Team Dirt and Vert is a collective of trail runners spending their time chasing single-track and tackling challenging terrain. That is what you’ll read on all of our social profiles and it is 100% true but doesn’t give you the depth of what we are about.
Jen, Greg and Jason were running together on the trails of North Texas and during their runs the conversations would be exactly what you would imagine ultra-trail runners discussing. Nutrition, hydration, races and inevitably the conversation would turn to how much climbing in those races and how best to train since most of North Texas is flat.
The term vert was used, along with the fact that they were running on dirt. And from those conversations the phrase Team Dirt and Vert became commonplace. A few jokes here and a few jokes there and it became a real thing. Logos, social media pages, events and a website were born.
We challenge ourselves to do what would be considered unthinkable and not because we want a kudos on Strava but because we don’t believe in limiting ourselves. We want to keep going out and finding new experiences, new challenges and create memories for a lifetime. We want to extend an invitation to you to become a member of Team Dirt and Vert by challenging yourself, pushing your envelope, creating new memories and remembering that life is better when you’re running single track up a mountain……the view is better up there!
Every time Jen laces up her running shoes, her mind drifts back to Junior High, when Coach Ashby tried to recruit her to the track team. “You’re a natural distance runner”, he said.
Fast forward to when she was nearing the end of her 30s and decided that she wasn’t about to enter her 40s in an unfit body. She started running as a means to an end but realized that she actually enjoyed it and was half-way good at it. She worked her way up to marathon distance and even raced an Ironman 70.3, embracing the special challenges that each new distance brought her way. When she made the switch to trails there was no looking back. Trails are her happy place – the more dirt and vert, the better!
Trail running has given Jen the ability to “chase experiences.” She always wants to run her best race, but testing boundaries and making memories with friends are always the top goals. It might take her days to decide what color shoes to buy next, but toss her the idea of an adventure or insane challenge and she will say yes before the words are fully out of your mouth.
Greg found running late in life…mainly because he hated it. In fact, growing up playing organized sports, he always thought of running as a punishment. But a plodding 0.5 mile run one day, led to training for a half marathon and he hasn’t stopped since.
Flash forward a decade, Greg is an experienced ultra runner focusing on longer trail races over mountain and technical terrain. And as a running coach, he was already hosting 3 group runs a week. Those runs with coaching clients began to grow to include friends and acquaintances as well.
After repeatedly being asked “do you coach all these people” or “can I join you guys next time,” he (along with Jason and Jen) saw an opportunity to help grow and give back to the local trail running community.
For Greg, Team Dirt and Vert was a way to organically create a collective identity for like-minded individuals wanting to push themselves and grow as trail runners, while making the introduction to trail running and/or exploring new trails open and more inclusive.
Raise your hand if you would have said that a Puerto Rican kid, born in the Bronx and living in New York for 34 years would be a co-founder of a team that runs up and down mountains on dirt and lives in Texas. If you raised your hand, you’re lying but that is exactly what Jason is. Living in New York, the idea of trail running didn’t exist but today that is exactly where you’ll find him and it won’t be taking it easy on those trails.
The motto #AllGas #NoBrakes is the motto he lives his life by because he wants to challenge himself (and you along the way) to extract every ounce of ability out of himself. He believes that there is nothing worse than wasting talent by not believing in himself so you’ll see him post a goal and it seems absurd and it should be because for him failure is the building block of success.
Competition is what gives Jason life and it isn’t always in the form of beating the other athlete but in beating the person he was yesterday but it isn’t always intense. Sit down with him, run or ride with him and you are sure to have a conversation that ranges from the mundane to the wild while hearing a roar of laughter. Don’t take your life too seriously, go out and make mistakes and laugh at yourself…it’s OK but just remember to get up the next day and be better than you were yesterday!