This is a preview article from the August 2021 issue of UltraRunning Magazine. Not a subscriber? Please consider becoming one

Carly Koerner

By: Erika Hoagland

Age: 40

Where do you live currently? Ashland, Oregon

Where did you grow up? Bellingham, Washington

Occupation: Freelance graphic designer

(Editor’s note: Carly is the newest addition to the UR team as art director)

Family (kids, spouse, pets)? Mother of two: Nyla (7) and Izaak (5)

# of ultras run: I think I’m up in the 70s somewhere

How did you get into ultras? I was turned on to the idea while designing for Montrail Footwear, a decade and a half ago. A group of friends (albeit very elite group of running friends) were planning a run along the Wonderland Trail that circumnavigates Mt. Rainier and I wanted to join. However, I couldn’t run anything remotely close to that mileage and I didn’t like the feeling of being left out because I couldn’t run that far. I got to work pretty quickly thereafter.

Where is your favorite place to train? The mountains I call home are the best of the best. They are vast and steep and connect to the PCT, so there is no shortage of terrain to explore.

What is your go-to race or long run fuel? I was either blessed with a stomach of steel or did a good job training on a full belly, because I can handle any and all the yummies while running. I prefer salty over sweet and love to try inventive aid station food. (Perogies from McCoubrey going into the second half at Cascade Crest 100 are magical.)

What has been your most challenging race experience? Hands down, the most challenging was UTMB. Everything, I mean everything went wrong during my race and I simply didn’t persevere. After a few hours being back at my hotel, I realized that it was going to be far more challenging to deal with my 80ish-mile DNF than it may have been to continue running. Lesson learned.

What has been your greatest running achievement? Continuing to do it when sometimes the love for it seems to have faded. That would be my self-professed greatest running achievement.

What is the best piece of running advice you’ve ever received? Dave Terry told me early on, at the start of my ultra racing, to train hard on back-to-back days. He emphasized that running that second day, when my legs already felt shot, was the best way to prepare for the beating I would undoubtedly receive during an ultra.

How has your relationship with ultrarunning evolved over the years? It has certainly ebbed and flowed over the years. My heart is that of a 100-mile ultrarunner, but at times my body hasn’t always been on board. Motherhood took its toll on training. As well as circumstances outside my control, like spending summer months stuck inside under heavy smoke, causing motivation to slip. Still, without skipping a beat, what I love about my relationship with ultrarunning is that it’s always there calling to me.

What race is on your bucket list? Another crack at UTMB!

What is your current obsession? Golf. Which I find surprisingly similar to ultrarunning. It’s a great way to get outside and move my body. As I play, I’m constantly assessing my form, my flow, my nutrition and my gear. It’s also a great running supplement. Walking 18 holes on my home course logs me seven miles.

Who inspires you? I’ve been incredibly blessed to have attracted the most amazing group of female friends into my life. True, honest humans that fight hard to be their best selves and who are not afraid to shine. Each one in their own way, has inspired me to be my best self, too.

Who is your celebrity crush? For some reason the word crush sounds so off-putting to me. Who is a celeb I admire? I would be pretty tickled to hang with Macklemore, maybe hit a round together up in Seattle.

What is your favorite meal? Tacos with chips and dips

When was the last time you happy cried? Every time I listen to the song Glorious, by Macklemore. My kids get into it now. They were blown away when I first explained to them that tears can be ones of joy. Now they like to (lovingly) call me out for unabashedly embracing a touching moment.

What three words best describe you? Positive. Playful. Strong.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I’m terrible at that. It’s going to get an eye roll when I say this, but I’m only programmed to live in the moment. I’m sure there are better things waiting for me in my future than anything I myself could conjure up.

Last but certainly not least, the people need to know…how do we pronounce Koerner? Phonetically it’s kUHR-nuhr