The “Boulder Skyline Traverse” is one of Boulder’s iconic mountain running trails that summits each of the 5 mountain peaks that etch the Boulder skyline. At 35 miles and 10,500 ft vertical gain, the out-and-back traverse provides a long day of physical and emotional ups and downs — not unlike life itself. As a health coach, I find my tools for achieving success on ultra-marathon mountain runs like the Boulder Skyline Traverse apply equally well to life’s often challenging and trying ups and downs.

AboutBoulder ultra-marathon mountain runner and health coach, Brenna Bray, PhD, ascends Bear Peak on the Boulder Skyline Traverse. “The Skyline – like life – is full of ups and downs, easy- and hards – some we can control and some we can’t,” Bray says. “But we can always control how we go through it and who we go with.”

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 tips for success that apply equally to ultra-marathon mountain running and life. Like any good ultra-marathon runner (and true to Boulder’s super-athlete form), I’ve included five bonus tips for extra credit.

1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

2. Break It Down



Whether summiting one of Boulder’s 14,000 ft peaks or tackling a new life challenge, “‘Teamwork Makes the Dream Work,’ and it makes everything more fun!” Dr. Brenna Bray, a local ultra-marathon runner and health coach, says. Left photo: Boulder locals Alex Belisle, Meri Antin, Brenna Bray, and Anthony Lee take a group selfie from Twin Sisters summit. Right photo: Belisle, Bray, and Boulder local Connor Zanin pause to refuel on a long run. 

3. Run the Mile You’re In

4. Rest Time is the Best Time


Boulder ultra-marathon athlete Joel Anderson (2018 Leadville Leadman Champion, 2020 Nolan’s 14 finisher) and Brenna Bray pause for sips, snacks, and smiles while ascending Hope’s Pass in Leadville, CO.

5. Keep it Simple

6. Embrace Small Changes


Boulder locals Brenna Bray and David Trow share some laughs while running a local ultra-marathon in 2023.

7. Know Your Mountains

8. Enjoy the Journey


Your mindset is your choice; choose wisely. Left: Boulder locals Krzysztof Danielewicz, Eduard Casas, and Connor Zanincelebrate a winter Sanitas summit with smiles, despite the cold. Right: Bray and Boulder local David Friedlandercelebrate a summer Sanitas summit.

9. “Celebrate the Suck”

10. Your Mindset Is Your Choice


Whether huddling behind a rock for warmth or proudly ascending one for a view, any journey is better with two. Left:Local Boulder runners Brenna Bray and Connor Zanin take shelter behind a large rock while ascending Colorado’s Pawnee-Buchanan Loop. Right: Bray and sage runner Geoff Tweed pause for a photo atop Green Mountain during the Boulder Skyline Traverse.

11. Expect the Unexpected

12. Speak Your Truth


Left: Boulder runners Zanin and Bray compete in a local backyard ultra race “one lap at a time.” Right: Boulder locals Bray, Friedlander, and Sam Maticka pause on a run to filter water from an alpine lake.

13. Feelings Aren’t Facts

14. Just Keep Moving



“To go fast, go alone; to go far, go together,” legendary ultra-marathon runner Liza Howard says. Left: Bray and 2022 USATF 100k Road Champion Kalie Demerjian support Kelaine Conochan in racing the Badwater 135-mile footrace, often touted as “America’s Toughest Footrace.” Right: Conochan’s Badwater 135-mile race team, heads out for a group run before the race.

15. The Power of ‘Me Too’

Left: Boulder local David Trow chooses joy in his running and life. Right: The Boulder Skyline says goodnight.

In Boulder, we’re surrounded by natural beauty and a community that values endurance, both on the trails and in life. As you lace up your shoes and set your sights on the horizon, remember that each step is a lesson, each breath a chance to grow. Run with heart, Boulder, and let the skyline be your guideline. ✌️

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