Liam Walke

A committed endurance athlete since my highschool years (in road biking and cross country skiing), I made the switch to trail and mountain ultra running in my mid-20s. What started as curiosity and a local 50k trail race has become a lot of things – it has changed my life:

I’ve had the privilege of running some big mountain races in Canada, South America, and Europe, and chasing some audacious solo goals in mountain and backcountry terrain. No matter the distance or terrain though, I keep coming back to the same principles. Running is life boiled down: it’s about work and play, laughter and tears, love and heartbreak, success and failure. The way we get through it all smiling is to love the process through passion and commitment. It’s about being present in every moment, even when some moments are truly not fun.

To me, running isn’t a sport. It’s a commitment to myself and my community. It’s a way of life! And nothing brings me more joy than sharing and guiding others to that same passion through coaching.

Career Highlights

  • Racing a Skyrunning World Cup, Italy 2019
  • 3rd OA Marcahuasi Ultra Trail 90k, Peru 2017
  • 4th OA Haliburton Forest 50 miler (80k), Canada 2016
  • 5th OA Black Spur Ultra 108k, Canada 2018

Lifetime PBs

  • 50k- 4:14.38 MEC, 2019
  • 100k - 13:10:22 Black Spur Ultra, Canada, 2018

Coaching Philosophy?

The three pillars:

  • Happy people run fast. Happy people also run slowly, and that’s fine. My focus is always person first, athlete second. Don’t get me wrong, I love to geek out on workouts and training, but while running is an important part of our lives (it may even be the most important part) it is still just a part. Taking care of everything else is integral to a successful and fulfilling running life.
  • A trusting and honest relationship between coach and athlete is the most important thing. Period. Without trust and good communication, the details of a training program (which are really important!) are irrelevant.
  • Consistency. The other most important thing is consistency. Do. The. Work. You don’t have to do it perfectly. Miss a day, miss a pace, blow up on the last interval, have a ho-hum week… But do the work, and the results will come. Pretty much guaranteed!

Favourite race distance and why?

If I want to throw up, 5k cross country. 

But I excel at what I love, and I love moving fast in steep mountains, running alone through the night, and gulping pickle juice at km 95. So it would have to be a 100k mountain race.

Most memorable coaching moment?

Every single time an athlete sends me a picture of them beaming, or tells me of some small revelation or milestone. Big breakthroughs are great, but they’re never all that surprising because they’re built on a broad base of small achievements, successes, and (quite frankly) failures. It’s the daily smiles and miles, finding joy in the mundane.

Favourite post-workout treat or go-to place?

Summer: post-run iced espresso or lemonade by a lake

Winter: post-ski Cafe Palmier in Chelsea Quebec with a good crew, a breakfast sandwich, a brownie, and coffee

Favourite running podcast, website, books, videos, or blog?

  • Born to Run (not the Bruce Springsteen one!)
  • Courir by Jean Echenoz
  • Anything (books, podcasts, articles) by David Roche
  • Rather cliche… anything by Kilian Jornet

Start working with Liam