Sugarloaf Trailblazers #2: En Route to the XTERRA Trail Run WC
For this second article in the Sugarloaf series, I spoke with Claudia Urrea and Brian Welsh.
Claudia Urrea – “I run because I can, because I’m alive.”
Claudia is a 21-year-old student from the small town of Begues, Spain. For nine years, she competed as a successful track runner until she started struggling with anxiety and developed an eating disorder.
Now, trail running provides her with an escape from judgment, criticism, and expectations. “When I go for a run, it’s just me and the mountains. Nobody is listening, nobody is watching, and nobody is judging. There’s no pressure and no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed. It’s a way to feel at home by getting away from it,” she says.
Brian Welsh- “People told me I was destined to be fat forever.”
26 years ago, Brian suffered a heart attack during a run. Blood tests revealed he had Hashimoto’s Disease, a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. But after adopting a ketogenic diet and making big lifestyle changes, he lost 70 lbs and his body fat decreased from 35% to 18%.
“The truth is my best sporting days are behind me. At this age, I won’t be setting any new personal best records,” he says. “But, for a long time, it didn’t seem I would be anything close to fit ever again. I never gave up. Always be your own advocate and seek improvement. Life is an awesome gift. Use it.”