Outrun the Dark is a brand representing a community of runners who outrun their inner demons. We call them Outrunners. Either for themselves or others, an Outrunner is someone who runs to stay ahead of the darkness, and in the process inspire those around them.
In a series of interviews, you will get to know some of the Outrunners in our community, what drives them, what their struggles are and what has helped them get past them.
Today we had the pleasure of talking to Outrunner Jeff Stalls. Famous in the group for his frequent training sessions and running in squares, he is the second outrunner to get his own Signature Tee. He started running as recently as September 2018 and have been making squares ever since!
Hello! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, where you are from and what you do?
My name is Jeff Stalls I am 52 years old I have been married for 28 years to my wife Cindy we have 4 beautiful daughters Heather, Kimberly, Brooklyn and Haley. We are from south eastern Michigan but we now live in Superior Wi. I work for BNSF Railway as a Carman (freight car inspection and repair)
What are you passionate about outside of running and your day job?
I enjoy working with wood and steel. I have a couple of forges and do some blacksmithing and knife making I also like to make wooden walking sticks and canes from diamond willow.
When and how did you start running?
I started running in September of 2018 my goal was to run around my “square block” by my birthday which is about 2 miles. The first time I ran I did the 2 mile square so I had to set myself higher goals. Winter here dictates how much running one can do from November to late April so I didn’t get to run anymore until April of 2019. I also wanted something other than working out and running on the elliptical for my exercise routine.
How does running help you in your life?
It helps me stay focused. I have a tendency to let my emotions take control and usually it’s my anger that jumps to the forefront. When I run I let it all go. I think that is why I run fast.
Jeff on one of his many squared runs.
What does Outrun the Dark mean to you?
To me it means out running the dark that you carry, in my case it’s my emotions that I let take over. I like to think that since I have started running I have been able to control my anger and my emotions better.
What is your favorite part about the Outrun the dark community?
The awesome support I received from people I didn’t even know. My first post was shortly after my dad passed away and I received just an overwhelming about of support from the community and I was just awed by it. Complete strangers saying hey we are here for you.
What does it feel like to get your own Outrun the dark signature T-shirt?
It's one of the most rewarding experiences I've had. I made an impact on the group and they thought it was enough to ask for a shirt to be made. It makes me very proud.
Jeff in his Outrun x Jeff Signature Tee
What has been the most trying part of your life up until now? What helped you get through it?
For me it started when I was 20 my Mom my oldest sister and her 3 kids were killed in a car accident and my Dad and I were thrown into a life without our anchor we had to take care of each other. But for me when I met my future wife a few months after the accident my life changed for the better. I can honestly say my wife helped me get on with my life and start things fresh.
Could you tell us about an apparent failure in your life, and if any what positives came out of it?
For 20 years of my life I worked in the automotive industry but when things started to get bad in 2006 I lost my job making great money only to be able to find jobs making a third of what I was used to making. After looking for jobs close to home and far from home I found a job with BNSF they hired a 43 year old guy from Michigan to work in Wyoming. After being away from home for 7 months I transferred to Superior Wi where my family came to live with me again the first year was hard on all of us but now none of us would change a thing we love it here and we have made some amazing friends.
Do you have any advice for someone else going through a tough time right now?
Just keep fighting through it life can suck sometimes but not all the time. Change sucks but it can be good don’t fight it just roll with the punches.
What do you know today that you wish you could tell yourself from 10 years ago?
Stay healthy exercise eat right love your friends and your family and just have fun don’t sweat the small stuff it isn’t worth it.
What helps you go for a run when you don’t feel like it?
I weigh the options I won’t run if I have a lot of muscle pain I have a tendency to not take rest days and just keep running and working out. Lately I have been listening to my body to take it easy and relax. But if I just don’t want to go for a run I put on the headphones and shuffle some Imagine Dragons and the music changes my mind.
What is your alternative workout when you can't run because of injury or circumstance?
I lift weights and do a lot of ab exercises core core core! And I will get on the elliptical seems to take strain off of the lower legs.
Jeff getting his workout in.. even if it's shoveling.
Do you have any quotes you live by?
You can’t out run a fart on a treadmill! Seems fitting.
What book or movie have most impacted your life and why?
Recently the movie Free Solo has just captivated me and I started reading the book Alone On The Wall.
If you could put anything on a billboard in front of the world to see, what would you put on it?
Be kind to everyone and don’t be a jerk!
Anything else you want to add before we wrap up?
I want to say thanks to everyone for the support and kind words I have received and the community is the greatest group of people out there!!!
With those final words, we thank Jeff for taking the time to talk with us! Best of luck with your training and upcoming runs! And for all you Outrunners out there, dare to run square! You can get his Signature Outrunner Tee here.