Chris Myers Leads a Double Life

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Herbert Krabel

By: Herbert Krabel

Herbert Krabel grew up in Southern Germany but now resides on the East Coast of the USA with his wife Amy and his 11-year-old twin sons. He raced mountain bikes professionally in the early 90s and then explored triathlon for a few years. More recently he found a passion for trail running, unique ultra-distance races and locations, and SwimRun. He also loves art, architecture, and European chocolates.

In only his second attempt Chris Myers ran his way to a coveted Golden Ticket at Black Canyon 100 kilometer earlier this year. His prize? A place on the hallowed Western States Endurance Run (WSER) startline next month. While Chris is now based in Boulder, Colorado he grew up in California, and if his UltraSignup page is any indicator he’s rarely off the podium when running on California trails. We get it, Chris is very (very) fast – but did you know that he is also skilled in visual effects and still works in the film industry remotely? 

“I work in visual effects for movies and TV. My position is what’s known as a Digital Matte Painter, DMP for short. I use some fine art skills to create mostly 2D backgrounds in Photoshop to be integrated into various shots, some with movement, and some without. Depending on the complexity of what I’m working on I may have to break apart my 2D elements so they can be combined in 2.5D setups. It’s a step away from full 3D renders but it’s much more cost effective for studios! I do some 3D work to assist my 2D work but it varies from shot to shot! You may have not noticed my work in TV shows like Westworld, Star Trek Picard/Discovery, Ted Lasso, the Foundation, and movies like Hunger Games, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Extraction, and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon. Most of what I do should be invisible to the average consumer. Sorry to bore you all,” said Myers.

Chris Myers Black Canyon 2024

While some might view a day job as a hindrance for a professional runner, there are certainly advantages to such a setup. The money earned in trail running is improving, but for most pros to pay the mortgage there is the need for additional income.  

“Living off of a running contract isn’t really financially viable unless you’re one of the select few stars that we all have heard of. I love having balance in my life, as well as healthcare, 401k, PTO, etc. A real job takes the pressure off of performing perfectly in every race. It also allows me the freedom to explore other products! It does make running as much as I would like somewhat harder, but ideally, a good contract would allow me to take the time off work that I’d need to perform well.”

Despite a long list of impressive running results, Myers went into Black Canyon 100 km in February flying a bit under the radar. Despite it only being his second 100 km he thought there was a chance for him to grab a ticket.

“To me, it was a small chance, but a chance nonetheless. I didn’t really think about getting a ticket until mile 36 when I realized I was in 4th place, then the hunt was on. I was ready to have fun, but when I was in contention for a podium finish, I wanted to move up as far as I could. When I moved up to second, I could see Hayden ahead and was on my way to get him before my legs started to get weak. [laughs] Then it was a game of survival. I wasn’t content to fade into 3rd place just because I knew there were three tickets, I was willing to race as hard as I could and do my best regardless of position.”

In prep for what will be his 100-mile debut, Chris headed out to the Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB weekend to crew for his friend Makai Clemons and to see who was going to walk away with the final tickets into WSER in such a stacked field. A bonus was getting to spend some time on the Western States course.

“I’ve raced Way Too Cool 50 km several times and I know the last part of the course. It was nice to connect the dots and get into the planning mindset of what the terrain is like and mentally placing myself in the race and thinking about how I’d like to respond to the course on race day.”

So far his preparation for WSER is going well as he finds himself leaning into what he has been doing in the past, no need to reinvent the wheel. That being said, he is also taking steps to add some additional strength training, general mobility, and identifying the weak points of his body so he can be ready for what might come up in the later stages of the race. The goal for WSER is to be in the top ten, and he has already selected Gus Gibbs as a pacer for the occasion – his good luck charm from Black Canyons in February. 

Going to take my favorite pacer Gus Gibbs with me and see if his charm can get me into the top 10! I’m having people crew me that I trust and want to have a good time with! Otherwise, I’m adding a few new faces to the crew, but nothing is set in stone yet! Anything Gus wants I’ll do for him. If he wants a pacer across the world, I’m his man. He’s a top-notch pacer and I’d love to return the favor if he ever requires it.”

When I prodded him more about what training looks like, Myers only does a few 30-mile runs at the long end, but his long runs are mostly around 25 miles in distance. Occasionally doubling back the next day with a 20-mile outing to get 45 miles or so in two days. He, like many SWAP athletes, takes a rest day on Mondays – truly shutting things down! He’s also not much for cross-training – unless one considers hiking or walking cross-training. “Hiking though only when I’m feeling rebellious.”

Chris Myers Black Canyon finish line 2024

In trail running, there is a big push to consume a considerable amount of grams of carbohydrates per hour. Picking up where the professional cycling peloton left off every finish line interview these days post ultra seems to come down to runners crediting consuming what once would have been considered an astronomical amount of fuel over the course of the day. As fate would have it, Chris is also on the carbohydrate train, riding it all the way to the podium!

“Protein and carbs!! I aim to eat a lot while I race, maybe 100g of carbs an hour at least. Just practicing intake on long runs and even just general training runs over 90 min. Start small and increase, much like what you would do when building running volume. I like to do a 90g carb precision gel every hour with drink mix and it sits just fine with me now after some practice!” said Myers.

When he’s not on the trail Myers likes to keep it relatively simple.

I like to make this “poke” bowl, not with raw fish though. I do seasoned air-fried salmon bites over rice with a mixture of mango, cucumbers, sushi ginger, chili crunch, green onions, and a few nice sauces! It’s super simple and filling. Plus it doesn’t create many dirty dishes!”

For a guy working a full-time job and running on average about fourteen hours a week, we wanted to know if Chris made time for anything else.

“Making art and talking shit. Just kidding, I never do that. I just like to make small art projects in my spare time,” closed Myers.

Chris Myers and Gus Gibbs hug at the finish line of Black Canyon 2024

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