The first time I saw a photo of Tara Dower she was covered in cactus. After winning the 2023 Run Rabbit Run 100-mile, Tara decided it would be a good idea to finish the year in the desert vying for a golden ticket to Western States at the Javelina Jundred. That day ended in a cactus sending her across the country to Boonsboro, MD to try her hand at the JFK 50 mile, in a very stacked women’s race. Though she sprained her ankle, she took 4th, finally calling it on races for the year. In 2023 Tara also won the Hellbender 100-mile and took the assist at Ohio’s Backyard Ultra, running 170 miles. Tara just has it. She has the personality, as shown on her YouTube channel. She has the drive, the crazy, the belief in herself and what could be possible. Not only does she have impressive race results, Tara also thru hikes, does FKTs and makes it look like something you would do on a girl’s weekend right before brunch. Make sure to keep an eye (or two) on Tara this year as she trains for the 2024 Hardrock 100-mile and maybe a few other things…
Who are you and what do you do?
Some people call me Candy Mama. The story behind the name isn’t as sexy as one might be imagining. I eat a lot of candy and sometimes hike/run while doing it.
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?
JaMaTa is a group chat between 3 people (Crusty, Rascal, and Margartiaville) and myself who attempted to hike the John Muir Trail in 2021. We would chant JaMaTa as we backpacked through the sierras. They are trying to convince me to get it tattooed on my body. We talk about backpacking, Courtney Dauwalter, thru hiking, races and compare our bowel movements from our different adventures. I love them and the group chat.
If you could change one thing about your favorite social media platform, what would it be?
The ability to comment anonymously on YouTube. Specifically because of troll behavior.
What is a book of fiction that you really enjoyed, for no other reason than you liked it?
In 2020 when I was on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail setting a FKT I listened to so many books. “Where’d You Go , Bernadette” was a fun story. At the time I was going through some serious mood swings so it was nice listening to a light hearted book.
What is one song you’ve been listening to on repeat recently?
we love sweets. by HANABIE
What is one trend that started in 2020 that you love?
All the food TikTok trends like baking bread and charcuterie boards.
What is one trend that started in 2020 that you hate?
The increase in the amount of people recording unknowing and random people in public. It’s weird and very Black Mirror-ish how that has become ordinary.
What are the last three emojis you used?
🐫 ♥️ 😅
What is the last thing you bought online?
pink and green glow in the dark body glitter
What is your most controversial food opinion?
Bacon doesn’t deserve all the hype.
What three videos are at the top of your YouTube recommended homepage?
Which Allie is your favorite?
I think Allie Mclaughlin is pretty fast and cool. She also has a cool dog.
What argument in mass media do you not understand or think is a worthless issue?
I don’t know. I feel that everyone these days are expected to be experts in all matters in the news/media. It’s okay to just not know how you feel about something or be neutral about most stuff. It causes a lot of division and hatred in society.
When you go home for the holidays, what is the food or tradition that it wouldn’t be the holidays without?
Pie. Any and all pie.
When I say in-seam you say…?
3 inches if I’m feeling a little saucy.
When has your ego caused you to do something you sort of regret but also would describe as wild and worth it?
Shooting the boot after losing a post rugby party game. It was my bud’s steel toe work boot and I had to chug a beer from it. I could have said no but what fun is that.
What was your worst running fuel decision? What was the surprising best?
I started taking my race nutrition seriously after my second 100 miler (Blood Rock 100). Before that I was eating like cosmic brownies, gushers, and goldfish. I felt super sick during this race and my friend Hunter kindly provided a better selection of foods. The best fueling decision I ever made was incorporating more Tailwind when I inevitably feel sick to my stomach during a race.
What is your death row meal?
Just so much ice cream. I want all the chocolate ice cream with all the toppings.
Out and back or looped course? Why?
Out and back for sure! If I go up a hill in the beginning I can look forward to going down it coming back through.
Barkley or 24H track race? Why?
BARKLEY!! It sounds like the coolest/toughest adventure. I want to do it. Who do I need to talk to?
When I say PTRA you say?
I didn’t know what it was before googling it just now. Sounds super official and neat!
What is one thing that absolutely scares you? Why?
Ticks. They are so sneaky and carry lyme’s disease.
What is a time you felt you didn’t measure up? How did you get through that?
Probably at 2023 Black Canyon 100-kilometer. I didn’t really keep up the pace I wanted to. I tripped and fell a lot in the beginning of the race and got super bloody which majorly threw off the entire race unfortunately. I was also running with a bunch of cool and fast people and felt like a dork after falling all over the place. I wanted to DNF pretty badly but kept up a pace I could manage and finished the race smelly and bloody. But I finished.
Who is another runner that flies under the radar that we should all get to know?
Alicia Bowling – At the Ohio Backyard Ultra we shared a tent and ran together for several yards. She told me her life story and I was incredibly inspired by her and what she has overcome. A truly dedicated and talented runner who embodies commitment to the sport.