Professional endurance athlete. Olympic Trials qualifier. 2014 U.S. 50 mile road champion. Seeker of sunlight and striking landscapes.

My journey into the running world was somewhat unconventional. Although I dabbled in team sports in high school, I was never very active as a kid. Upon starting my first office job back in 2007, I became especially sedentary. As my weight started to creep up, I knew I had to do something to improve my fitness. Many of my warmest childhood memories center around the White Mountain Region, where every summer I would venture north to hike up some of New Hampshire’s tallest peaks. The decision to take up hiking as an adult seemed almost instinctive. It was as if the mountains I loved so deeply as a child were calling me back.

What began as a goal to simply get in shape led to my discovery of the White Mountain 4,000-footers. Suddenly, I found myself filled with an urge to stand atop all 48 of New Hampshire’s tallest peaks. First, in any season. Then, in a single winter season. And ultimately in consecutive calendar seasons.

As my trail mileage increased, the transition from hiking to running seemed to come naturally. I quickly learned that I could travel even faster by jogging the downhills, then the flats, and, in time, the uphills. Upon discovering ultrarunning in 2009, I suddenly found my calling.

Running has truly transformed me as a person. The sport has enabled me to achieve things I never thought possible and inspires me to be the best I can be. It brings me comfort and balance as I juggle a hectic work and training schedule. Most importantly, it brings me happiness – a deep, fulfilling, overwhelming sense of purpose and joy that’s tough to describe via words.

My life certainly seems wild sometimes, but I would not want things any other way.

Photo: Ice Age Trail 50 2016, courtesy of Ali Engin