TC Interviews: Shan Rigss
Shan Riggs is running across the country. Having a background in marketing and branding, Shan came to the east coast to work for the Hartford Marathon Foundation, being able to work remotely out of his van. He is taking his unemployment opportunity to try to do something positive in this pandemic. No races this year, meant Shan was out of a job, had a lot of extra time, and decided to do something meaningful. He will be raising money for Food Share, the regional food bank serving Connecticut’s Hartford and Tolland counties, where 118,000 people struggle with hunger.
Shan ran his first ultra in 2006, the Chicago Lakes 50M. Before that he ran his bucket list marathon and wiped his hands of that. A few years later, he ran Dean Karnazes book, Ultramarathon Man…and like many of us, that gateway drug got him. A few years after that first 50, Shan went back and won it. His first 100M, 6 months after the first 50, took him 33 hours. He again went back to that same race a few years later and it took him 19 hours.
Obviously, the longer the race, the more competitive Shan seems to be.
In 2008 Shan ran almost 200 miles for Medals for Mettle, an organization that refurbishes old racing medals and gives them to ill children for showing their toughness amidst sickness and tragedy.
This experience showed him what his body was capable of and how people can really do crazy, unbelievable things. He also discovered he loves running for charity. He looked around wondering what he could do to make something good, to inspire positive change.
Enter: the run across the country. Being at a transition point in life and always wanting to run across the country, Shan figured “if not now, when?” and the dream started to become a reality. Right now, Shan and crew chief Callie are driving across America to begin in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco CA, and ending on the shores of Connecticut.
In this episode, Ellie and Shan discuss van life, being a nomad, running high mileage and having goals. Ellie asks Shan what he is running from, where he finds a social life and his successful trajectory in ultrarunning. Shan has been in the sport for almost 20 years, and has seen many trends come and go. They discuss barefoot running and staying relevant in the sport. Shan then explains the plan for the journey which you can follow here: