This summer’s featured trail runner is Ryan Johnson, a cartographer for Multnomah County. Ryan is a Geographic Information Systems administrator, making maps and managing systems for creating mapping applications. Ryan is also a mountaineer and rock climber. He is a climb leader for the Mazamas, which involves leading alpine climbs on both rock and snow and helping teach classes about mountaineering. 

How did you get into trail running?

I started out road running and hiking. I did my first ever run on a trail at the Bristow Trail Run in Dexter, Oregon, as part of the Run Big Trail Series, and I was hooked. Soon after, I signed up for the Portland Trail Series and any other trail race I could find.

What is your favorite trail to run on?

My favorite trail to run is the Chief Joseph Trail to the Joseph Knob in the Wallowas. From Wallowa Lake, you can climb directly up a short and steep route with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain to a beautiful lookout in alpine meadows. The trail features amazing views of Chief Joseph Mountain, Wallowa Lake, and my hometown of Joseph. You get to run long gradual switchbacks down to the trailhead for the descent. I like to end my run with a swim in Wallowa Lake and a piece of Grandma K’s (my Aunt Kathy) Berry Cobbler at Glacier Ridge Grill.

What is your favorite trail race?

My favorite race was the North Umpqua Trail 100k. It was a beautiful point-to-point course with some tough climbs. It was my first race that started in the morning and ended at night with some minor hallucinations. It felt more like an epic journey through the wilderness than it was going for a run. 


Mountain Lakes 100M finish line, 2021. Photo by Anna Hou


What are your weekly average running miles and ascent?

Around 25 miles per week and 3,000 feet would be pretty typical. 

What is a typical weekday run?

My standard weekday run is a 10k loop around the waterfront. 

What is a typical weekend run?

A typical weekend run is approximately a half marathon on Forest Park or the Columbia Gorge trails. 

What shoes do you wear?

Salomon Ultra Glide. It has been a comfortable and supportive long-distance trail shoe without being too bulky. 


Ultimate Direction Men’s Cirriform Tee $54.95


What is your favorite trail running apparel?

Nike shorts, Rabbit tops, Salomon shoes, and Patagonia jackets

What watch do you wear?

Garmin Forerunner 945. I use it for both running and climbing. I like that it is lightweight and good for multiple types of activities. 

What nutrition do you like to use on runs and races?

Spring Energy on the go and real food like fruit and sandwiches at aid stations. 

What do you like most about the trail running community?

I love that the community is really supportive, no matter how fast or competitive you are. Everyone seems to share an appreciation for just being out in nature and giving it your best effort. We can all relate to the challenges you face out on the trails, and these experiences in the mountains have led to some of my closest friendships. 

Follow Ryan on Instagram and Strava.

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