“I got into ultra-running a few years back. I have always deemed myself a good athlete and felt that googling and reading some books on it would be enough to get me through whatever race came my way. As I started training and preparing for my first Ultra, I quickly realized that I was in over my head. While searching for videos about my upcoming race, I stumbled upon Ryan Ghelfi and his race at Black Canyon in Arizona. That was the race I was doing and after watching it over and and over I decided to Google some of the people in the race. Ryan Ghelfi quickly returned a result of Trails and Tarmac. I reached out to Ryan and we discussed my background, my goals for the race and future races. It’s going on 3 years now and Ryan and the Trails and Tarmac community are great. Ryan will come up with a training plan for the weeks before the race, which is perfect for myself being busy with work and family. I really enjoy just being able to open the plan for the week and know what it is expected. I cannot recommend Trails and Tarmac enough. Just the experience and knowledge that Coach gives goes so far when you’re about to go into your race.” 

-Chad Wickert of Wenatchee Washington

The main reason I joined Trails & Tarmac is because of the coaches. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the coaches while in Ashland in 2015 for a run along the Rogue River and they made quite the impression on me. Their knowledge of running and spirit of adventure is infectious! Ghelfi and Jen were some of the most genuine and fun people I had ever met. Since that trip I had constantly thought of joining T&T but I never followed through. I finally reached out to Ghelfi in May 2018 and he told me a coach would be contacting me.

Cole Watson reached out to me soon after and I began the process. I spoke to Cole for the first time via telephone, he was very interested in my past running experiences and very interested in my goals. He gave me my workouts and soon I was hitting the trails and following my prescribed runs. Before I knew it I was feeling great and my confidence was booming. Cole’s feedback and his attention to detail of my workouts allowed me to improve in many areas I had struggled with. I ran my first ultra in 2012 and I though I knew it all (HAHA) just before I started with T&T. The structured workouts Cole put in place for me allowed me to get into the best running shape I had been in since HS without a doubt. When it was time to run Kendall Mountain (Silverton, CO) in July I felt well prepared and ready to run hard. I had horrible race that day where my legs felt heavy and I had low energy pretty much the whole run. I attributed my bad race to lack of sleep and too much traveling prior to race day. Cole was quick to give me words of encouragement and he helped me stay focused on my next race which would be the Silverton Alpine 50K two weeks later. He gave me just the right workouts in the two week period between races. Come race day I was feeling great and decided I was going to have a great race because I had put in so much work and completely trusted what Cole asked me to do during training. The entire race I felt strong and only hit a short low point towards the end. I could definitely feel the entire race that this was my best ultra to date! At the finish line I realized I had beat my previous 50K personal best by 1 hour and 7 minutes. It is easy to say without Cole and T&T I would never have seen this type of improvement in just over SIX weeks of training! I have learned so much from Cole and about myself during my time with T&T. I would recommend them to anyone who wants to improve and evolve as a runner.

“Ryan is nothing short of brilliant. I am extremely thankful that he is coaching me and, in particular, love his truly personal approach to coaching. I do have a very hectic, unpredictable job with long hours. Ryan is super quick in updating my training plans and has developed a true understanding of how to square my ultrarunning with the challenges that I face during my job.

When I first navigated on the Trails and Tarmac webpage I was a bit intimidated – a team of pro ultrarunners, just literally my idols in one place. However, it just took a couple of emails and skype session before I understood how down to earth and approachable the entire crew is. True ultrarunners and true coaches – just an amazing combination.”

-Nicholas Weuthrich of Zurich Switzerland

So after 10 years of running marathons and shorter distances I decided to extend the distance. For my first few ultras I trained on my own and wrote my own training plans. I ran well but felt like I had more in the tank. So I contacted trails and tarmac and was put in contact with Camelia Mayfield. She helped me get through my first 100 in just over 25hrs and then also qualify for Leadville. I completed Leadville in just under 25hrs for the big buckle. Then 6 months later in Feb.2019 I ran Rocky Raccoon 100 and finished in 17:41:00. I also attempted a 24hr track event and got to the 100 mile distance in 16:51:10. Needless to say trails and tarmac has worked for me and Camelia Mayfield has been awesome. If you don’t have a coach I would highly recommend Trails and Tarmac.

“I’ve tried other programs, and had gone about a year without a coach, because I was suffering from burn out and just wasn’t feeling as focused and driven as I once was. A friend had raved about her training with Trails and Tarmac, and it was time for me to get help again as I approached the end of a big season. Cole responded right away to my inquiry on the website. I was so impressed at how he had taken the time to read about my goals and experience. He had taken a look at my race history before our first phone meeting and made me feel immediately comfortable about what I wanted to accomplish. He has been a great coach for the past 9 months. During this time my level of fitness has sky rocketed! My race results are proof that I am capable of so much more than I ever dreamt. He’s thoughtful, and takes into account my busy work schedule. The work is not easy and the training is fun. Every workout has me feeling strong and confident. Before Cole, I felt like a runner, but now I am an athlete! He has taken me to the next level and I am thrilled to see what we accomplish in the future! Game on!”

-Daisy Clark of Seattle Washington

“Working with Ryan and Trails and Tarmac has been nothing but a positive experience. Ryan has given me fun, personalized, race specific training plans that have kept training interesting and me healthy throughout big training blocks. Working with T&T I have set PRs, run new distances and become a stronger more resilient runner. These guys and girls have a lot of great knowledge about training, courses and how create a specific training plan for each runner and race. The varied race specific work outs really prepare you for your goal race and keep training fun and interesting, which can be tough as you work through a long training block. In my over year and a half working with Ryan I never felt like he was just going through the motions. He always put a lot of details in each weeks work outs and helpful feedback on every days run.”

-Kanoa King of Portsmouth New Hampshire

“I have had an unbelievable coaching experience with Trails & Tarmac. Back in 2016, I finished yet another marathon, using a training schedule I pulled from a website. It was the 4th time I had attempted a Boston qualifying time, and the 4th time that I came within 3 minutes of that goal (twice I qualified, but not by enough to make it to the big race). Discouraged and frustrated, a friend of mine suggested I talk to Trails & Tarmac, a local coaching company. I sent out an e-mail and heard back from Ryan right away – met with him a few days later, after he researched my race times and previous training. He had lots of immediate feedback; small and thoughtful tweaks to what I had been doing.

I jumped into coaching and pretty much haven’t looked back. I registered for the Rogue Marathon (9/16), with the goal of qualifying for Boston, running Boston, and then switching over to trail running (I live in the mountains and truly find my happiness there). Ryan structured my workouts with plenty of relaxed runs, plus always some speed work and workouts specific to whatever course I was about to race. In training for the Rogue Marathon, I tossed in Siskiyou Outback 50K (6/16, my first true Ultra). I had a wonderful Ultra experience, then ran the Rogue Marathon and qualified for Boston by 4:31 minutes. I continued with Trails & Tarmac to run Boston, then run my first 50-miler (7/17 SOB), followed by a 100k (5/18 Miwok) and a 100 miler (11/18 Rio del Lago). In all, I have run 10 Ultras plus 3 marathons since 2016, all while being coached by T&T. I have also completed PRs in the 5k, 10k and 1 mile distance.

Coaching is not cheap. My family has teased me for paying for “praise”, but truthfully, the past 3 years have changed my running experience and given me a tremendous amount of joy. I love the accountability, the focused runs, the thoughtful feedback, the challenge to push myself on tough workouts, the texts and e-mails responding to my pre-race jitters and post-race blues. I love having someone on my “team”, someone who knows my strengths and weaknesses, who researches course profiles and has expert knowledge on hydration, crew tips, injury prevention, nutrition, and the mental roller coaster of racing.

I am not an elite athlete, but the past 3 years have pushed me to compete against myself and despite aging, my times keep improving! Winning my age group is winning the race. Having a coach has also helped me to focus on training blocks, adding “breaks” from training to recover and maintain a life balance. Having a coach has kept me from overtraining. I have not been injured (knock on wood!) seriously since I have been coached. My coach seems to know exactly what I must do to be successful without burning out or getting injured. This is truly an art.

2019 is a big year. I dropped my name into Lake Sonoma 50m, Leadville 100m, and the NY Marathon lotteries. Luck was with me and I got into all of them (adding to several other local ultras I’d already registered for….). Just finished a solid training block for Lake Sonoma and had a terrific (and challenging) race. I’ve had enough of a break that I am psyched to get back into training. Leadville is a different beast and knowing that I have help in figuring it out gives me the confidence I need to move forward with minimal stress or self-doubt. My coach says I can do this, of course I can!!”

-Becky Grebosky of Ashland Oregon