2021 SRC Brooks Year-end Review

The SRC-Brooks Team is comprised of 10 current Seattle Running Club members – 5 men and 5 women – who exemplify a commitment to MUT (mountain, ultra, trail) running and racing, volunteering, and leadership within the local running community and the Seattle Running Club as well as being positive ambassadors for the club and Brooks. 

Read on for a review of 2021 from this year's team, in their own words!


Kristi Williams

Wow, what a year it has been! I feel like I have literally run the gamut of all potential emotions a human can possibly experience. Fear, excitement, and stress started my year with the knowledge, a short few months prior, that I was pregnant with my first child. Every woman’s experience is unique and special in this bizarre experience of creating life, but to say the process was flawless for myself would be a bit of a stretch. I had issues from the very beginning with preeclampsia, a detached placenta and a slow growth baby which culminated in the birth of a four pound preemie with extreme jaundice, anemia, low blood sugar levels, and negative RH factor syndrome. Trust, support, and faith in the doctors, neonatal nurses, family, and friends enabled me to see the light in the otherwise dark situation my husband and I found ourselves in. Running, my ultimate stress relief, was not feasible during this time and was truly missed. Though I got to volunteer more at the Cougar Mountain races than I have ever had, my heart belonged with those out on the trails. I was able to run through the first six months of my pregnancy and even compete in cross country last season, but this important aspect of my life was no longer safe for the baby, so I had to stop something that is so important and vital to me. 

After the six week period post birth (where doctors essentially forbid women to run because their bodies are healing from the trauma associated with birth), I was cleared to run but found myself plodding along at fifteen minute pace, urinating all over myself regularly, and wondering if I would be able to run again. I did what many women do as they desperately try to get back at what they love, started too quickly and injured myself. Frustration, anger, fear, and other powerful emotions flooded my body at this time. I struggled accepting my current state postpartum and truly questioned my ability to run competitively again. Yet, with the support of other running mothers, a month of pool running, and eleven weeks of pelvic floor therapy, I started to feel like myself again. The final test came in August when I ran a Cougar Mountain 5k and managed to secure a victory, when my esteem was rebuilt and feelings of joy, elation, and pride in myself came back again. Since that pinnacle event, I have run a few small road races, another Cougar Mountain race, and participated in cross country. Though I am still a far cry from my former running self, I am revived with hope for my running future and lucky to have a small six month old baby boy, named Felix, who is now in ideal health. 

Chris Hoffman

Like many, I had high hopes for a return to “normal” in 2021. My expectations for normal included a full race schedule and staying healthy. However, as runners know (especially us older types), we have to be flexible and adapt to the situations we are given. For me, the three common themes of the year were starting fast, taking time to heal, and re-prioritizing.

Starting fast. Remember my high hopes? Well, in early 2021, they were a bit of a reality. I ran in the St. Patrick’s Day 5k Dash at Green Lake. The 5k distance isn’t exactly in my wheelhouse, but it presented a chance to race early in the year, and I grabbed it. I ended up running a petty good race: 51st overall and 8th in the 50-54 division with even splits. In April, I headed east to run in the Ancient Lakes 25k. The race was a blast and the scenery was pretty amazing too. I was worried about my fitness but felt great the whole race, pushed hard, and finished 3rd in the 50-59 division and 12th overall. I debuted the Brooks Catamount and I have to say they are my new favorite shoe – a nice mix of nimble and comfort. I may have pushed a little hard because on my next run after the race I felt a familiar twinge in my left calf muscle.

Taking time to heal. The twinge I felt on that run turned into a more serious issue that put my running on hold for a while. I tried hard to be patient, put in the rehab work, and stayed active by hiking, which didn’t aggravate the injury. Slowing down for a bit was nice with some time to recharge and take an adventure long on my bucket list. I was fortunate to join a 16-day private rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. Our time on the water was magical, slowly opening up the secrets and the gifts that the river has to offer. One of those gifts included a midnight hike up and a sunrise run down the Bright Angel Trail. That experience marked the highpoint of my running year. I really felt like I was in a dream and had to pinch myself; the views were that unbelievable and something I’ll never forget. I retuned from that trip fully healed, inside and out! The river magic worked for me as returned to Seattle and a month later ran in the August Cougar Mountain 14.5 Trail Race and came in first in my age division and 20th overall.

Re-prioritizing. As summer transitioned to fall, I had hoped to run in the Three Sisters Skyline 50k and the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon. I was feeling good and went on some long trail runs to set myself up for good races. However, on one of those runs – The High Divide Loop in Olympic National Park – I just felt off. My heartrate was all over the place and I didn’t have my normal energy. After the run, I returned to our basecamp and my heartrate was still irregular and I felt lightheaded. Long story short, the Atrial Fibrillation I have previously experienced returned in a dramatic fashion. After extensive testing and consulting with my cardiologist, I am going to have an ablation procedure, which should address the electrical misfiring in my heart. The silver lining in all this is that besides my electrical issues, my heart is in good shape. I have running to thank for that (my cardiologist said I have the heart of a 41-year-old. Yes!). My priorities definitely shifted this fall – from racing to taking care of myself – which gives me a chance to take a step back and reflect.

Looking back, running this year gave me a lot; it wasn’t what I expected or what I hoped for, but I will take it and be forever thankful for it. Looking forward to 2022, I have the same hopes I had for 2021: to stay healthy and race. However, I have learned to take what running gives me and that’s usually exactly what I need.

Jenny Easterberg

Going into 2021, I had no idea what to expect after the year of Covid 2020. Being in long-hauler Covid recovery, my running took a back burner while my body healed and as I focused more on work: coaching at the high school and coaching at the boxing gym. The fall 2020 XC Season got bumped to spring of 2021 so I got to do a solid 8 months of coaching in 2021 alone. It was so incredibly fun and really wonderful to give the high school kids both their XC season and spring track season. I have viewed it as a year of service. Covid taught me to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. It also taught me not to take anything for granted, especially my health and my family.

The highlights of my year: lots of coaching; a road trip to Arizona in January to seek out the sunlight and long runs in the desert; and my 10 year recovery/sobriety birthday in July that I celebrated on the Olympic Peninsula. I have my sights on several races and running adventures for 2022, and can’t wait to see what next year brings.

Katelen Miller

The year of ‘we’ll see what happens’. Back in the spring of 2020, I was hopeful that by 2021 the pandemic would be smoothed over and my originally planned big races (Boston and the Oregon Coast 50k) would be in the books. Alas, by early 2021 I lost faith and got impatient patience with all the uncertainty and resigned myself to once again push these goals further into the future. Someday soon I will re-qualify for the Boston Marathon and race it with a true crowd of spectators cheering me on. Someday soon I’ll do another 50k trail race. 

But some incredible things did happen in 2021. I turned 30 and am now in a new age group for races. I rang in this new decade with a dirty thirty ‘13-mile going on 30’ trail run with Seattle Running Club (SRC) members Bryan Hamilton and Aaron Roche. I got to run with teammate Trisha Steidl more frequently than before AND have the honor of her as my wedding officiant this past July! I am now a married woman with a new last name to see on race signups- Katelen ‘Miller’. 

This year I hit up local Washington trails with close SRC buds like Mariangela, Aaron, TJ, Bryan, Trisha, Anna, and Amie. Thanks to them, SRC Wednesday Workouts, and pent-up energy from not marathon or 50k training, I seem a bit speedier at Cougar races too! I ran the June Cougar Mountain 14.5-mile race and got a ~17-minute PR. In October, I ran the Cougar 7.6-mile and surprised myself by getting 3rd place in the women’s race and ~7-minute PR. Thank you Kristi and Mariangela for setting the pace! 

PC: Aaron Roche
PC: Aaron Roche

This year I also had the pleasure of volunteering with great SRC folks at the Cougar Trail Work party in May, the June Cougar Trail Run, Brooks PR Event in July, and the White River 50M. Volunteering with a joyful group is a wonderful time! After having ran White River once, I especially enjoyed being of assistance at SRC’s Buck Creek aid station for White River. Some truly heartfelt moments between runners and their loved ones happened there, which I got to witness. Think: small children running with their parent and a significant other sweetly greeting their runner who had a tough race day. 

My favorite Brooks Running shoes this year are still, the Adrenalines for my weekly street miles (got to have that support). For trails, I’ve been loving my pair of Catamounts in the Blue/Nightlife/Biscuit color. I’ll be ending this year with a 6k cross country race in Portland, OR and 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day in Camas, WA. If a December race strikes my fancy, I just might jump in. 

A huge thanks to my biggest running (and life) support crew this year: My husband Thomas and these lovely fellow running friends: Aaron Roche, Mariangela Cruz De Jesus, and Trisha Steidl. Extra thanks to Aaron for the great pictures he snapped of me running this year!

Adam Hewey

I came into 2021 in mid pandemic shape which means I lost all my endurance. The year turned around quickly when I got chosen in the Hardrock 100 lottery! Suddenly I had 6 months to get into trail beast mode. I downloaded the entire Game of Thrones catalogue of audiobooks onto my phone, dusted off my Brooks Calderas and Launches and started training hard. 

First race of 2021 was Badger Mountain Challenge 50 Mile in Richland, Washington. I had done the 100 miler there in 2019 and really enjoyed it and was thrilled to be back to in person racing. The race was a fitness test in which I scored a C. Still had fun though. July found me in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado at 10,000 feet. I had one singular goal and that was to finish the Hardrock 100 for the 5th time. I wasn’t racing, I was finishing. This was a whole new strategy for me and if was amazing. I fell in with a friend who was doing the same and we ran/hiked the first 40 miles together. From there my pacers took me up and down 13,000 foot passes and back to Silverton and the finish. I wore the Brooks Caldera 3 for the first half then switched to the Caldera 4 for the last 50 miles.

Post Hardrock I became very busy recovering and putting on races. Needles 50k was the week after I returned then planning for Cascade Crest 100 took my attention for the rest of August. 

In September I jumped into the Middle Fork Half Marathon on a whim. Half Marathon Trail races are super fun! I decided to use the Brooks Catamount as the trails at Middle Fork are not very technical. Right shoe for the day! I had a blast racing and got 3rd

My last race of the year (I think) was the Cougar Mountain 7.6 mile. This race is a Seattle Running Club race. I had been volunteering at the previous Cougar Mountain series races and it was fun to actually run it this time. I again donned the Catamounts for the buttery trails at this race. I had a blast red lining such a short distance and chased a fellow SRC member all the way to the finish. I snuck into the top 10 which was pretty good for a guy turning 54 the next day. 

I had a great time being a SRCBrooks team member again this year. I love sporting my SRC and Brooks gear at races big and small. The remodeled Cascadia is my new favorite shoe! The Cascadia was my first trail shoe and it’s fun to see it come full circle back to my feet. 

Tyler Vasquez

Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning is not a sometimes thing, but an all time times thing.” When correlating this to my 2021 running experience, “Running has been a sometime thing and not an all the time thing.” COVID-19 Pandemic has brought a large amount of ups and downs which led to running races to be put on the back burner and running to becoming an outlet. 

As a community driven individual, I have used the running community and running in general to remind me why I appreciate the trails, roads, and urban greenways. It has reminded me that Seattle is a city that has the infrastructure to promote a healthy relationship with running and that races do not need to be the key driver for me to run. Whether connecting Volunteer Park, Interlaken Park and the Arboretum on a 5 mile run, or connecting the Arboretum and Seward Park on a longer run; running has connected me with Seattle’s infrastructure which has reconnected my love with this city and community.

Tyler Vasquez

In 2021, I finished 4th in the Fort Ebey Half Marathon and also ran competitively through the Cougar Mountain Trail race with finishes of the 14.5 miler and the 8-mile race. What I appreciate the most about being on the Brooks team is the camaraderie that my other teammates have shown me on the trail. I believe that being a part of the team has opened up lifelong friends. When I noticed my relationship with running ebb and flow it was the text from other Brooks teammates that got me to appreciate what Seattle has to offer by foot. The Seattle Running Club is more of a club, but a community of like-minded individuals that motivate each other to push through the ups and downs and commune around running!

Rose Hoonan

This year I stuck to trail races, running and volunteering at most of the Cougar Mountain series. I kicked off the season with a 5 miler win. In the 7 and 14 mile races, I soaked in the lovely PNW forest for the last time, as I moved to San Francisco this fall. The city delivers on hills and a short trip to Marin for some of the most fun trail running I’ve done. I joined a local running store’s weekly trail runs and am starting to get to know the vast trail network in the Marin Headlands. I capped off my 2021 racing with the Mt. Tam 30k, taking 3rd place female. It was a beautiful, sunny November day filled with 4k of climbing around Muir Woods, Mt. Tam, Muir Beach, and parts of the Dipsea trail. 

rose hoonan

Aaron Roche

The second half of my second season competing with the SRC-Brooks Team was about as normal as things could get while running and racing and volunteering in a pandemic. Here’s a brief recap on the highlights of a relatively ordinary four and a half months!

Favorite Volunteer Opportunity: White River 50-mile, Buck Creek Aid Station – I joined about 6 or so clubmates to support this aid station — at about halfway to the finish, we greeted runners with twice as much energy and excitement than what they had just seen the previous 27.2 miles!

Favorite Shoes: Hyperion Elite 2s! Yeah they gotta carbon plate. And yeah they got super bouncy and cushy foam! When 90% of your competition is wearing Vapor this or Meta that — even on the XC course?!, you gotta go with the SPECIAL SHOES to make sure you level that playing field, bby! Bonus: these shoes totally saved this vegan runner’s bacon after some seriously hard races and workouts. Spikes are still faster. Heh. 

Favorite Race: Cross country has been grand. The Cougar Mountain 7.6-miler was a pretty good day. My *FIRST EVER RACE* at Seward Park was a Seafair, Pirate par-TAY boat-load of fun. But nothing, nothing beats racing down Broad Street, in Philadelphia, to thousands of spectators, for the first time in twelve phlippin’ years! Smash that P.R. alarm, team!!

At the end of June, I put together a mid-year report. This can be enjoyed at your viewing leisure, here.

Photo credits: Heather Gonzalez (@bonfirestardesigns), Marathon Foto, Helen Sherk @, Nick Danielson, Anna Smukowski.

From Top left, clockwise: Brooks P.R. invitational volunteer swag! White River aid station goodies. Cougar mountain October runners + volunteers. Chuckanut Aid Station stock photo. Aid station gear for Aid Station #2 at Cougar May race. Brooks P.R. invitational. SRC runner at the W.R. aid station. Cougar May: Aid Station #2 co-captain, Tyler V. Center: White River 50.
From Top left, clockwise: Hyperion Tempos, Cascadia 16s!, Glycerine 19s — midnight edition!, Mach Spikes 18 (in action for their 3rd xc szn!), Glycerine 19s — gray!, another pair of Hyperion tempos because they’re such an excellent trainer *AND* racing flat , Hyperion Elite 2s (in action at Broad Street Run!), Ghost 14s Carbon Neutral!
Emerald City Open XC, Broad Street Run final kick for the finish, 3000m Steeplechase @ Seattle Masters Classic, mountain trail racing! at Back Country Rise in July, chasing down 2nd place at Cougar October’s 7.6-mile race, thumbs way up across the finish line in a brand spanking new 10-mile p.r. at Broad Street Run, noshing on another gold medal at the Seattle Masters Classic, finish at Cougar October. Center: next to the timing board at Seattle Masters Classic.

Trisha Steidl

What an interesting year. Races weren’t in full force at the start of 2021, though that changed as the year progressed.

I wasn’t in a place to race anyway as an issue with my right hamstring and a nerve became so inhibiting that I could not train normally. In mid-March I had a hydrodissection to help heal this issue. This meant taking about six weeks off and to progress back into full running again. 

Fortunately, during much of this time I was able to cross country ski. Taking skate ski lessons earlier in the year was a blast and opened up a new-to-me opportunity to cross train. I found it also benefitted my running significantly.

At the end of May Uli and I finally climbed Mt. Baker (wearing my trusty Cascadia 15s*) for the first time with our friend Dan. It was a beautiful, peaceful day and fun to finally climb my “hometown” mountain.

With the trails being fully open this summer, unlike last year, I took full advantage of getting out into the mountains. 

I organized a group to learn about mountaineering, culminating with a Mt. Baker climb (yes, in my Cascadia 15s again) in mid-July. This was after the heatwave we experienced in our area and let’s just say the conditions on the mountain couldn’t have been more different from what we experienced in May.

Rewinding a little bit, I was honoured to pace my friend and SRC teammate, Chris Chamberlin, at his first Western States 100 Mile race. He had a super strong race and finished 16th! I also had the privilege of coaching him for this event, which made the whole thing even more special.

Racing at Cougar (PC: Heather Gonzalez)
Post-pacing at Western States 100
Heading down from the Mt. Baker summit. I’m the second person, leaning to the right. (PC: Marcelo Suarez)
After my solo Glacier Peak FKT

In mid-July I climbed Glacier Peak once with Uli (in the new Cascadia 16 GTXs) and again a couple of weeks later on my own (wearing the same shoes), taking a couple of hours off of the women’s unsupported FKT. It was a really cool experience to do something that long and remote on my own and my first time summiting a glaciated peak solo.

In August I won the PNTF Masters Trail Championship at the Cougar 14.5 mile race, my one race of the year. A week later, Uli and I ran The Northern Loop at Mt. Rainier, setting the mixed gender FKT in the process. A week after that, I had the privilege of pacing my friend Yitka Winn. She notched her third win at the Cascade Crest 100 Mile race!

On back-to-back weekends in late September, I set women’s unsupported FKTs on The Northern Loop and at Shriner Peak. For all of these experiences, I was wearing my Cascadia 16s and, of course, comfortable Brooks apparel.

In October I took advantage as much as I could of heading out to the trails to enjoy the fall foliage, often with my SRC teammates. This was important to me both to enjoy the season and time with friends, but mostly to get in as much fun running as I could before I was to have PRP injections in both of my hamstring tendon insertion points, which meant I’d be out of running likely for the rest of the year. 

About a week out from my PRP injections, I ran one final FKT on Amabilis Mountain. I had wanted to run this since cross country skiing there in early April. It was such a different experience (and so much faster for me) on foot! How fun to have a run time and ski time on the same route!

Throughout the year I volunteered at one of our club’s trail work parties at Cougar Mountain, three of our club’s Cougar Mountain races, and at the Brooks PR Invite. It’s always so fun to help out and give back to the community that has given me so much.

Big thanks to the Seattle Running Club and Brooks for the support again this year. It’s a great honour to represent the club I have been a member of for so long and our local running shoe and apparel company. 

Here’s looking forward to more exciting things in the coming year once my hamstring/nerve issue is fully healed!

*I have 17 years of mountaineering experience. I do not recommend that most people wear trail shoes to climb glaciated mountains.

Uli and me immediately before starting The Northern Loop