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Athlete Interview: SCOTT Sports’ Ryan Bak

Ryan Bak running in the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon

Ryan Bak running in the Portland Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon caught up with another SCOTT Sports athlete this week. Ryan Bak took time out to discuss training in Oregon, running with purpose and winning the 2012 Rock ‘N’ Roll Portland Half Marathon:

1. Who do you train with?

I am fortunate to have a great trail running community to run with in the mountains and trails surrounding Bend, Oregon. Local runs include the likes of Max King (Montrail), Mario Mendoza (Salomon), Ian Sharman (SCOTT Sports), Stephanie Howe (North Face), and my speedy wife, Natalie, among others. I try to coordinate some of my harder workouts with Max, who has similar background strengths on the track and roads, and has become a dominant runner on the trails. I am trying to improve my technical skills and the best way to do that is to run with great technical runners on the trails.

2. Where are your favourite training routes?

I love any training run through the mountain trails of the Cascade Range volcanoes of Central Oregon. These runs always include a great mix of climbing and breathtaking scenery that keep me coming back for more. One of my favorite local mountain trails is the Green Lakes / Soda Creek loop. I also like to mix in quite a bit of faster tempo running on the roads and track as part of my regular training.

3. What is the best piece of running advice you have ever received?

“Every run has a purpose.” Make sure you know the purpose of every training session before you start so that you can run it properly and get the most benefit from it. For example, if you have an easy recovery run on your schedule, make sure you truly run at an “easy” effort so that you can properly recover for the bigger work ahead.

4. How did you come to be a SCOTT Sports Athlete?

I came from a road and track background where I raced mainly at 5,000 meters before moving up to the marathon just over one year ago. I have always enjoyed running on the trails, but it wasn’t until moving to Bend, Oregon in the summer of 2011 that I really learned about the disciplines of mountain, trail, and ultra running.

In preparation for road events over the past year and a half, I began incorporating some local trail races, including the 2011 & 2012 USA 50k Trail Championship, hosted by the Flagline 50k. This has been a SCOTT Sports sponsored event and it gave me my first introduction to the SCOTT Running line. When I made the decision to seriously pursue mountain and trail running beginning in 2013, I wanted to run for a company that could produce top-notch trail shoes and equipment as well as great road shoes for some cross over in years to come.

SCOTT Sports is at the forefront of innovation, technology, and design and it shows in the amazing products that they are producing. I am fortunate that Scott McCoubrey, the USA footwear division manager for SCOTT, saw potential in my athletic abilities on the trails and the road ahead. I am thankful to SCOTT Sports for their sponsorship and support.

5. What has been your running highlight from the last year?

The highlight of my 2012 racing campaign was winning the inaugural Rock ‘N’ Roll Portland Half Marathon. The race came at the end of three consecutive weekends of high level road racing and I was able to whittle down a very competitive field on a challenging and hilly course to pull away for the victory over the last ¼ mile. Cruising through the final spectator lined stretch that included my smiling wife at the finish was a great way to cap off three hard weeks of racing.

6. What are you hoping to achieve this year?

I want to get back to full health and transition from the roads to the mountains to become a top-level international trail runner. I hope to improve my technical running skills so that I can contend for top podium finishes at various USA Trail Championship events and international races such as the Zermatt Marathon, Sierre-Zinal, and Matterhorn Ultraks.

7. What is your favourite piece of kit from SCOTT?

The entire SCOTT AMT line is amazing because it is very lightweight and versatile. I can’t wait to get an AMT windbreaker! My favorite shoes for the trails are the SCOTT T2 Kinabalu and my favorite shoes for the roads are the SCOTT T2C Evo.

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