Jeff Mogavero Really Likes Eels

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Ellie Pell

By: Ellie Pell

Ellie is an equal opportunity DMer with no shame in a cold call. She ran fast once and will remind you that it was before supershoes. Recently she set the FKT from her kitchen table to the fridge. Record pending drug test results.

You Made it Weird With Jeff Mogavero

A note from Freetrail: You know Ellie Pell from the Rest Day Pod, but did you know she has an insatiable need to get to know you, and I mean REALLY get to know you? “You Made it Weird” is Ellie’s brainchild because while she loves that these athletes are mega-talented she also wants to know what ELSE IS THERE?! Look for You Made it Weird every Friday. 

[The following introduction is a collaboration between Jeff Colt and Ellie Pell, who are also Jeff’s teammates at On]

The second time I interacted with Jeff Mogavero, I had spent 20 hours traveling to Zurich from Boulder for a team camp before he was to compete at UTMB. The only thing I really remember after that whirlwind of travel was his Taylor Swift Eras Tour t-shirt. Yet as you’ll read, he claims he knows nothing about Pop Culture, while also participating in arguably the most important Pop Culture movement in the 21st century. I guess we have different ideas as to what Pop Culture is, and what it means to participate. It reminds me of people who are too “evolved” to be on social media, yet maintain a Strava account. You’re not fooling anyone. If one personality in ultrarunning would thrive on both Real World Jersey Shore and Survivor, it would be Jeff Mogavero. Does he have long luscious locks because he is a dirtbag and doesn’t want to pay for a haircut or because he secretly wants to be in an Herbal Essences Commercial? Yes. 

Jeff Mogavero is coming to trail running this Spring after an impressive skiing season in Montana. Having top finishes at Sierra Zinal, UTMB, Broken Arrow Skyrace, Run Rabbit Run, Bandera 100 km, Speedgoat 50 km and Lake Sonoma, Jeff looks toward a future of 100 milers, trail marathons, and hairspray deals.

Find Jeff on Strava, Instagram, and Ultrasignup

Jeff Mogavero during a skimo objective

Who are you and what do you do?

My name’s Jeff and I am really good at making massive quantities of edible food really quickly after running and *just* before the hanger sets in. When I’m not making large amounts of moderately tasty food, I’m usually doing sports that don’t make sense to anyone. These include uphill skiing/skimo racing, river surfing, and ultrarunning. My mom tells me she doesn’t know why I am the way I am. But goodness do I love doing outdoor activities that make me pause, giggle softly to myself, and say out loud, “what the hell am I doing? This is delightful!” before doing something that relatively few others also find delightful. 

Do any of your group chats have names? If so, what are you willing to share? How did they get that name? What is a major topic of discussion in them?

My family group chat is called “Louvre Doors 4 Ever” because every year we stay at a beach house on the Jersey Shore that has those doors with slats in them aka louvre doors. The bathrooms also have louvre doors which makes for a really intimate week with the fam. My friends and I have a group chat called “The Arts” because a group of them saw Spongebob the Musical and then decided that they would be people of the fine arts.

If you could change one thing about your favorite social media platform, what would it be?

I would eliminate all social media platforms and instead reinstall home phones in everyone’s kitchens.

What is a book of fiction that you really enjoyed, for no other reason than you liked it?

Ok so I read this book about eels called “The Book of Eels” which was 100% nonfiction BUT I learned that eels are so freaking NUTS that this book could basically be fiction if you didn’t know any better. Eels are perhaps the most amazing animals in the world and I’m getting all jazzed typing this and hardly know where to begin. I learned that Sigmund Freud spent a whole summer looking for eel genitals before swearing off the natural sciences to become the Freud we know today!! How cool is that?!

What is one song you’ve been listening to on repeat recently?

Is this an appropriate place to mention that I am in Taylor Swift’s top 2% of listeners on Spotify?

What is one trend that started in 2020 that you love?

Whipped coffee: a brief pandemic fad that sent me on several ill-advised adventures.

What is one trend that started in 2020 that you hate?

QR codes instead of menus at restaurants. Booo phones at dinner!

What are the last three emojis you used?

🤩 😊 😃

What is the last thing you bought online?

A sweatshirt with an enormous photo featuring my partner’s sister’s cat – a big kitty named Draco Malfoy. 

Jeff Mogavero flying during an On Trail Team Camp.

What is your most controversial food opinion?

Maple syrup is actually a tasty beverage.

What three videos are at the top of your YouTube recommended homepage?

Tbh I use YouTube infrequently enough that I tried to look this up and couldn’t tell what was an ad or a recommended video. 

Which Allie is your favorite?

The one in the mid 2000’s hit pop duo Aly and AJ. Potential Breakup Song is a BOP.

What argument in mass media do you not understand or think is a worthless issue?

I am quite pleased that I don’t have a clue what is going on in pop culture. (Editor’s note* YOUR ERAS TOUR TEE SHIRT WOULD SAY SOMETHING DIFFERENT JEFF!)

When you go home for the holidays, what is the food or tradition that it wouldn’t be the holidays without?

Microwaved Honey Buns on Christmas morning. A true suburban delicacy.

When I say in-seam you say…?


When has your ego caused you to do something you sort of regret but also would describe as wild and worth it?

I used to river surf in the winter after long runs. I don’t know if it was my ego or obsession, but I now question how effective my training was when my post long run routine involved a 45 min drive, walking down an icy path in surf booties, and then diving into a semi-frozen river with a hunk of fiberglass. But holy cow was it fun!! Surfing in a river in the dead of winter really makes you feel alive, ya know?

What was your worst running fuel decision? What was the surprising best?

Before I really had an idea of what the sport of ultrarunning was, I tried to see how many mountains I could summit in the Adirondacks of New York. I was in college and on a tight budget. I brought Star Wars gummies, a jar of peanut butter, a bag of tortillas, and 2 frozen burritos. I put the burritos against my back and after 12 hours of running they were nice and warm. This was both my worst and best fueling decision wrapped up into a delicious burrito.

What is your death row meal?

Breakfast burritos.

Out and back or looped course? Why?

LOLLIPOP. Why have just an out and back or a loop when you can have it all?

Barkley or 24H track race? Why?

If I’m considering either one of these, I may as well do both.

When I say PTRA you say? 

Parent TeacheR Association

What is one thing that absolutely scares you? Why?

The insides of pumpkins. They have horrified me since I was a child. I do not know why, but please don’t make me touch them. Shivering thinking about them.

Jeff Mogavero runs away during Broken Arrow

What is a time you felt you didn’t measure up? How did you get through that?

Last year I dropped out of UTMB at Courmayeur. I had been trail running for nine years and never DNF’d before. So this sucked, a lot. At that moment, I felt like I let a lot of people down and gave up on myself. Once I left the crazy atmosphere of Chamonix, I created space to process and reflect. My wonderful partner Madison also endured countless hours of me talking through things :P. I knew there was a silver lining, I just had to find it. Now, a part of me is glad I wasn’t able to finish. Not measuring up gave me the opportunity to reflect on so many aspects of my training, running, and life. It isn’t fun when it’s happening, but I firmly believe that the way through challenging moments is to find the opportunity for growth hiding within.

Who is another runner that flies under the radar that we should all get to know?

My good friend Erin Clark. She’s a wonderful person and fast as hell!

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