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💥Trail Gangsta of the Month (November): Meet Jen Laughlin! 💥

Name: Jen Laughlin

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA 

Current Residence: Buckeye, AZ

Occupation: Social Media Manager 

Alma Mater: Westmont College

1. How did you first fall in love with running? Does your family share your passion for the sport?                 

I grew up active, always outside and playing competitive sports. I went to college on a full ride scholarship for soccer. I have been running forever but fell in love with it in college. Always being on a team I craved alone time, and running was that time. I truly fell in love with trail running specifically in 2009 when we moved to Arizona. Unfortunately, my family does not share my passion but I have one last hope that my youngest son will eventually! 

  • 2. What are some of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job? 
  • I LOVE my job! I’m so passionate about the outdoors and the trail running community and all that entails, and I feel like my passion for those things bleeds through my social media posts. I love to engage with our followers and cheer people on. I think I was a cheerleader in a former life because I’m unapologetically enthusiastic.

    The most challenging aspects are for sure keyboard warriors. I am not immune to having my feelings hurt, it happens, but I always say I could not have done this job when I was 25 because my skin was entirely too thin back then. I just have to remind myself not to take it personally when people are mean. 

    3. How do you manage so many different social media accounts? Have you ever gotten confused when posting and does your thumb “air scroll” when you’re sleeping? 😅  

    This is a good question! I manage Squirrel’s Nut Butter (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), the entire Aravaipa Running umbrella, including individual race pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,  and Dirtbag Runners Facebook and Instagram. There’s A LOT. I have 8 instagram accounts alone!

    My only issue is shutting it off. It’s so easy to grab my phone at any hour and answer someone’s question or reshare a story. Social media is 24/7 and I can definitely get out of hand as far as “working” too much goes. 

    4. In addition to the 2020 race season, what are some significant changes that you’ve observed in the trail running scene over the years? 

    I’ve noticed it’s becoming more popular! I know our Aravaipa races (minus the COVID era) are having a higher number of participants each year. I am also seeing a wider variety of runners, hikers and walkers of all ages. It’s awesome! 

    5. If you could only volunteer (or compete) in one race for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

    Oh, that’s tough. I would say work at Javelina Jundred, run at Mesquite Canyon! 

    6. Funniest or most awkward encounter at a race or on the trails? 

    My very first trail race was Coldwater Rumble. I did not know anyone and I had never read “Born to Run”. I was clueless. I awkwardly introduced myself to a circle of runners who were chatting before the race and looked down and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, you’re running 20 miles in those?!” Yes, I had no idea people ran in sandals, nor did I have any idea I was talking to ultra running legends! 🤣

    7. Do you have a particular song or anthem that best represents your personality?

    Lol, right now it’s probably “Beer Never Broke My Heart” by Luke Combs 

    8. Uphill or downhill running?


    9. Favorite post-run beverage? 

    Any IPA that’s at least  7% or above alcohol. That’s my favorite pre run beverage too. Oh, and during the run! 

    10. What advice would you give yourself ten years ago if you could?

    Try your best to always surround yourself with positive people and to be one, regardless of what anyone thinks. That’s one thing I’ve truly enjoyed  about getting older - there are no more f*cks given. 

    11. What’s your next adventure?

    I’m working at Whiskey Basin Trail Runs in Prescott this weekend! I’m doing a little aid station/packet pickup with some social media and running on the side. I primarily work from home so being onsite at races is my absolute favorite. I love being in the action, feeling the love of the community, spending time with my coworkers, and cheering runners on in real life because it truly fills my cup! 

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    • Good stuff chica!!!

      • Jaye Ganibi