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You Made it Weird: Arden Young

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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.

Have you ever been in the middle of an ultra and wondered how good your teeth will be in ten years? Well Arden Young can answer that question, right before she leaves you in the Canadian dust. This dentist regularly lines up at races in the US exemplifying the grit of our northern neighbors and let’s just say there are more ‘ones’ on her Ultrasignup results page than in most cafe tip jars. She has impressive results at CCC (top ten baby!), Javelina Jundred, Desert Rats, and Bandera and took 4th at the Gorge Waterfalls 50-kilometer in its inaugural year for you Freetrail superfans. 

Find Arden on Instagram, Strava, & Women Run Canada Ep. 136

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Arden Louise Young, but @ardenly on instagram… so a lot of people think my name is Ardenly… but it is Arden, L for Louise, and Y for young…I need to change my instagram name. I am a Canadian who actually does say ‘eh’, the 2nd oldest of 4 sisters, an aunt to 3 nephews, a sensitive soul, an extroverted introvert, an occasional bad potter, and an ultra trail runner. In my day job, I am a dentist. Sometimes I am in the middle of pulling someone’s tooth and think “my job is really weird”, but I actually quite enjoy doing root canals.  

Arden Young up high on the trail at home above Canmore Alberta.

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?

“Golden Girls Rule the World” – This is a chat with 2 of my best trail friends and training buds, Liz and Ailsa. Each summer, we do a girls training weekend, and this year it was to Golden, BC. And then we were all going over to Chamonix to race CCC/UTMB, so the group went international. Major topic of discussion is our bowel movements, or sometimes lack thereof. 

“Cham Fam 2.0”  – This is the crew of 4 of us who became like a family in Chamonix this summer. 1.0 didn’t include our Brit, Charlie, so it became 2.0 when Charlie was added. Major topic of discussion is, again, poop. Mostly the decorative toilet paper arrangements you see on the side of the trail in Europe. 

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

Instagram – remove filters of all senses – ones that change your appearance, and ones that tell only a rosy version of your life. 

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

Harry Potter. The Sorcerer’s Stone was probably my favorite. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to Hogwarts?! I’d want a cat for a pet, even though I am allergic. I am not sure why they don’t allow students to have dogs at Hogwarts. Maybe I could be the first. 

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

Stick Season – Noah Kahan

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

I think it was more like 2021, but wider leg jeans! Goodbye, skinny jeans. My quads are so much happier. AND improved hand hygiene! People are pretty gross…

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

Covid. 

What are the last three emojis you used?

😂, ❤ and 🤷🏼‍♀️ (a classic)

What is the last thing you bought online? 

A glow in the dark skeleton onesie   

What is your most controversial food opinion?

I don’t think I really have any (this is probably not true). But, ever since the cadaver lab in dental school, I can’t eat ribs and chicken wings. They are just too anatomical. [Chicken] Nugs are fine though.

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

I don’t really YouTube. 

Which Allie is your favorite? 

Ostrander, because she is so creative, real, and hilarious. But Mac for the costume inspo. 

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

Serious answer – I do not understand gun laws in the USA. Clearly something is wrong – how anyone could argue that nothing has to be done about it is mind-blowing. But I guess this is easy to have an opinion on when I live in Canada. 

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

I think it’s almost a tradition that we don’t really have significant traditions. Every year is a little bit different.  

When I say inseam you say…?

No idea. [lost in Canadian translation?]

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

The real answer here wouldn’t be PG13.  

Arden Young bringing home a top ten finish during the 2023 CCC by UTMB

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

Worst – a bag of trader joe’s peanut butter granola the day before my first ever 50 miler.  I was in the bushes 5km into the race. 

Surprising Best – pain au chocolat. I’m pretty basic when it comes to running fuel most of the time – I can eat a pb&j and head right out for a run, and usually fuel mid-run with gels, nuun, rice krispies treats, and candy.   

What is your death row meal? 

A margarita pizza that I ate in Naples in 2006. 

Out and back or looped course? Why? 

Ooooh probably looped, because sometimes it’s really hard to pass side by side on single track, and I’d rather it be single track.  

Barkley or 24-hour track race? Why? 

I hate to say 24-hour track race, but I would probably get so lost at Barkley that they would never find me again.  

When I say PTRA you say? 

I don’t know what this is.  Should I know what this is? 

When I say UTMB you say?

Stones and croissants.

What is one thing that absolutely scares you? Why? 

Spiders, bears, and regret. Spiders because they give me the creeps. Bears because I run by myself a lot in the Canadian Rockies – if you’ve ever run into a grizzly on a trail, you would understand. Regret, because I fear making a ‘wrong’ decision and being angry at myself for wishing I were in a different situation that I did not choose – yes, I go to therapy for this.   

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

Are we talking imposter syndrome?  Because I feel that ALL the time. I still feel like a relative nobody in the sport, but this season in particular, I felt that I maybe just cared less about that.  I still got super nervous on every start line, looking around at women I greatly admire, but I tried to embrace being the dark horse and the reduced pressure that comes from that. I try to remind myself of all of the other things I get to accomplish in my life, and the other roles, responsibilities, and stresses I manage in day to day life, so when it comes to running, I care about it and I want to do well, but mostly I am just grateful for the privilege of being out there doing something I love.  

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

We have a lot of these in Canada! But one in particular is Karl Augsten. So fast, great human, rocks the button-down shirts, super cool wife, and really cute dog. He just smoked Dakota Jones’ course record at the Squamish 50 miler this summer, coming off of a string of injuries the last few years, and I think he is just going to get better and better.

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