At Princeton, Boulder resident Clare Gallagher, 28, professional ultrarunner and climate advocate, studied coral ecology and ran cross country and track. Her time outdoors made her realize the importance of protecting the environment, explaining, “Running outside turned me into an environmentalist.”
Clare began running professionally in 2016 after winning the Leadville 100. She’s since won Western States (2019), CCC 101k (2017, UTMB series) and has the Fastest Known Times on the Zion Traverse and Joshua Tree Traverse.
Today as a Patagonia global sports activist, she conducts store talks, writes for running magazines, volunteers for non-profits Protect Our Winters (POW) and Colorado Rising, and engages fellow trailrunners in environmental action.
On her radar is passage of the CORE Act (Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act) that would protect 400,000 acres (78,000 of them as wilderness), and add new recreation management areas (RMAs). It passed the U.S. House of Representatives but is currently stalled in the Senate.
An athlete who runs 50-80 miles a week, often in her “personal cathedral” – Summit County’s Eagles Nest Wilderness – she has become politically active as well. “Wilderness doesn’t come for free. If we work and play in the outdoors, we have to vote like we care about it.”
Gallagher adds, “Earth is our home and you don’t have to be a professional ultra runner to be a climate advocate. Caring about our running experience means we care about our environment.” (clare.run)
Cover photo by Brendan Davis