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Local ultrarunner goes fast and far with community support

Jeff Colt Photo.jpg
Mike McGonagle
Photo courtesy of Jeff Colt
Carbondale ultrarunner Jeff Colt competes in the Bandera Endurance Trail Run in Texas. Colt won the 100 kilometer race this January, earning a "golden ticket" to the Western States Endurance Run in California in June.

The saying goes that if you want to go fast, you should go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.

It’s the theme and the title of Carbondale ultrarunner Jeff Colt’s “Potbelly Perspectives” talk at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies on Wednesday at 6 p.m., when he’ll speak about his endurance sports career and the community that has supported him along the way.

Colt interprets the saying to mean that “we’re capable of more than we think we are,” with a heavy emphasis on the “we” of collective effort.

“If you go out and try something really hard and you're kind of isolated or within yourself when you're trying that, it's likely a harder experience than if you do you start to open up your thoughts to the people in your life that uplift you and support you and inspire you,” Colt said in a Zoom interview last month.

Colt has gone both fast and far over the course of his seven-year endurance racing career, logging podium finishes in races up to 100 miles long. His latest accomplishment, a win in the 100 kilometer race at the Bandera Bandera Endurance Trail Run in Texas in January, earned him a golden ticket to the ultrarunning holy grail of the Western States Endurance Run in California in June. Colt finished 11th at Western States last year.

The Bandera win came just two months after Colt and several other runners represented Team U.S.A. at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships. Colt plans to share stories and photos from that experience at the talk.

Colt credits his success on the world stage to support from the people around him.

“It's been a curious, curious conclusion, because these efforts are pretty much solitary,” Colt said. “I'm out there running by myself, maybe I'm with another competitor for a short period of time. But during these … individual endurance efforts, I find a lot of strength in my community."

The talk starts at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at ACES’ Hallam Lake Nature Preserve. It’s free for members and $5 for the general public.


Kaya Williams is the Edlis Neeson Arts and Culture Reporter at Aspen Public Radio, covering the vibrant creative and cultural scene in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. She studied journalism and history at Boston University, where she also worked for WBUR, WGBH, The Boston Globe and her beloved college newspaper, The Daily Free Press. Williams joins the team after a stint at The Aspen Times, where she reported on Snowmass Village, education, mental health, food, the ski industry, arts and culture and other general assignment stories.