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When it comes to ultra-long distance running, Eric Orton is the man who can teach you go to farther than you ever thought possible. His most famous client is runner Christopher McDougall, whose book, Born to Run, features Orton as a transforming influence. His coaching goes beyond running; his focus is on building athletes for whom marathons are just warm ups.
Orton, a certified functional training specialist and sports hypnotist, offers personal coaching and training packages; he also founded Running With Eric, a global network of runners who interact online for mutual support and encouragement. Speaking with Discovery, Orton revealed his surprising greatest accomplishment, what pushed him to leave the corporate world for a life in the mountains, and why a short term memory is a long distance runner’s best friend.
Eric Orton: I have been a runner most of my life, starting very early as a football player (running back) and track athlete. But I really found my stride as a mountain runner once I moved to Colorado in the early 90’s, competing in a variety of ultra distances. This prepared me for the “real” mountains of Jackson Hole, having the Teton range as my backyard playground.
EO: I worked in the corporate world as an environmental consultant before realizing my passion was using my gift as an athlete to help runners achieve the ‘Cool Impossible’, something they might not think they can do. Once I made this decision, my coaching career took off and it was quite obvious this was my passion path and what I was meant to do with my life.
EO: I absolutely love to train, whether I am competing or not – mountain running and training is my own self-expression. And this training allows me to challenge myself with unbelievable adventure runs in the mountains, experiencing the beauty of nature and wildlife. I am very competitive and enjoy being pushed to achieve my best, but ultimately it is the lifestyle and daily self-discovery that feed my love of running.
EO: When people put their dreams on the shelf.
EO: I think all successful athletes and successful people in general do not look back, but forward. And it is mandatory for endurance runners to have a very short memory, as it is not good “to be able” to remember what the last 40 miles felt like of a 100 mile run. I believe we can create our own future by how we think in the present. So my greatest accomplishment is having one runner per household – worldwide!
EO: Can’t remember!
EO: Homeopathic doctor – Medicine Man. I guess in some ways I have already achieved this with running, but I am very interested in learning more about naturopathic ways of improving health and performance.
Eric Orton is currently a zozi Guru. The zozi Guru™ team is a hand-selected group of the most highly accomplished and well-known individuals who’ve defined adventure, and who’ll lead you in small groups on experiences of a lifetime.
Photo credit: Courtesy of zozi