahead before giving his blistered feet a rest. Photo courtesy Renn Meuwissen.
Trail runner and columnist Renn Meuwissen surveys the route ahead before giving his blistered feet a rest. Photo courtesy Renn Meuwissen.
Renn Meuwissen found running miles around an oval to be mundane. While each lap as a long-distance harrier brought him full circle, they didn't take him where he wanted to be. The same when he was logging 50 to 60 miles a week getting ready for his high-school cross-country season.

 It isn't that Meuwissen has anything against organized high school athletics—quite the opposite, many of his friends have been part of Bozeman's nationally ranked squads— but he's found liberation and discovery on trails where the plains rise into the northern Rockies.

Young Mr. Meuwissen, who in autumn 2018 will be entering his senior year at Bozeman High School is the latest young recruit to join the Mountain Journal stable of writers. In the many months to come, Renn and friends will be taking readers into the front and backcountry in a way that brings together their yen for adventure, athleticism and conservation. After all, there aren't many places left in North America where a run through the woods passes through terrain inhabited by grizzly and black bears, mountain lions, wolves and a variety of protective ungulate mothers.

Note: reflect on the last time you read a story in the newspaper about a trail runner in Greater Yellowstone/northern Rockies being attacked by wildlife?

Well traveled, the son of a well-known dog training specialist, and an avid camper, Renn is a welcome addition to MoJo and we are certain even winded flatlands will enjoy tagging along in his tracks—if they can keep up. 

MOUNTAIN JOURNAL: What does the backcountry represent to you?

RENN MEUWISSEN: To me the backcountry is the only place where I can find complete solace. Miles into the woods or up on top of a peak is the most relaxing place for me, and provides freedom from the town. In the mountains, you get this impression that it's you vs nature, and that feeling of pure exhilaration is literally a breath of fresh air.

MOJO: Why explore it by running?

:  Moving fast in the mountains is the epitome of freedom. Running provides this better than almost anything else; it takes very minimal gear, and can be done nearly anywhere. All you need is a bit of food, some water, and you can explore miles of terrain for hours on end. 

MOJO: Tell us a bit about your family's deep involvement with people and their dogs?

MEUWISSEN: So I've basically had dogs in the house with me every since I can remeber, and it's been a really good tool for me to learn about managment and love for animals. A lot of the time relationships with animals can be really harsh ecspecially in a town like Bozeman, and learning how to respect dogs as members of a family is something I'm super grateful for. The relationships i've built with the community of boeman have also been a huge part of defining my experience. 

MOJO: What's the favorite place you've explored, and why?

MEUWISSEN: Honestly, there are too many. I've got to say that this trip me, mmy sister, and two friends took up to the Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park last summer was one of the coolest trips ever. We were able to explore the glacier and moraines, and Lake Ellen Wilson nearby. Being in a place like Glacier is so humbling because everything is incredibly prminent there. I've got this picture of my friend Lucas standing on the glacier and he's just this tiny dot against huge rock formations. It's super inspiring.

MOJO: You'll be writing about all manner of trail running. Can you tease our readers with any topics you'll be covering.

MEUWISSEN:  I'm stoked to write for Mountian Journal! I really got into competitive trail running last year, so I'll be talking about how and why I got into the sport instead of running track. I'm also excited to write about the mud season in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, trail running culture, and my favorite spots to run. Be warned that I am a bit of gearhead, so be prepared for top picks on trail gear and spicy new gadgets.

MOJO: How did you come up with that name for your column.

MEUWISSEN:  The mountains for me represent this idea of freedom, and no variation of my sport can echeive this freedom moreso than trail running. My inspiration comes from the likes of Anton Krupicka, Anna Frost, and Kilian Jornet speeding up razorblade ridges and down the trails of Chamonix. Mountains and public lands are that one place so many of us have to escape, and it's the constant pursuance of adventure that fills you with adrenaline as you drive down a canyon, bike to a trail, or bushwhack your way up next to a granite monolith. The mountains are where so many of my best memories come from, that it only seems right to dedicate this column to them.

Renn Meuwissen
About Renn Meuwissen

Renn Meuwissen is a young trail runner from Bozeman, Montana. His column will cover the terrain, manner and particularities of his passion for logging miles in the backcountry.
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