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Take a Chance on Yourself

Adam Peterman of Montana was ranked eighth Ultrarunner of the Year in 2021. He is fulfilling his dreams and has returned to his alma mater where he began at Hellgate High School as the coach.

Adam shares his philosophy about running.

What was the motivation for you to answer the calling to the sport?

I started running track and cross country in middle school. I was terrible at ball sports, but I found success in sprinting.  I stuck with it because it was the first time, I’d ever been good at any sport.

What is it that keeps you involved?

I love training, and I love racing too. With trail running, the training gives you a chance to see some unique places—especially living in Montana.  What keeps me motivated now is the excitement I get around how well I can do in these races and the classes I get to explore while training.

At what point did you make the transition to ultrarunning?

This summer, I ran the Speedgoat 50K, my first ultra.  

What would be an alternative sport if you weren’t running?

I think I would either work in the Forest Service or pursue a career in health care. Before going all-in on running, I worked in New Mexico for the Forest Service.  

How has your life changed since being in the sport?

Running has opened so many doors for me. Currently, running and jobs related to running are what I do most days of the week. Along with my running, I work for an events company that puts on trail races all over Montana, and I’m an assistant coach for a high school cross country team. I’ve made lifelong friends through running and have met so many great people!

What have you given up along the way to be at your current level?

I love the lifestyle of being a runner, so it doesn’t feel like I’ve given things up. I feel like I’ve postponed getting a regular job or following what is considered a standard career path because of running, but that is okay with me for now.

How have you progressed over the last five years in the sport?

Five years ago, I was running for the University of Colorado. I had a long period of dealing with an Achilles injury that left me dissatisfied when I graduated. I felt like I had so much more to give to the sport but never got the chance.  

I moved back to Montana and didn’t train much for a long time, but I did make sure to fix my Achilles injury. My Achilles healed after lengthy physical therapy, and I could finally start running consistently. I’ve now put in over two years of consistent training and racing.  

What is your philosophy when it comes to the sport?

The more time I’ve spent running, the more mental I’ve realized it is. The results will follow if you love what you’re doing, having fun, and putting in the time.  

What are your thoughts when you are in the thick of competition?

I try to focus on what’s happening during that moment. Make sure my form is relaxed and take in enough calories. Doubt creeps in when I think about how much of the race is left.  

Do you consider the sport to be emotional?

Yes, the sport is emotional. You put so much time into it, and you want to run well. I try not to tie my self-worth to my results, but yeah, running is something I care deeply about, so it is hard not to get wrapped up in it. 

What was an event where you did all the right things right, and how did you do it?

I think the JFK 50 went almost as well as it could have this year. I would have loved to get the course record, but being a minute off is a result that I’m happy with. I put in a solid block of training for JFK after a big summer of running. I ran more miles, slept more than average, and put a greater focus on my fueling during the race. I think all of that culminated in feeling strong and ready for JFK.  

What is your proven strategy when you are in an event?

I do my best when I’m feeling relaxed on race day. I try not to make the race into something bigger than it is.  

How and when do you decide to take a lead position in a race?

Sometimes you must believe in yourself! I’ve taken the lead in races during the past couple of years at times when maybe I should have waited longer, but that is what’s so fun about competing—taking a chance on yourself.  

What is a fear you have when you are in an event?

I think my fear with running these longer races is that I’ll blow up. So much of this is new to me, and I struggle to be patient during races. But like I mentioned earlier, that is also what is so much fun about competing.

Do you consider winning an event more important than learning something about yourself?

I think it’s essential to learn something about yourself, whether you win or lose. Even if you had a nearly perfect race, there is probably something you can improve upon or something you can take away for the next race. 

What do you want the reader to know about Adam Peterman?

Ha, oh, man. That is a tough one. We’ve talked so much about running that I’ll provide some facts outside of running. I like fly fishing during my spare time. Lately, the fishery has not been going well, so I’m hoping that it snows soon so I can stop fishing and move on to ski season.

Author

  • George Banker

    George Banker was the Operations Manager for the Army Ten-Miler (US Army / MDW), one of the largest 10-mile road race in the United States. From 2003 through 2023, his responsibilities included the operational planning, logistics, community outreach, design of the course, volunteer recruitment, and support to medical and police jurisdictions. Prior to joining the Army Ten-Miler, he worked 25 years at IBM serving in administration and management within the federal marketing environment in Bethesda, Maryland. He is retired from the U.S. Air Force (enlisted grade Technical Sergeant), where his experience included ground refueling supervisor and cryogenic fluids production supervisor. He received 14 military decorations including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (1969-1989). Since 1983, he has worked as a freelance photographer and journalist, contributor for the Runner’s Gazette, and He is the author of “The Marine Corps Marathon: A Running Tradition”. He is an avid runner, with 136 marathons completed.

1 Comment

  1. Sharita Knobloch

    As usual– good stuff here, George! So cool that Adam is UltraRunner of the year last year– crazy! (And he has worked for NM Forest Service… Was it Lincoln National Forest? That’s right up the road from us).

    Reply

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