Jim Walmsey and Cody Reed – the Coconino Cowboys

Last updated: 06-Nov-18

By Seth Grotzke

There are two American runners in town! You have to come meet them.” Living in northern Spain means that I don’t meet a lot of fellow Americans, and when a couple do show up, my Spanish friends let me know.

I had heard that Jim Walmsley had been in town the year before and had made quite the impression, so I wanted to meet him and fellow Cowboy, Cody Reed, for myself. My running buddy, Gaspar, and I tracked them down a couple nights before a big race.

We walked up to the bar and, reminiscent of the old John Wayne movies, asked, “How many Cowboys are here?”

In two days, Jim would go on to win the Alto Sil race in the mountains near my home for the second time. Before he did, Jim, Cody and I talked about their perspective on US runners in the European races, training as the Coconino Cowboys, and who whines the most while out training.

Q. What is the most striking thing about running in Europe?

A. Cody: I think how similar the running is and how it brings people together. We are of the same breed.

Jim: There is much more orienteering.  If there were no flags you would be lost. Also, the running is smoother in the US and less technical.

Q. What is your greatest fear while running over here in Europe?

A. Cody: It is really no different here than in the US. It is fun trying to get by with the little Spanish that I know.

Jim: You don’t know as much about your competitors. You don’t know if you should chase that guy or not. You don’t know if he will drop. It is tough not knowing what a smart move is. You have to guess if someone is making a calculated move and you should match it or not.

Q. How do different countries run?

A. Spain and France and Italy blow everyone away. They take trail running seriously.

Q. Have you been able to train to compete against the technical abilities of the Europeans?

A. Jim: I have been training and feel much more comfortable. You have to trust yourself more. I need to be careful and know myself.

Cody: Our base speed is faster than others around the track. But our base speed should be slower to conserve energy. You feel thrashed. But everyone else is trashed as well.

Q. What is it like training in a group like the Cowboys?

A. Jim: Cody ticks me off. He is the worst.

Cody: There is a unique dynamic because we are all hitting our peak at different times.

Q. Who whines the most among the Cowboys?

A. Jim: Me. I complain about everything.

Q. What don’t people know about you?

A. Jim: Life is about balancing stress. You have to find the balance. Most of the guys are working other jobs. Students, coach, working as a store manager. Most of us do work full time. Whether you have a job or no job it’s how you manage it.

There are plenty of successful runners with full time jobs. In trail running the mentality is the most important.

For me, I’m a really good sleeper. I also do the most volume. In order to do so I keep everything else in life simple and boring. I don’t stress in other ways. It comes down to a lot of perspective…and ignorance.

About the writer: You can read more of Seth’s musings over at sethgrotzke.com. His goal is to keep some “real” in the ultra scene and help provide a stabilizing influence for the world through sarcasm.

"Spain and France and Italy blow everyone away. They take trail running seriously"

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Like what you read?

Click here to sign up for more

Related news

Latest news

A group of runners at the start of a race

A Race of many firsts

A reflection on the inaugural Pennine Bridleway – Trail Challenge Editors Preface The Pennine Bridleway roughly follows the Pennine Way but is accessible to horses

Read More »
field start line

running the brathay 10in10

The Brathay 10in10 is one of Brathay Trust’s biggest fundraising events annually, raising invaluable funds to support their work improving the life chances of young

Read More »

Global - Virtual

Elevation

A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for

For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Elevation

An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for

Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Brutal

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude)

Suitable for

Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Expert

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat)

Suitable for

Experienced runners who have completed at least 4 ultras in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Advanced

Elevation

Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Intermediate

Elevation

Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed at least one ultra in last 6 months or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Beginner

Elevation

Very little change < 500 metres

Suitable for

First ultra event. Runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running (>26 miles) in the last 6 months.