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Runner Interview: Maria Dalzot (@mariadalzot)

Runner Interview: Maria Dalzot


  • Location: Bellingham, Washington, USA

Artist Point, Mt Baker, Washington, U.S.A. October 2016. This picture was taken right before the first major snowstorm. Now this spot is under many feet of snow until next June.

When and why did you start running?

I started running when I was very young as something I did for fun. I did not have parents or siblings who ran or who were into athletics. I simply loved the feeling of running up a hill and screaming down the other side. I got a thrill from being chased during a game of tag in gym class.

Running was always something that brought me joy and was an innate part of me. I started formal training and competing in the seventh grade when cross country was first offered and have progressed from there.

Describe your ideal race or adventure challenge

My ideal race would be around 42k, marathon distance. The location would be somewhere not at altitude, that has low humidity and doesn’t get too hot or too cold. I don’t like exposure so I would want to be among the trees. I guess I just described the Pacific Northwest!

Tell us about your favourite trail

My favorite trails are ones that are not too technical that you can get some speed going, but have enough elevation gain to make you work. The Chuckanut Mountains here in Bellingham, Washington are my go-to trails that meet all my training needs from technical single-track to steep service roads. The only thing missing is the altitude, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make to live in one of the most beautiful places in the United States.

The Chuckanut Mountains here in Bellingham, Washington are my go-to trails that meet all my training needs from technical single-track to steep service roads.

maria dalzot trail and kale 06

What has been your biggest running / adventure challenge to date?

My biggest running challenge is overcoming my anxiety. Through the years running has provided me relief from obsessive, scary thoughts and has calmed my monkey mind. The trails have been an escape from the stress of life and a way to refocus and prioritize. But sometimes running is the cause of my anxiety and leaves me dead in my tracks, stranded on a mountain top shaky and unable to breathe. It is a constant challenge for me to overcome such debilitating feelings to keep pursuing what I am most passionate about.


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Garibaldi Lake, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. August 2016. This was one of the most stunning views I have ever seen on a run.

Tell us about your greatest running fail, we’ve all had – or will have – them at some point!

My greatest running fail was my first and only DNF (did not finish) at the 2016 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship in Podbrdo, Slovenia. I dropped out at mile 16 due to a variety of reasons. I struggled for many months with grief and embarrassment for letting my country and my teammates down.

What advice would you give to a new trail runner?

My advice for a new trail runner is don’t compare your trail times to your road times. I often get asked what my half-marathon or marathon PR (personal record) is. Time is completely irrelevant on the trails. Trail running is a completely different sport and I think a lot of people coming from a road running background do not appreciate this until they get out there and realize that it may take 3 hours to run 10 miles and, yes, you may need to stop and eat a sandwich mid-way.

O’ahu, Hawaii, U.S.A., February 2016. A mid-run breath to catch up to the oppressing humidity.

What is your favourite bit of running kit, and why?

My favorite bits of running kit are my La Sportiva trail shoes. I also love my Suunto GPS watch. I never leave the house without them!

Time is completely irrelevant on the trails.

What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?

I just signed up for my first 50K, the Chuckanut 50k in Bellingham, Washington, USA on March 18, 2017. I will spend this winter working out on the course and getting in quality long runs. I am excited for the 2017 adventures that have yet to be determined!

maria dalzot trail and kale 05

Whats your favourite running/adventure book, and which songs keep you going when things get tough?

My favorite running/adventure book is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

I am a fan of the 90’s American punk band, The Offspring. I still get an adrenaline rush when I hear their hit Self Esteem. I also like Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.

Finally, What do you get up to when you’re not running or adventuring?

I am a Registered Dietitian, and when I am not training I work as a nutrition consultant where my goal is to encourage and support people to make healthy and sustainable lifestyle changes that will directly improve their athletic performance and enhance their quality of their life.

maria dalzot trail and kale 07
Thank you for taking the time to be Interviewed Maria, happy trails!

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Mentioned in this Interview and recommended by Trail & Kale:

Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand

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Alastair Dixon
Alastair Dixonhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hey, I'm Alastair. 5 years ago I started Trail & Kale as a way to share the mental & physical benefits that trail running and nature had given me. Since then Trail & Kale has grown to become a thriving blog and community that inspires people to trail run, hike, adventure more, and live a healthy plant-based lifestyle.
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