Race SLO #EnduranceTownUSA features articles from our Tribe throughout the year to inspire and motivate you to reach your finish line. Dani Moreno is a professional trail runner from Santa Barbara, CA and recently not only represented the USA at the Mountain Running World Championships, but also won the 2017 SLO Ultra Half Marathon. Below is Dani’s recap of the event. Register today for the 2018 SLO Ultra + SLO MTB Dirt Festival on September 1-2, 2018.

Race SLO Tribe: Dani Moreno

I am ecstatic that I had the opportunity to participate in this years SLO Ultra Dirt Festival at Wild Cherry Canyon. While I have competed in a handful of trail festivals what made this race stand out amongst all the rest was its relationship and advocation of Public Lands and the Iconic Females that participated in the events!

I have to say one of my favorite aspects of trail running has been and continues to be the places it takes you. In the case of the SLO Ultra, we were permitted to run on lands protected by The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County. Something that stood out to me was being reminded of the start line that we were running in an area that isn’t typically open to the public. It’s rare that you are reminded of where you are running and so it was great to hear that before beginning. Personally, running near the front of the group during the half marathon it was easy to see this message in action as almost immediately we came across a herd of wild turkeys. It was an unforgettable sighting and I am sure can imagine the feeling of seeing animals in their natural habitat as you compete.

Nevertheless, what made SLO Ultra Dirt Festival even more unique was the presence of not one but TWO amazing female athletes, both of which are iconic in their respected sports: Kriss Moehly and Rebecca Rusch.

Considering that I am still a young buck in the world of trail running I have to say racing with Krissy Moehl made SLO Ultra Dirt Festival one for the books. If you even know a smidge of how much of a force she has been not only in the world of female trail running but in ushering the protection of public lands, you would understand how easy it would be to get all fangirl. It’s because of females like her that women even know about trail running! And so to see her out there still having fun and cheering for everyone was a surreal experience. But then again why have one female powerhouse when you can have two!

Aside from getting to the race and meet Krissy Moehl, Rebecca Rusch was also there. Rebecca is arguably one of the toughest chicks on the planet, and so to meet her was a dream come true. Knowing that she was the first female to rock climb El Capitan in Yosemite puts a certain awe around her you just can’t describe. She is a true pioneer and a trailblazer in whatever she does. Despite being a great participant what I loved most about our interaction was learning about her BE GOOD campaign. If you haven’t already you should check it out as its an important call to action that most people don’t have on their radars: the removal of unexploded ordnance on the Ho Chi Minh trail.

From the landscapes to meeting these great women, what really put the “wild cherry” on top was the course itself. The course was unique in that it allowed for spectators to see a lot of the race, something that is sometimes tough for trail runners families and friends. The main part of the course “the fingers” sent runners on out-and-back oceanside peninsulas and each time you came back you came back to a central aid station. I had never done anything like this so it was really cool! So if you like your friends cheering you on this is something to keep in mind!

Overall the SLO Ultra was a trail runners dream come true. A fun and challenging course, meet and greets with amazing athletes, and a celebration that included free massages, BBQ and great music. I will no doubt be back in the future!

You can follow Dani on Instagram.

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO event line-up includes the SLO Ultra trail races & inaugural Mountain Bike Race at Wild Cherry Canyon (Fall 2017) and the upcoming VIP Ride & Wine with Bob Roll (Fall 2017) as well as the inaugural California Warrior Experience (Spring 2018), 7th SLO Marathon + Half and 5K (Spring 2018) and Healthy Running Sports Medicine Conference (Spring 2018).

The Race SLO Team organizes and produces both fun & competitive running and cycling events that create a positive impact on both our participants and local communities.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Come experience the best the California Central Coast has to offer: year-round sunshine, rolling green hills, unspoiled open roads, first class finish lines and more. Come Race SLO: #EnduranceTownUSA!