A Conversational Pace – Forward with Drew Hartman.

Focus. Intention. Community. Purpose. These are just a few of the words that pop up in conversation with Drew Hartman as well as become the backbone for how he approaches running, life in general, and everything in between. With an (understandable) hatred of high winds, the town Boulder, CO at his feet, and knowing running is most fun when you find your favorite way to move, this a Conversational Pace with Drew Hartman.

I don’t recall when I first came across Tracksmith, but I do remember when I got my first pair of Tracksmith shorts. I wasn’t faster, but I was faster. It felt so cool to be a part of “that club,” now. Sounds silly, I know, but there was something about “graduating” from the readily-available brands to donning teeny shorts with a little bunny on them.

Call it wanting to associate with brands that best match my personality/beliefs (I don’t have many, tbh), we fast forward a few years and brand veils get pulled back a bit more. I start to stalk follow more athletes, sure, that run for these somewhat-boutique brands I’ve fallen headlong into, as well as the minds behind bringing the brand to life.

Enter Drew Hartman, Tracksmith’s Integrated Marketing Manager and man about town (special nod to a place near and dear to my heart, Boulder, CO). Between keeping the spirit of Tracksmith alive, sharing thoughts on where business and running meet through the podcast, Running the Show, and keeping community and purpose at the heart of why he runs, Drew has a lot to say. So let’s listen.

Leggggs: Drew. Thank you so much for being with us today. We are stoked to have you on Leggggs. Starting at the top to give everyone an overview: Will you give us a short intro about yourself? Who are ya? Where are you located? What do you do? 

Drew Hartman: I’m Drew Hartman. I recently moved to Boulder, CO after a long stint in Boston where my love of running blossomed. Starting in 2017, I began working part-time in retail for Tracksmith while working in the tech industry. Fast-forward to present day: I work in marketing for Tracksmith and my day to day spans from working on our Go To Market strategy and execution, owning ur podcast/newsletter sponsor strategy, heading up our ambassador program, and leading activations. More conversationally, I like to think that I get to learn from the running industry and running culture for a living.

Leggggs: Tell us something about yourself that isn’t immediately available on your social profiles, etc.

DH: Something you might not know from socials is that I attended law school and have a degree from Northeastern University School of Law. I originally dreamed of being an in-house attorney for a sportswear brand, but pivoted away from that after finishing school.

Leggggs: Any personal mantra you live by?

DH: I wouldn’t say that I live by a personal mantra, but I was challenged by a friend, Chris Madaffari, to think of one word that comes to mind as he snapped a Polaroid of me. The word “forward” came to mind. “Forward,” to me, doesn’t celebrate moving beyond the current stage of celebration or experience. It represents momentum with purpose, which can be applied to the way I run, the way I work, and beyond.

Leggggs: That’s really amazing. How about summing yourself up in one sentence. Whatcha got?

DH: Tough, but I’ll try to write it like a newspaper headline: “Man, who found running later in life, approaches his relationship to running with focus and intention, but with lightheartedness and seeks to learn from the running community and culture in order to lead with purpose.”

Leggggs: Yes. I haven’t had anyone state it like that before, and I love it. It’s perfect. Alright, so I’ve been doing some research on movement and how a body in motion leads to a happier mindset, and overall better mental health (and feelings of being less lonely) – That said, outside of running, what do you do to keep your body in motion, and your mind and soul happy?

DH: Outside of running, I enjoy walking my dog, hiking with my partner, and cycling with friends when I can. I also like boxing! Something I don’t do as often anymore, but still love.

Leggggs: Boxing? I’ve always been curious about that. Sort of on the same tip, do you feel there’s a relation between finding personal happiness through focusing on your own wellness, and becoming a more active participant in the world at large? 
Said differently, does being happier with yourself make it easier to be part of a community and therefore feel less lonely? How? Why?

DH: This is a tough one because I feel like this could be a “chicken or the egg” situation when it comes to personal happiness and community involvement.

I’ve had the fortunate experience to chat with many people who define movement and community differently. While I hope that participating in community creates universal value for all, I know that all communities are not always accessible and approachable.

Rather, I think the emphasis is on finding a community or communities that provide a sense of belonging for you. That sense of community is rooted in shared experience of endurance and social interaction, but belonging is that icing on the cake to see yourself as a part of the group you interact with.

I do believe that a sense of belonging in the endurance community is out there for everyone, but the running community and industry bears the weight of making those avenues to belonging more visible and accessible.

[A] sense of community is rooted in shared experience of endurance and social interaction, but belonging is that icing on the cake to see yourself as a part of the group you interact with.

Drew Hartman on finding community through running

Leggggs: When thinking about your own personal wellness, what do you find to be the biggest barrier to taking time for yourself to become a better person for the world at large?

DH: This feels like a good moment to recognize the role of ego as a barrier. Ego can drive me to believe that my time is too finite or too valuable to do something or take on a challenge and can introduce fear of failure.


Photo: Mica Bernal

Leggggs: Switching gears slightly… When did you first get into running? What was your motivation?

DH: I ran in high school (2008 – 2010) to stay in shape for soccer. Then I found running for fun in 2012 in training for a half marathon and continued my journey from there.

In the college era of running for fun, I had this idea of running 10 marathons in my 20s as a bucket list kind of thing. It made me feel like running could be a part of my life for the sake of creating a challenge to complete.

Leggggs: How often do you run?

DH: 6-7 days a week.

Leggggs: Why do you continue to run? What is your motivation now?

DH: Running now looks and feels different to me than it did in 2012 – 2019. I now see running as a daily practice. It doesn’t have an end date or a final goal. It doesn’t have a mileage calculator. It’s no longer on my bucket list. Running has become a language of sorts that I speak with myself when I log miles and when I race and it’s a language I speak with others through experiences we share.

Running has become a language of sorts that I speak with myself when I log miles and when I race and it’s a language I speak with others through experiences we share.

Drew Hartman

Leggggs: That’s poetic, man. What do you do to diversify your running? How do you keep it fresh, daily?

DH: Sharing runs with others is the easiest way to make an old place feel new.

Leggggs: What’s been your favorite run to-date?

DH: My favorite kinds of runs always start with friends and end when we’re tired. There’s probably dirt beneath our feet and the weather is warm enough to keep stripping off layers in the middle of the run and throw them in the car trailing us (in this perfect situation, someone is driving next to us with water and fuel). The hills are probably awful and feel like they’ll never end until they do and we ride the descent of the hill that will always be waiting for us. And there’s probably a cold body of water to get the legs in immediately after the run is over.

Leggggs: I did the whole cold-lake-plunge-immediately-after-a-long-hot-run for the first time last summer. HIGHLY recommend. Can’t wait for the warmer weather to do it again.
Best run to worst: What’s been the pits when running?

DH: My worst runs usually involve high wind. There are few things I hate more than high wind. Sometimes the run gets cut short on those days and that’s ok.

Leggggs: What are some of your bucket list places to find yourself running?

DH: I’m really fortunate to run and live in one of the meccas of running in the world. As a result, my bucket list destinations would most likely be joining good friends I’ve yet to share miles with and run with them in their favorite place/route.

Leggggs: Do you have a quote you repeat to yourself mid-run when shit is getting real?

DH: Make your own luck.

Leggggs: If someone were looking to get into for the first time, what would be a piece of advice you’d offer as inspiration?

DH: Running and the feelings we derive from it differ from person to person and from situation to situation. It may not be fun when you start. It may not be fun with certain people. But running can be fun when you find your favorite way to move.

Leggggs: Finally, how do you convince yourself to run when you really don’t feel like it?

DH: Forward. If we think that what we do is a part of something larger, the run may be easier to start. However, I think forcing a run is unnecessary and steals the joy we want to associate with running.

Forward. If we think that what we do is a part of something larger, the run may be easier to start. However, I think forcing a run is unnecessary and steals the joy we want to associate with running.

Drew Hartman


Leggggs: Shifting back to the running community on the whole, what would you tell someone looking to give running a shot? Advice maybe they can’t get from a Runner’s World, etc.

DH: Create your ideal environment to run. That may be with others or it may be alone. It may be on pavement or concrete or treadmill or dirt. If you can create what you need to enjoy the run, you may be willing to try it again and maybe try a different environment eventually as well.

Leggggs: We spoke to personal wellness and a “body in motion is a happier body,” but what do you find to be the main benefit of running regularly?

DH: Running is a part of my routine. I prefer the days when I start with a run, even when I’m racing home to make it in time for a 9am meeting. That routine runs deeper than miles in Strava or a sustained heart rate, but it’s fresh air and (hopefully) sunshine and socialization and teamwork, all before I join my team at work everyday.

Leggggs: Kind of an odd question, but what do you use your time running to “do”?

DH: Social runs are time to talk about anything with friends (and hopefully not talking about running). It might extend to recounting our first concert attended and our best concert attended. It might be a time to talk through some difficult topics and seek some advice. However, runs alone are usually brainstorming sessions. I think about a strategy I want to explore at work, a question that has me stumped, or an idea I want to flesh out for a campaign proposal.

Leggggs: What are some of the lesser-known/unexpected benefits of running that people may not readily see until fully committing to the sport?

DH: I wouldn’t say that this is a nuanced opinion at all, but I think when we run more often, we may lose sight of how nice it is and how privileged we may be to be outside.

Leggggs: If a person were looking to join a running community (a local club, an online-only presence, etc.), what are some tips you would have for them to make sure they are finding the right one?

DH: There’s value to being a lurker. I have a biased lens of seeing running as a social endeavor and I want to know if a group I attend could be “my people.” That may mean something different to everyone, but I want to assess if I would want to spend time with group members outside of a running context before diving in fully.

Leggggs: I grew up in Denver and worked for many years in Boulder. I recall those days fondly and miss the whole Boulder scene (especially in the early to mid 2000s). What’s it like now? What keeps you there?

DH: I’m pretty new to Boulder as I moved here in September of 2021 and I feel privileged to be here. I’m still discovering the nuances of the scene here, but the people and the scenery keep me here. I’m fortunate enough to have great friends I get to train with here and the view ain’t bad, even when you’re sucking wind.

Leggggs: What’s the running scene like in Boulder?

DH: One thing I appreciate about the Boulder scene is that there’s always someone better. For someone like myself that doesn’t operate in that top percentile of the sport, I don’t need to obsess over times and VO2 maxes and to make it look like I can run kilometer repeats longer than anyone. You’re running the same roads as Alicia Monson, Edna Kiplagat, Emma Bates, Joe Klecker, etc. You’re never going to steal their crowns or Strava segments. I find that freeing for someone in my position or with a similar relationship to running as myself because there is no posturing to be something to someone else. You can pass these pros on the farm roads and wave, and then see them at the coffee shop afterwards.

Leggggs: If I were to move to Boulder tomorrow, what should my first steps be in becoming an active participant in the Boulder running scene? (who do I need to talk to? What clubs should I keep an eye out for? Where do you meet new people? etc.?)

DH: I’m biased, but you need to come to Soft Hour, hosted by Brian Schroy and Erin Osgood of The Track Club. Every Wednesday morning at 7am, they host a community run that celebrates running easy on soft surfaces. It’s all about conversation, connection, and celebrating the beautiful spaces around us. You’ll catch a smattering of runners from different clubs in Boulder, Denver, and the surrounding towns (and you might see some pro runners there too).

Leggggs: Do you feel as though running is an accessible sport? If so, why? If not, what does it have to do to improve its accessibility, if anything?

DH: I find the opportunity accessible, but not the practicality of running accessible for everyone. I think the narrative of accessibility for running is overblown. I understand that people use this narrative in an encouraging way, but I think we need different phrasing. 

Running may not be accessible because of safety. There are threats of violence to people who are outside alone, threats of harm for those who run in dangerous environments, and risks of injury for those who lack the appropriate equipment to safely participate–just to name a few reasons. 

We may not be able to solve these matters, but community can mitigate the risk. Community can provide education for safe running practices; it can provide a forum to participate with others safely in a group; and it can provide a forum to receive the resources and equipment an athlete requires to flourish. Now to think about how to adequately resource the community: we’ll need like 15 more pages, additional representatives, and a lot more time to suss that out.

Leggggs: What do you personally see as the biggest barriers to a person wanting to start running? And what can the running community do to help?

DH: Safety, education and resources are the biggest barriers in my mind. Touched on those above.


Leggggs: You just launched a new podcast, Running the Show, that explores the intersection between running and business. What was the inspiration behind launching this? 

DH: The aim of the podcast was inspired by our personal interests and relationships to the sport. Emma and Evan have experience in the high-performance aspect of training and racing and Evan and I have experience working in the running industry. Through our personal experiences and personal investigation, we’ve been intrigued by exploring the rift between the activity of running and the sport of running. Our goal is to amass opinions and perspectives from industry experts, athletes, brands and cultural leaders in running and to conduct investigations to keep learning.

Leggggs: Why focus on this intersection? What are you hoping to learn?

DH: Our “why” exists in being curious about how the activity of running is touted as “the most accessible sport” does not have sustainable structures for the sport to flourish. There seems to be a rift between the activity and sport and we hope to learn about pain points and gain perspectives from a range of guests. By taking this approach and building this bank of knowledge, we hope to lend perspective to those who can lead change within running. All progress starts from perspective.

Leggggs: What need in the market are you hoping Running the Show can fill?

DH: I hope that we can align and connect with people who love the activity of running and pique their curiosity about what it takes to put on their favorite race or what it takes to make their favorite shoe. For professional athletes and industry professionals, I hope we can provide a platform for how they created their individual brand. For brands, I hope we can help tell their origin story and connect on a common ground with runners globally. So many things!

Leggggs: What is the end goal / 5-year plan for Running the Show?

DH: The goal for us at the outset and the goal will always be to create carefully considered and inspiring content to challenge an audience…and to have fun doing it.

I do hope that we are able to work with the very people we interview–the athletes, industry professionals, the brands, and the cultural leaders–and consult in some way to connect them for progress within the running sphere.

Leggggs: Finally, any shoutouts to anyone?

DH: In running, the shoutouts go to my mentors at Tracksmith for investing in me and to the running community and leaders worldwide for letting me learn and build with them. Personally, the shoutouts go to my partner Caila and my parents for challenging me to always want more.

The fanboy in me can’t believe Drew joined us for a Conversational Pace, and the runner in me is beyond stoked to have yet another enlightening conversation with another absolutely quintessential member of the running community. Thank you, Drew, for spending time with us today. Truly grateful for your insights and contributions. See you in Boulder soon!

To follow along on Drew’s journey, check out:

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