10+ inspirational trail runners to follow

Looking for some running and fitness inspiration that comes with a side of outdoor awesomeness? These impressive trail runners bring a refreshingly fun and mellow mood to your Instagram game. Not only are they dedicated to training and crushing some monster goals in the process (see: 50-mile ultras), but their ability to just let go and get real make them easy favourites in our books.

MEC Ambassador Nick Elson

Follow @nicksethelson for: mid-race photos from the Kneeknacker, Hardrock 100 and more, plus summit vistas and real-talk on getting through races, facing competition and the payoff of hard effort.

Cresting Eagle Bluffs during the Kneeknacker 30 mile race yesterday. The race starts just above Horseshoe Bay (visible 1000 meters below) and traverses Vancouver's North Shore to finish in Deep Cove. With amazing community support, a storied history, and a logical, challenging course, the Kneeknacker is a really wonderful local event. I ran the race four years ago as my first ultra. Like most first ultras, it was a humbling experience as my legs cramped up horribly in the last quarter of the race. As it turns out, most of the ultras I've run since have been equally humbling - even when I've managed to have good results my legs have generally felt awful near the end of long races. So it was very satisfying to return to the Kneeknacker yesterday and feel strong where previously I'd struggled. I knew that I would need to have a great race to even approach Aaron Heidt's 2009 course record (Aaron is a Canadian running legend who has run a 4:01 mile and finished well at UTMB) and for whatever mysterious reason I felt great and managed to improve on it. Thanks @skiericcarter for crewing for me and keeping my fans (aka my parents) appraised of my progress via social media. Thanks @thehilaryann for the great photo.

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Mark Sawh

Follow @mark_sawh for: lighthearted captions, awesome park pictures with friends and his adorable sidekick Blaze, plus heartwarming outdoor moments that definitely meet #relationshipgoals criteria.

Hilary Matheson

Follow @thehilaryann for: seemingly endless energy and gratitude, a solid dose of fun (including Winnie the Pooh quotes), a hit of wanderlust and natural authenticity.

New blog post: Am I Still An Ultra Runner if I’m Not Ultra Racing? • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Races make excellent goalposts. They can provide training incentive, help us push farther than we otherwise would have, and provide progress markers. However, they do not define us as runners or what we are capable of, and they are but one piece of the puzzle. When I was injured last fall and unable to race, I began questioning whether I could actually still call myself an ultra runner — I mean, if I wasn’t ultra racing, what would I tell people I was working towards? It seemed so underwhelming to simply talk about being a trail runner, without having some sort of epic goal on the horizon. And then I realized how ridiculous that was. • • • • • Head to the link in my bio to read the rest. 📸one of my fav shots ever, by the talented @adameloso

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Adam Gilbert

Follow @adameloso for: goofball mentality, gorgeous photography of picturesque landscapes, and good buddy hangs (an inadvertent reminder to get outside with your friends more).

Pumped to be working with @saucony, and now transferring to the Canadian side this year (@sauconycanada ). Can’t wait to get out on the trails, and explore some new places in there awesome gear 😀. Thanks again Saucony for bringing me on for the 3rd year. Also congratulations to and @anygivenrunday, looking forward to seeing you two on the trails :) . #runyourworld #findyourstrong #explorebc #hikebc #photography #explorecanada #thankyoucanada #goodtimesoutside #dailyhivevan #herpnwlife #hellobc #artofvisuals #exploretocreate #unrulydreamers #sheadventures #expandyourplayground #getoutside #optoutside #pnwcollective #wanderlust #livefolk #socality #stayandwander #thatpnwlife #outdoorvancouver #happyadventuring @pnwdiscovered

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Kimberley Teshima Newberry

Follow @kimberleydt for: beautiful trail photos of the Pacific Northwest, cute cameos from her pup Asparagus (aka Gus), fun training shots and adventures with run buddy and husband @ethannewberry.

Kilian Jornet

Follow @kilianjornet for: an athlete’s perspective, including training tips, technique talk, and cross-training adventures, plus down-right magical landscapes and first looks at Salomon gear.

Mira Rai

Follow @mira.rai for: run training and races all over the world, incredible views of the Himalayas, and an insider look at Nepalese culture and the close-knit Nepal trail running community.

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Hailey Van Dyk

Follow @haileyvandyk for: bottomless enthusiasm and playfulness, inspiring reflections and encouragement, updates from Run Like A Girl, rad mountain scenery, and cameos from her Ecuadorian rescue pup Cotopaxi.

Gary Robbins

Follow @garyrobbins for: race information, reveals and updates, cameos from the trail running community at large, stats, sponsorships, endorsements and general die-hard running.

Shannon Penway

Follow @runshannyrun for: fun displays of patriotism via her spot on the national mountain running team, fun shots of her pup Cash, cameos from her run buddy and beautiful mountain vistas.

Lucy Bartholomew

Follow @lucy_bartholomew for: a regular dose of positivity and gratitude, foodie comradery, regular pre- during and post-race updates, and run-happy reminders to be yourself.

Round out your feed by following

Parks Canada

Follow @parks.canada for: dreamy trail pictures from all over the country. See them in person by picking up a Discovery Pass.

Dirtbag Runners

Follow @dirtbagrunners for: fun, dirt, travel and community.

MEC Ambassador Jim Willett

Follow @optimismninja for: inspiring ultramarathon shots and run adventures on road and trail, plus the odd @MEC giveaway.

Laney Fung

Follow @laneyfung for: fun captions, cameos by her dog Sadie and updates on BC races (we hear she looks after communications for @coastmtntrail, @squamish50 and @diezvista races).

Kim Budziak

Wordsmith, avid skier and rookie road biker. Firmly believes the best days are the snowiest ones.