Hello! Who are you and where are your hiking roots?
Hi, my name is Adam Kimble and I’m a professional ultrarunner, motivational speaker, race director and running coach from Tahoe City, CA!
Nature and the outdoors have been a big part of my life since I was young, taking camping trips with my dad, brother, and cousins. However, it wasn’t until my wife and I decided to quit our jobs and travel for a year in 2015 that I really developed a lifelong love for running and hiking in beautiful areas all over the world.
We visited 17 countries that year, and a large part of all our visits was running on the trails, participating in races and getting to know the areas through our connection to nature. Through those experiences, my desire to spend time in the wilderness really began to bloom.
After that, we both wanted to live our lives in the mountains, which ultimately led us to Lake Tahoe! Now, I get to call the beautiful trails of Tahoe my home and live my dream of being a professional ultrarunner!
What’s your Story From The Mountain?
On the second weekend of October in 2019, I set out to become the fastest person ever to complete the 172-mile Tahoe Rim Trail.
After all, I have lived in Tahoe (originally from Illinois) for a little over three years, and these trails are almost literally in my backyard! So, I set out just after 5am on Friday from Tahoe City (running clockwise), hoping to break the record of 38 hours and 32 minutes, set by ultrarunning legend Kilian Jornet in 2009.
Early on during the first 50 miles, I was right on pace and feeling great!
Unfortunately, I hit a misstep when I missed my crew at a crucial meet-up spot off the beaten path around mile 30. For the first 40 miles, I decided to run solo just to get my mind right and dialed in for the remainder of the journey.
After that, I planned to have a pacer running with me for the remaining 132 miles, helping me with nutrition and hydration. So, at the time I missed the crew, it was the hottest part of the day, I was on the highest point on the entire course (Relay Peak), and I was without food and water for about two hours.
It was a rough stretch, but once I got back together with the crew, I thought I would be okay.
When I want to give up because something is too spiritually, emotionally or physically draining, I know that I can push further and find a way to get through that difficult situation.
Unfortunately, getting that far behind on fuel and hydration put me at a severe deficit and by the time I reached the 100k mark, it hit me very hard. After several hours with the crew in our team RV at the 100k mark, I tried to eat and recover as much as possible, feeling like my legs were dead and I was unable to continue.
However, after taking some time to let my mind and body reset, I started to feel just a little bit better. I felt that instead of my day being over, maybe there was another plan for me on that day. I left the 100k mark, moving slowly, but moving forward, one foot in front of the other. The next couple of hours weren’t pretty, but eventually my body bounced back, and I started to feel “normal” again.
By the time I reached the 100-mile mark, I was really feeling energized and ready to go! From that point forward, I maintained the original pace I had planned to break the record and finished in just over 45.5 hours, reaching Tahoe City early on Sunday morning.
It was good enough for the second-fastest time ever run on the Tahoe Rim Trail, and the fastest time on the current version of the trail (which began as 165 miles and is now 172 miles). Considering that I felt like I could barely get my legs to work after just 100k, the day was a huge success! Now, I can’t wait to get back out there and break the record in the future!
Through hiking/climbing, have you learned anything about yourself or nature you’d like to pass on to others?
I hope to be known as someone who always pushed past his “impossible” to achieve unbelievably big goals, all the while inspiring others to do that same thing in their lives!
We all have different callings and a different path, but that doesn’t mean we can’t similarly inspire one another by shattering “impossible” goals in our lives. Through various life experiences I’ve had (primarily my time as the winner of Discovery Channel’s survival reality show, “The Wheel,” and my running expeditions and races), I’ve learned that I’m always capable of more than my mind allows me to believe.
When I want to give up because something is too spiritually, emotionally or physically draining, I know that I can push further and find a way to get through that difficult situation. When you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and into situations of adversity, that’s when you truly find out who you are and how you deal with obstacles. It’s a beautiful thing, and I pray we all come to know that inner strength we have!
What’s your favorite item in your pack?
My single favorite item in my pack when I’m out on a long running adventure is my Katadyn BeFree Microfilter (.6L) bottle! It’s a collapsible bottle that folds down very small and filters water more quickly and efficiently than any other filter I’ve ever used. When I’m going long on the trails, it’s the perfect piece of equipment to keep me hydrated and feeling strong!
Do you have any advice for other hikers who are just starting out?
My best advice for hikers just getting started is to go after really big goals, but break them up into easy to digest daily goals to get there!
It was good enough for the second-fastest time ever run on the Tahoe Rim Trail, and the fastest time on the current version of the trail (which began as 165 miles and is now 172 miles).
For example, you want to thru hike a long trail but haven’t spent much time hiking? Start by getting out for one hour on your feet, and then slowly increase that over time. Then, add in a pack and start getting longer efforts on your feet with a pack on. You’ll start to take seemingly impossible goals and make them achievable through the daily practice of putting in the work and building from there!
My best recovery process is to fuel properly through longer efforts and to ensure I’m getting proper rest and body maintenance following a longer effort as well. If you eat well, rest well, and take care of your body, the rest of the process goes a lot more smoothly!
What have been the most influential hiking books, podcasts, or people?
I’m a huge fan of the following podcasts: “Ultrarunnerpodcast,” which obviously relates to my career as a professional ultrarunner; “The Rich Roll Podcast,” because he interviews so many varying types of endurance athletes and people who place the utmost importance on health and fitness; and “Outside” podcast, which covers so many interesting topics surrounding the great outdoors. As for people, I’m constantly inspired and driven by all the amazing people who are out there resetting their “impossible” on a daily basis!
Where’s your next adventure?
My next race adventure is in Rotorua, New Zealand, where I will race the Tarawera 100-Miler on February 8 th, 2020! I’m also on the hunt for my next running adventure: in 2016 I ran across the US in 60 days; in 2017 I ran self-supported across Great Britain and (along with my friend, Kris) set the FKT for running the length of Great Britain and summiting the three peaks; and now I’m plotting which country I will run across next!
Where can others learn more about you?
You can follow all of my adventures and races on my Facebook Athlete page (@AdamKimbleUltrarunner), my Instagram/Twitter (@adamkimble818) and on my website at www.adamkimble.com. Or, you can always catch me somewhere on the many gorgeous trails around Lake Tahoe!
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