For Julie, ultrarunning is a metaphor for real change and progress, one step at a time. With five 200-mile races under her belt, she’s something of an expert—and not just because she logged the miles, but because her road to ultras ran parallel with her recovery.
Growing up in Wisconsin and Minnesota, Julie wasn’t an athlete and she didn’t know much about ultrarunning, or running, period. It wasn’t until her 20s that she started running to create sustainable, healthy habits while recovering from an eating disorder. By 2013, Julie was reading everything she could find about the science of running, and she took her training one mile at a time until she progressed to running marathons.
Her exposure to ultra distances came when she was living in a small town in Minnesota and running in the state forest. She met a woman who ran 50-mile races and another who ran 100 milers. Hearing that those distances were possible was eye-opening. With mentorship from experienced ultrarunners and her own determination, Julie signed up for her first 50-miler in 2016.
Her love of ultras and trail running led Julie further and further west. She moved to Colorado before landing in New Mexico, where she can train in the mountains and the desert.
Despite facing down 200-mile races, Julie still fought with addiction. While she’d overcome her eating disorder, she found herself turning to drinking as she continued working through the underlying emotional struggles. Through the ultrarunning community, she met other athletes in recovery and realized she wasn’t alone, and she began her road to recovery in 2018. In a sense, ultrarunning became her higher power as she forged genuine connections with people she cared for and who cared about her in return.
One of those people became Julie’s husband. The two met at mile 70 of a 200-mile race. They ran 130 miles together and married three years later. Today, Julie’s a mom to her teen stepdaughter and a dog who accompanies her on her runs. She balances running and family life with her work at REI, coaching as a Les Mills-certified Body Pump instructor, freelance writing, and leading a local running group.
Julie set the course record at Antelope Canyon 100 Mile (UT), Running the Rose 100k (TX), Philmont Trail 50 Mile (NM), and Last Runner Standing (MN). She won first place at Bryce Canyon 100 (UT), Franklins 200 (TX), and Trail Mix 50k (MN); second place at Zion 100k (UT), Ouray 100 (CO), and the Black Hills 50 Mile (SD); and third place at Coldwater Rumble 100 (AZ).
Her favorite workout is the 20-mile long run, which she believes is the key to unlocking distance running. She starts most of her days running in the dark with a headlamp. The most important element of training for Julie is developing a strong mental game to carry her through the long distances.
Julie began coaching after writing articles for Run Your Personal Best when she realized she could use all of her research and experience to help other runners who were just beginning or trying to take their running to the next level and needed help getting started. In 2021, she took on two clients and successfully coached them to finish their first ultra. Since then Julie’s clients—which range from first-time ultrarunners to people working toward their 200-mile buckle—have a 94% finish rate.
Julie considers herself a tough-love coach. And while she loves the minutia of training and coaching—pace charts, calendars, checklists, gear talk, race logistics, drop bag lists, nutrition mapping—she leans into the human element: reviewing workouts daily and exchanging feedback, hosting crew and pacer meetings, pre-race planning calls and post-race celebrations. Julie’s coaching style is teaching-based. For her, the best part of coaching is the shared learning that comes from doing the work and venturing into a place of real struggle and endurance.
She’s worked with fellow runners in recovery from alcoholism and eating disorders. She invests in every client beyond designing a calendar and checking in. Julie’s ideal client is a person who doubts themselves but is ready to do hard things. She loves showing runners their true capacity if they’re willing to put in the work.
Julie believes ultrarunning has taught her to live authentically. To finish an ultra well means facing every obstacle with grit, skill, and strength—and that’s what Julie coaches.