alaska mountain ultrarunning camp 2014

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I applied for the Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp Scholarship last year. I was a finalist, but didn’t receive the full scholarship.  My scholarship application from last year is published here.

This is my scholarship application for 2014.

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

I crave running every day. When my legs get moving my body becomes a support system for my mind. Everything starts making sense. Running is the best part of my day.


I run because I love it and I like to run long and fast. I applied for the Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp scholarship last year and received a $300 partial scholarship. While I couldn’t afford to attend the camp, applying for the scholarship inspired me to race a couple of times this year. 


Last April I ran the Cedro Peak Ultra 45K in Tijeras, NM. At the time I lived in Albuquerque. The night before the race, I rode my bicycle twenty miles to the start. I slept out for a few hours before waking up at 5AM to compete. It was so cold out that I sat in my sleeping bag until just before the start. I was the first female finisher, crossing the finish line 26 minutes ahead of the second woman. After the race, I ate a hotdog, drank a beer and rode back to Albuquerque.


In May, Nicholas and I left Albuquerque to bikepack around Europe for the summer. We spent five months riding hiking trails and dirt roads on mountain bikes. We cooked and camped, supporting ourselves and each other through changing landscapes and cultures. The biking was strenuous and incredibly fun, yet, I still had energy to run every day for an hour or more.


We finished our European trip in Ukraine in September and flew to Denver. We spent the fall bikepacking in the southwest, primarily in southern Utah and Arizona. We rode through southern Arizona in December and I ran the Tucson marathon. The night before the race, we camped in the sagebrush across from the race shuttle pick-up. At four in the morning, we packed our bedrolls and pedaled to the shuttle. I was the fourth female finisher in a time of 3:14. My legs took a beating as I hadn’t trained for the distance, but I was just happy to be a part of it. I smiled the whole way. On the shuttle ride back after the race a runner complained that the driver didn’t drop us off close enough to his car. I hobbled to my bike and rode the 13 miles to town.


We biked out of Tucson the following day to fit in a few more days on the AZ Trail. In mid December we flew from Phoenix to Anchorage, my hometown. We’re spending the winter here with my family in order to work and save money for next year’s bike trip. We’re thinking about a dirt tour of the Black Sea countries for the summer of 2014.


I’d like to spend the winter running snowy trails and riding my fatbike. I’m competing in the Frosty Bottom 50 this weekend and plan to run the Mayor’s Midnight Marathon next June. My goal is to break three hours. Regardless, I will continue to run for the rest of my healthy life.

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

I heard about the camp two years ago through endurance blogs.

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

a. I grew up in Anchorage, but I’ve never been to Juneau or southwest Alaska. From photos, it looks stunning. I would love to run the mountains with locals.


b. I rarely run with other people and I’ve received little coaching. I want to learn from the best. Geoff is the best.


c. The camp looks like a lot of fun!

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

In 2008 I graduated from college. That fall I started traveling by bicycle. For the past six years I’ve spent half the year working and the other half traveling. I’ve biked around the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe. I generally work in restaurants, tutor or teach yoga. I pay student loans, live without a car and do my best to keep moving.

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6 thoughts on “alaska mountain ultrarunning camp 2014

  1. Debbie Neil says:

    Lael if there is a way to support your application let us know! Reading about your travels and runs all over the world has inspired me to exercise more and get by with less. Good luck!

  2. Lael, I love the honesty of your application. The absolute joy that you get from running shines through. I’ve only been running once in the past year due to a slight back niggle that I haven’t quite resolved, but reading this yesterday inspired me to go out for my second run of the year! Felt really good. Thanks for the inspiration, and I really hope you get the scholarship 🙂

  3. laelwilcox says:

    Thanks for the encouragement! I feel so fortunate to travel and run and bike.

  4. MG says:

    Lael, read your post this morning… all the best with your application! Love that you always make time for running, even during days also spent on the bike.

  5. Ryan Rice says:

    I would say you’ve got it made this year. If they would only follow yours and Nick’s adventures for a week it would be a no brainer. It’s good to know there are people out there like you two. I will put some miles on the trails for good luck on your side!

  6. Przemek says:

    Lael, in remembrance of my sleeping mat, what’s your paypal if any?

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