Passion for running

Powell man’s avidness for exercise takes him to the peaks and beyond

Posted 12/7/23

David Holland is an avid runner. When he moved to Wyoming from New Mexico he had always been a road runner, but when he got here people were running mountains.

There was a learning curve at …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Passion for running

Powell man’s avidness for exercise takes him to the peaks and beyond


David Holland is an avid runner. When he moved to Wyoming from New Mexico he had always been a road runner, but when he got here people were running mountains.

There was a learning curve at first but he’s grown to love it.

“I remember seeing finishing times. I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, these people are so slow. Yeah, like I’m gonna get up in those mountains and just kill it,’ Holland said.  “I learned  real fast that road running is completely different from trail. I struggled with trail running and mountain running for the first couple of years. It was just tough for me.”

Holland learned from local runners like Laddell Merritt, Troy Hildebrand and Jeff Rhodes who gave him advice on how to run faster and more efficiently.
“What I found is that, to me, it’s way more enjoyable than the road running. Because road running … it’s like I’m running for time. But when I’m in the mountains running, like say, Heart Mountain over the summer, it’s gorgeous … to me, the time goes by quickly and I just feel way more accomplished after running a mountain.”

Being able to see a mountain later on and know that he has run it is why his passion for trail and mountain running is growing on him. 

But his fitness journey did not start with mountain running, and he does much more than hoof it to the top of Wyoming peaks.


Chasing the unicorn

“[Fitness has] gone through its waves in my life. When I got married, we had kids, it took a backseat, I ended up gaining a lot of weight and then decided one of my goals has always been to qualify for the Boston Marathon. And, I’ve been close, many, many times. So I said I want to be an example to my kids. What better way than losing the weight, training and never giving up that goal of qualifying for Boston?”

Holland is about six minutes and 58 seconds from qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Qualifiers are then run through a system where they are selected based on fastest times for their age groups. This year’s cutoff for immediate qualification was  five minutes and 29 seconds faster than the official qualification time, so really he’s about 12 minutes out.

“But I’ve been training right now, and based off my longer splits, I just had my first time trial, which was an 18 miler this past Saturday. And I was right on pace to be right at that three hour threshold,” Holland said.

Time trials, which are not qualifying courses, can be on a set course outside or an actual race. During Holland’s last time trial he needed to have a pace of seven minutes and 30 seconds — he was averaging 7:16.

Holland has always been passionate about running — it provides time for him to reflect on life and pray. He’s also always been competitive. The reason he zeroed in on the Boston Marathon is it’s the “most coveted race to get into.”

“Getting that unicorn medal — I know it sounds funny — but that unicorn medal that you get from the Boston Marathon, that’s one of the most prestigious marathons to get in, because you have to run faster.”

The Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 only further motivated Holland to qualify.

“My motto is to run for those who can’t … I like to represent those people that have either passed away, or they’re fighting some battle in life,” Holland said. “So I thought it’d be cool to run in and honor those that ran that course and passed away from that race.”


The greatest benefit of fitness

The greatest benefit of fitness for Holland is that he is able to play with his kids who enjoy hiking, running and bike riding. Holland is also a coach and by maintaining his own fitness he is able to workout with his athletes.

“Having the ability to do that, physically, is very motivating to me and something that, that I don’t have to wish that I could do it, I am able to do it,” Holland said. “And then on the flip side of things … I feel like it really boosts my mental health. I look back over the course of my life and the times I wasn’t physically active, I was more in a dark space in my head, I wasn’t as positive, I wasn’t as happy. When I’m physical, whether it’s running, lifting weights, any form of exercise, I feel way more positive.”

In order to be able to do all of these things and maintain his mental health, Holland has made it a discipline in his life to be active daily. It doesn’t mean that he runs or pumps iron every day, sometimes it’s as simple as going to the swimming pool with his kids. 


Trainer and podcast personality

Holland also shares fitness with others. He has been a certified running trainer since January of 2022 and last summer he trained a runner for a race in Big Sky, Montana, called The Rut. He was unable to run the race due to a knee injury but when he healed up, he joined in on part of her regime. They ran two consecutive laps up and down Heart Mountain. 

“I think that the cool part about this area is we have the best terrain to go out and train for anything,” Holland said. “If you want road, we got it. If you want trails, we got it. If you want tough mountain runs, you name it, we have it — you can literally go run it as many times as you want.”

Holland loves helping people in fitness, he said, and he’s always understood running, so he enjoys helping people accomplish their goals. Holland even started a podcast called “A Runner’s Mind,” where people share their running stories. One podcast episode focuses on a runner who found the sport through sobriety, while another featured a runner who’s used the sport to lose weight. 

“It’s cool to hear other people’s stories and I wanted it geared towards anyone, whether you’re [running] trail and road or whatever the case is, somebody listening to it might be like, ‘You know what, I can relate to that story.’”