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Terrific interview by Doug Mayer on Run the Alps with Buzz Burrell, who after selling Fastest Known Time to Outside is now running races in the Alps.

Buzz on Chamonix:

The biggest thing I noticed here, which also goes back to when I was first here 15 years ago, is the terrific support for mountain sports. The municipality and the entire culture supports not only mountain culture, but mountain sport. 

On the idea that trails are too crowded:

“Crowded” is not something I experience here at all. It’s an odd way of looking at it. If I like doing something, shouldn’t I appreciate that other people like it too? To say, well, now that I’m here, I want to keep everyone else out… that kind of thinking is a problem in my opinion.

On the cultural support of mountain sports:

Few places in the states exhibit mountain culture, even though running is a huge sport. You can enter the New York city marathon with 49,000 of your closest friends, but in terms of events like the Mont Blanc Marathon weekend, the government doesn’t support it. 

Take Western States 100. It’s one of the most famous races in the world. And it’s capped at 350 people. Or Hardrock 100 in Colorado. It’s capped at 145. 

Those events are like large family reunions, which is great, but that also means they are very exclusive. 

This is because the municipalities and other forms of government don’t support it. That’s intentional, not by omission.

Boulder is a great example of this attitude. Competitive outdoor events are illegal in City Open Space, according to municipal code. They passed a law specifically outlawing any competitive event on city open space. The same is true in Boulder County.

I think it’s just a cultural thing:  What they are saying is this: “Nature is good. People are bad.”

I really want to emphasize, you don’t have that kind of thinking here. Sport is part of the mountain culture. You’re appreciating the mountain environment. You’re protecting the environment. You’re protecting the resource and you’re enjoying it by having competitive events.

I wished Buzz hadn’t sold Fastest Known Time to Outside, and not because I didn’t understand his reasoning for wanting to move on. I just wished he would’ve found a buyer not known for pissing on trail runners and minting NFTs. But I am glad Buzz is still around, and still speaking truth to our community. Comments from Americans, highly regarded in our sport are invaluable. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence Run the Alps posted the interview on July 5th, the day when every American is waking up with a red, white and blue hangover. More of these fireworks, please!

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