Talk to Corrine Malcolm and it’s clear she has not forgotten her roots or the homegrown experiences that have helped to catapult her onto the national running stage. And, now she is coming home to participate in the Birkie Trail Run & Trek marathon on October 1st on the iconic hills of the Birkie Trail.
In her youth, Corrine, a 2008 graduate of Hayward High School, dabbled in a number of sports and notes that she was not terribly good at any of them. “I was your average youth soccer player, enjoyed softball, a very brief attempt at basketball, lacked the grace needed for figure skating, and spent summer days at lumberjack bowl logrolling for hours,” she stated on her blog.
Years ago, and after much coaxing, Corrine joined the Hayward High School running team and was hooked. A natural-born runner, she loved racing but at the time, the sport didn’t love her back. Plagued by both a hip and knee injury she switched gears and made her mark as a cross-country skier, earning a Wisconsin State High School Championship title. With a sports journey that has spanned running and cross-country skiing in high school; knee surgery; skiing on the Junior National Ski Team; cross-country running and skiing at Montana State University; competing with the Maine Winter Sports Center’s biathlon team; time spent at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY; racing for the U.S. National Biathlon team; a biathlon podium finish at the European Biathlon Championships; a USA Junior Championship title in Biathlon; and most recently winning the 2016 USA 50-Mile Trail National Championships in June; Corrine has certainly made her mark in the skiing, biathlon, and running worlds on local, national and even international stages.
In anticipation of her return to Hayward to compete in the Birkie Trail Run & Trek marathon, Corrine recently caught up with the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation on what it is like to be coming home to the Birkie Trail, her thoughts on winning the 2016 USA 50-Mile Trail National Championship, and her time logged on the running trail.
How does it feel to be coming home to participate in the Birkie Trail Run & Trek?
The Birkie Trail is where I first started trail running, of course at the time I was first and foremost a skier, I have spent so many hours on those trails. From helping to build single track trails for a summer, to skiing, running, and biking year around, those were the trails that taught me to love being outside.
Can you remind folks of your Hayward roots and how you got started in running and skiing?
My first real introduction to skiing came through Nordic Kids. Truthfully, I think we spent more time eating snow then logging kilometers! I started running cross country late in the season during my freshmen year of high school, I thought I was a sprinter, but I fell in love with it pretty quickly. I loved Hayward’s home course on the Birkie Trail because it had more hills than any other courses we ran all year. I skied for the high school team in the winters during high school but didn’t really fall in love with the sport until my sophomore and junior years. When I came back from my year studying abroad in Latvia, I turned to training for skiing year around.
Who do you credit with getting you on the trail to running and skiing?
I was so lucky growing up in Hayward, because there was such a strong community that wanted to support young runners and skiers. My parents were incredibly supportive, but neither one came from a Nordic skiing background; I was more or less adopted by the trail community in Hayward. Matt Ostrander brought the cross country running team to the trails regularly and encouraged us to have fun. Steve Narveson and Steve Morales were my first ski coaches and they definitely had to put up with some antics as I was convinced I was a runner through and through; but they taught me I could love skiing too. Roger Burger and Diane Tremblay carted me all over the place to train and race and were always willing to get up extra early to roller-ski for a couple hours or join me for part of a long run. Bill Pierce probably believed in me more than I did as a junior skier and encouraged me to keep trying, even when I was disappointed with training or racing. I was really lucky!
How did it feel to win the Cayuga 50-mile race and ultimately the USA National 50-Mile Trail Championship in June?
I ran my first Ultra at the Chuckanut 50km in March in Bellingham, Washington, and my first 100km in April for my birthday. You only get to run 62 miles on your 26th birthday once! I felt confident going into the National Championships at Cayuga mostly because I knew I could survive it. The most surreal part of winning Cayuga was that I took over the lead just before mile 20 and having to protect the lead for 30 miles was thrilling and exhausting!
What are a few of your favorite memories of running the Birkie Trail?
My favorite memory of running on the Birkie Trail is probably winning our home cross-country meet the fall of my senior year. There is a really big hill near the cut across/short cut back down to the hatchery and I made sure that on every training run that summer I always ran the whole hill and over the top of it. When I hit that climb, which is probably at the 4km mark of the 5km course, I knew I had it and felt like I flew up and over the hill.
With your eyes on racing at the World Championships at the end of October, tell us how it feels to be running competitively on the world stage?
I’m so excited to be representing the USA at the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) Trail World Championships in Portugal this October. One of the greatest things I loved about racing for the US National Biathlon team was getting to travel to new places, and I have that same excitement for getting to explore a national park in Portugal on foot!
How does running the Birkie Trail Run & Trek marathon fit into your overall training plan?
My typical Saturday long runs range from 14-31 miles, and normally contain a workout component. i.e. run the down hills hard, pick-ups, alternating hard and easy miles. So for me racing is always great practice, another opportunity to pin a race number on, and have my long run catered along the way!
How can folks follow your upcoming running adventure in Portugal?
The best way to follow my adventures and my upcoming trip to Portugal is on Instagram and on my website/blog:
What is your favorite pre, during, and post-race food?
I have a huge sweet tooth and a love of baked goods! Cookies are still my favorite, but don’t tell that to donuts because I love them too! I’m pretty boring when it comes to race fuel pre and during, I eat white rice and eggs pre-race, when I can. During races I’m more or less straight energy gels. My body seems to digest it really well and it keeps me steadily fueled. I have been known to eat my fair share of Twizzlers, Rice Krispy treats, and Sprite during long races. Post-race I love a big chocolate chip cookie!
During her adventures, Malcolm also managed to graduate, with honors, from Montana State University at Bozeman with a degree in Health and Human performance. Corrine currently attends Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC., where she is pursuing a Masters in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology with her sights set on a PhD in the future.
The 2016 Birkie Trail Run & Trek events start and finish at Birkie Ridge Trailhead, 12.5 miles north of Hayward, Wisconsin, and 5 miles south of Cable, Wisconsin on Saturday, October 1. The eight Birkie Trail Run & Trek events place runners and trekkers on some of the most scenic stretches of the famous Birkie Trail and single-track sections of the CAMBA (Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association) trail system. With eight events on the roster – including a marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, Nordic Trek, 5K run/walk, youth 5K (12 and under) and 1K Kid’s Dash (free for ages 9 and under), along with the 100K Ultra Marathon – there is a north woods trail experience available for every ability level, including National Ultrarunner Champions like Corrine Malcolm. Anyone interested in running in the Birkie Trail Run & Trek may still register at www.Birkie.com.