Member Spotlight: Lou Karl

How long have you been running and why did you start running? Several decades. I started running to quit smoking and over time it became the stronger addiction.

How long have you been part of TRL, and what drew you to the club in the first place? I originally joined TRL in the late 1990’s when visiting Portland from Ohio to run the Portland Marathon. As I recall, Kevin (the founder of TRL) bought me shots after the race and presented me with a TRL singlet along with a free membership. I rejoined in 2012 when I moved to Portland.

What do you do when you’re not running (job, family, school…whatever it is you’d use to introduce yourself outside of running)? I am a retired IT Project Manager and am engaged in a number of volunteer projects including coordinating the Special Olympics track meet that I lean on many of you to volunteer for. I have enough various volunteer endeavors to feel relevant and stay out of trouble, but not enough to feel consumed by them. I also somehow got myself conscripted into becoming the Grand Poobah for a running club here in Spokane called the Flying Irish.

What’s your favorite distance/type of run (5K, half-marathon, marathon, ultras, relays, track, trail, etc.)? It was always, always, always the marathon. The funny thing is that was my worst distance in terms of PRs, but definitely my passion.

Where is your favorite place to run in the greater Portland area? It’s a toss-up between the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park and the Thursday night Goose Hollow run up to Pittock Mansion.

What’s your most memorable running experience (or experiences)? Positive or negative? Positive was completing the 50-state challenge in Maui (completed marathons in every state plus DC). Negative was collapsing 67 miles into the Laurel Highlands 70 mile trail run and having to be carried off the mountain on a stretcher. However, the silver lining was coming back 2 years later in much better weather conditions and notching a 7th place finish.

What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Stay in the moment. Focus on the run, not the finish.

Tell us one fun fact, hidden talent, or something we don’t know about you, but should? I’m an avid fan of studying history and cultural anthropology.  

Editor’s note: If you are new to TRL, you won’t have had many opportunities to meet Lou, even though he’s been part of the club for nearly a quarter of a century. That’s because he currently resides in Spokane, from which he periodically returns to help coordinate TRL’s volunteer activities.

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