Name: Greg Hexum
Home Base: Duluth, MN
Occupation: High School Principal, Graduate Instructo
Years on Atlas Racing: 9
Growing up in Scandanavian Northern Minnesota, I was surrounded by authentic outdoorsmen and an enviroment in which access to wilderness was out the front door. I found independence in any form of human-powered activity: running, skiing, paddling, biking, and skating. Add this to a need to prove to myself on a daily basis that I was tougher than the other kids, a little bit of early athletic success, and an ample serving of parental encouragement, and I was fully immersed in competitive endurance sports by age 11. I was a collegiate athlete and a motivated road racer. I did years of 100-mile weeks, trained with great athletes, and lived for endurance sports. Now, I snowshoe because I like the time alone and still need to go outside after school to play.
Almost nothing in my life as an athlete compares to a frosty January snowshoe run on a dark Minnesota evening, snow hanging from the trees, illuminated by my headlamp (or preferably the moon). When I go to races, I still give it my all, but at age 37, I no longer run the races over-and-over in my head for weeks before and after the events. My wife would say that I am still compulsive about my workouts, but time, fatigue and fatherhood have made me a more well-adjusted athlete.
My three year old Ingrid owns Atlas snowshoes as well, but she just stands there and cries when my wife, Gretchen, and I put them on her feet. I find myself wondering what my parents did to bring out the inner endurance beast in me. Truthfully, I would love for her to find her passion in the same things that I do, but her strong will (that actually comes from her mother) reminds me constantly not to push my interests on her. I would trade my past (and future) USSSA National Championships for the knowledge that Ingrid would find something that provides her the solace, inspiration, and energy that human-powered, endurance sport gives me.
I hope to race a number of the North Central Championship Series events, and then have a solid showing at the USSSA National Championships in Utah. The altitude in Ogden will make a three-peat very difficult, but I will toe the line with the intention of racing my best. In another universe I would arrive three weeks before the event and acclimatize, rest and prepare. As the father of a toddler and high school principal, I will instead fly out of Minnesota 16 hours before race time - and hit the runway with my snowshoes on. That's my life, and I like it that way!