In this episode of the Art and Science of Running podcast, we chat with world class ultrarunner, race director, and entrepreneur, Jamil Coury (@jamilcoury) about all of the changed taking place in the sport with the need to cancel events due to the global Coronavirus pandemic. Jamil is leading the way as a race director, pivoting from putting on over 30 trail and ultrarunning events per year across the American Southwest to offering a number of virtual options which extend beyond the US border and provide a sense of purpose and meaning for runners around world.
What started as a means of engaging runners between cancelled or postponed events, Jamil and his team at Aravaipa Running created a virtual 10 day running challenge called Aravaipa Strong that allowed people to select a distance and try to cover it anytime during the 10 day window. But this event didn’t just draw in those signed up to run an Aravaipa race in the Spring of 2020 – it drew in runners from all parts of the globe.
Insomniac Night Runs
Aravaipa Strong was such a success that Jamil and his team decided to create additional virtual challenges that runners can tackle in the coming weeks. The Insomniac Series has been a night run series that Aravaipa puts on through the hot desert months in Arizona, but now people can do these events from anywhere and participate in a variety of categories, distances, challenges throughout the summer months through the Carpe Noctem Virtual Night Run Series Pass.
Limitless Vertical Challenge
If running at night isn’t your thing, Aravaipa is also hosting a virtual climbing challenge called the Limitless Vertical Challenge. In this challenge, runners can take on challenges ranging from once up the Empire State Building to twice up Mt. Everest.
While Jamil’s personal running career has been extensive and rather accomplished (top 10 at Hardrock 100), one thing that sets Jamil apart in the trail and ultrarunning community is the artistic way in which he contributes to the community. Both as a race director and content creator, Jamil is an artist in every sense of the word. He incorporates elements of other races into his own, but definitely adds a personal touch to each event whether that is with the custom medals, unique overall awards, brick oven pizza, or professional video coverage – every event that Jamil directs is a world-class production.
In the case of virtual races, Jamil cut his teeth on virtual races while running a Helipad Marathon on a very small loop atop the roof of the Aravaipa Running headquarters the night before a stay-at-home order went into effect in the state of Arizona.
Behind the Lens
Jamil extends his artistry from race directing to the camera – filming and producing some of the best running footage on the Internet and posts it to the Run Steep Get High cha...