Circling Back to the Mountains

Tristin Van Ord returns to the Mountains.

The Appalachian Mountains have always felt like home to me. The crisp air, low clouds, and hazy blue mountain peaks have all lured me in to call them home.

As a high schooler, (when running in an old cotton t-shirt and old broken down running shoes was normal),  I would count down the days until we got to go to cross country camp at App State. Being around like-minded kids who just loved to run in the most beautiful place in the world was where I felt most at home–which is why I also decided to run at Appalachian State in college, and why I made my way back to the High Country to continue my career as an elite athlete. This place just keeps calling me back.

Being a part of the ZAP Endurance squad makes me feel like I’m constantly at cross country camp with a bunch of happy-go-lucky kids who just love to run. Of course when it matters, it’s a grind–and everyone is focused in their own way, but when we are just running, it feels like nothing else matters but the mountain air in our lungs and the trail ahead. I am truly lucky to call this place home again with some of the most talented athletes and coaches in the running world. 

I joined ZAP because I believe that I can be great, and this team provides athletes with opportunities that are unparalleled in the running community. As the newest member of ZAP, I have found my home back in the mountains that I call home after two years of training with the Raleigh Distance Project in the Triangle of North Carolina. 

I am so thankful and lucky that ZAP has decided to bring me on board and that Pete and Ryan have been willing to coach me and let me represent the team. After qualifying for the trials with my first marathon this past June under the coaching of Steve Furst and the support of the Raleigh Distance Project, I knew that I was starting to break through but that a piece of the puzzle was missing. The missing piece was being happy in my landscape and feeling like I am somewhere I belong. The Appalachian mountains have always been a place of growth for me and a place where I feel like I can be at home. 

I truly believe that being here will help me grow into the athlete and the person that I know I can be.