Carter, Biologist, will be celebrating two years at ATL this July. Carter started running in high school, about 10 miles per week, to condition for wrestling. In college he stepped it up to 15-20 miles per week as conditioning for ultimate Frisbee and his backpacking excursions throughout Alabama. After college, Carter combined running with his love for hiking and backpacking and started trail running. And has been progressively building on that for about three years, with an emphasis on longer distance running.

What do you enjoy the most about running? I love being outdoors in nature; that’s always something I’ve found to be calming and great for managing stress, so for me just being able to get out and spend some time away from daily stresses while generally improving my sense of well-being and deriving some satisfaction from having accomplished some distance or time goal is always nice. And for me there’s a sort of freedom in exploring new trails and trying to tailor training runs with various terrain and elevation change to my fitness goals.

Are you involved in the running community at large? I volunteer at trail events, generally running aid stations. For me, I really enjoy knowing that I’m helping to get someone else to a point where they can accomplish their goals, whatever they may be. And having been on the other side of it, I know that there have been times where all I’ve needed to get me out of a funk on a long, tough race is a cold popsicle or some pickle juice, so being able to give that to someone else is nice.

How does your passion for running impact your role at ATL? For me, I think it helps benefit me in allowing me to develop certain intangible characteristics like resiliency, determination, knowing how to set and accomplish goals and being able to deal with setbacks. These are all things that I experience on a microcosmic level in a race or long training run that are certainly applicable to tough, long-term projects at work where results may sometimes be less than ideal or difficult to interpret.

On average, how many miles would you say you run each week? 60ish, with about 2/3 of those being on trails.

What is your favorite distance to run? 50 miles right now, but I’m planning on trying a couple of 100-mile races late in the year and might (or might not) have a different answer at that point.

Describe your best race/marathon/running experience? My favorite experience was my most recent 50-mile race at the Potawatomi Trail Races in Illinois, because I felt like everything went well for me, so it’s been sort of a validation of the training I’ve been doing, but additionally because I just loved the race atmosphere. Everyone was extremely encouraging and just seemed to be out there to have a good time, so that kept my spirits high throughout.

What race/marathon/accomplishment are you the proudest of or means the most to you? For now, the distance/time goal I set at the aforementioned run means the most to me—to be able to run for 50 miles on a hilly (at least for the Midwest) course in 9.5 hours and still come out the other end smiling and healthy and, not only that, but placed second overall–that for me was awesome.