Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp Application: Lael Wilcox

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This is my application for a scholarship to the Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp in Juneau, AK this summer.

1. Briefly describe your running history/background and where you see your running going in the future:

Running keeps my mind and body in balance. It gives me the time and space to think. Running quickens my blood and excites me. I dream and make plans while running. I think about what is important to me. I think about the things I’ve done and the things I’ve yet to do. I have my best ideas while I run. I run for my own freedom, to cultivate and sustain a lust for life, to move in the natural world and to get real places. Sometimes I run in the woods, sometimes I literally run errands.

I started running at the 5K and 10K distances when I was seven which fostered a non-competitive appreciation for running. It was always about the experience, and accomplishing the distance. I played in a competitive soccer league for many years and it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I began to run competitively, with rapid improvement. Soon after graduation, I ran the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage in a time of 3:18. This was my first marathon attempt. I raced cross-country and track in college. I continue to run daily because I love it, although I only race about once a year. I enjoy racing and typically do well, but consider the entry fees prohibitive. Races are an opportunity to do something extraordinary. To me, it’s a celebration of my abilities as a runner. I’m easy to spot in a race because I’m the only one smiling.

I’m fascinated by overland travel. For the past five years, I’ve travelled extensively by bicycle in various countries. Living car-free, I commute by bike everywhere I go. In 2010, on a trip starting in Seattle, I rolled into Urique, Mexico two days before the Copper Canyon Ultramarathon. Spending four months on a bike didn’t leave me in great running shape, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to run with such a wild group. Everyone was running– all shapes and sizes. The Raramuri ran in their blouses and skirts. They quietly and calmly stole the race. Mexicans, young and old, ran in jeans and t-shirts, track singlets and whatever they could find. They hollered, sprinted, walked, smoked joints and sucked down Coca-Cola at every opportunity. I ran forty of the fifty miles. After forty, my legs gave out and I could hardly walk. I biked the last couple of miles back to my tent.

That experience has left me curious about running great distances. After this past summer of hiking and bicycling adventures, I’ve settled into Albuquerque to save money. I’ve decided to compete in a few endurance races this year. On April 13, the 45 mile Cedro Peak Ultra Marathon takes place in the Sandia Mountains just outside of Albuquerque. I plan to ride my bike to the start of the race. I’m also seeking a longer-distance event at the end of the summer.

My goal is to continue to run for the rest of my life. I work very hard to keep mobility and strength in my joints and muscles. I practice yoga daily– maintaining feeling and space in my feet, knees, hips and back. My running and yoga practices are essential compliments to each other. I seek constructive practices that will allow me to remain active for the rest of my life.


My skills as a runner are:

I can establish a quick and comfortable pace.

Long distances don’t bore or scare me.

I never get injured because I listen to my body.

I stay mentally upbeat while I run.


My running goals:

To run a sub three hour marathon.

To compete in ultra marathon distances this year.

To run and maintain physical health for the rest of my life.


2. How did you first hear about Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp?

I found the Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp through endurance running and biking blogs.

3. What are your main reasons for wanting to attend Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp?

The prospect of committing a week to running in a beautiful place with great runners is inspiring. This camp will help me achieve my near-term running goals, and will give me the confidence to reach new distances. As an Alaskan, running in the mountains around Juneau is enticing.

4. Please describe your financial dynamic which you feel makes you a good fit for a need based scholarship:

Since 2008, I’ve worked seasonally as a server to support my travels and pay my student loans. I teach yoga for free. I travel by foot and by bike. I save the money I earn so that I can explore and learn. I wouldn’t be able to attend this camp without a scholarship.



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6 thoughts on “Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp Application: Lael Wilcox

  1. Dawn says:

    Good luck Lael! Great application for what sounds like a fun week of running. Dad and I once went to running camp along the Kenai River and we had a fabulous time. I hope this works out for you.

  2. Gary says:

    Hi Lael! Back in the 80’s and 90’s there was a trail running series in NM that was no entry fee and no prizes, they’d just give you a map and a finishing time. I bet you could carpool with other ABQ runners. I don’t know if it’s still going but it might be worth checking into. The runs were 20-40 miles.

  3. Emily says:

    Thanks for sharing! I found your blog through Nick’s (I know him from 2nd Cycle in Tacoma). I am just starting to be a runner, and I just wanted to say thank you, because your passion for running, cycling, and adventuring is inspiring to me. Keep it up.

  4. Ryan Rice says:

    Hi Lael, I am excited to come across your blog. I have been car-free for four years and enjoy the adventure of commuting everywhere by bicycle and foot. I am also an avid runner and am glad I came across this particular blog about the ultra-running camp. The past two years I have worked up in Haines, Ak. It would be fun to get back up that way for the camp. Keep up the great and inspiring work!

    • laelwilcox says:

      Hi Ryan,

      I’ve never been to SE Alaska, but hope to make it there someday. It’s a challenge to fit in all the bicycling, running and travel, but it keeps life exciting.

      Living without a car inspires creativity. Casual trips become memorable and fulfilling. Thanks for being a part of it.


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