Phil Nesbitt

 Phil leading at the start of the Dam Good Trail Run in Letchworth State Park. (Photo: Ascend Collective;  Michael Lesher )

Phil leading at the start of the Dam Good Trail Run in Letchworth State Park. (Photo: Ascend Collective; Michael Lesher)


Self-described social media luddite and technophobe, I stumbled into the running scene after being inspired by a close friend and mentor in 2006. I’ve never been remotely capable of any sports requiring coordination so I decided on running/cycling/crossfit. My attraction to cycling quickly morphed to include road running and eventually trail running… and everything tangential to those disciplines. I’ve had the pleasure of running a multitude of races, from 5k to 50miles. All with varying degrees of suck. My motto is simple, each race should be your best relative effort. Even if it amounts to nil it’s still a worthwhile experience and learning opportunity. I believe we gain less from our successes than we do from failures and while I’ve made countless mistakes during races, I seldom feel disappointed that I didn’t try harder. That’s not to say every day must be a PR, but every run can mean something different to and for you.

I discovered a propensity toward middle-long distance trail running and cherish my memories from these races. Somehow, I signed up for Dam Good Trail Race way back when and it completely changed my perspective. I owe a great debt to the Fanton’s for welcoming this newcomer with open arms. I’m truly fortunate to have found friendships and success in these athletic communities.  Running has taken me places and allowed me to experience things I never expected: like competing with two amazing teams during a 24-hour adventure race in Sugarloaf ME (Untamed NE), and Running R2R2R @ the Grand Canyon w/ an awesome group of friends. Some of my proudest moments are from right here at Letchworth (Dam Good, Segahunda, MOTG, self supported solo marathons for fun). Now that I work here, some of that mystery and intimidation from the FLT has dissipated but it remains fantastic place to run. It does help to know the shortcuts! I’m not saying there are tiger pits along this years Many On The Genny course but I’m also not not saying it. You’re welcome Eric.

Life has challenged my priorities in recent years and I’ve conceded one must eventually grow up, but the tradeoff was unimaginably worthwhile. I look forward to reintegration into the racing scene this year after being sporadic the preceding few. I feel like a domesticated baby giraffe learning to forage in the wild. It’ll be clumsy and likely random but hopefully fun to watch. I’m proud to be a part of this community and look forward to seeing what’s yet to come. Look for me, my signature red Towpath jersey (zipped by corresponding effort), and my midriff out on the trails this year!