Justin Cogley is currently the Executive Chef at Aubergine in L'Auberge Carmel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California as well an accomplished athlete even though he only started competing the past few years. Entering and training for the 2014 Big Sur International Marathon proved to be a life changing event for Justin. In 2015, Justin entered two full IRONMAN triathlons, several shorter ones and many running races - you could say he found his endurance calling later in life. Training and racing has led Justin to see the importance of balance in life and the benefits of physical activity. Whether in the kitchen, on the roads or trails, he hopes to inspire others with everything he does. Justin will partake in Chefs Cycle, a 300-mile bicycle ride based in California to feed hungry children in May 2018, but up first is an attempt at one the world's hardest ultramarathons, a race that is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT) called the Madeira Island Ultra Trail off the coast of Portugal this weekend.
What are three pieces of advice you wish you’d known when you started ultra running?
Great question, I am still learning every run, race and experience brings a new element, which, is why I LOVE the sport so much. I guess the biggest lessons so far that one could apply immediately would be to STAY HYDRATED, use SPF on your skin and lips, and for me personally stay away from poison oak. My choice in gear has also changed and enhanced my running experience. Light technical gear that works makes a run so much more enjoyable.
Where does your mind go when competing — are you focused on the trail in front of you, do are your thoughts headed elsewhere?
Running is the one time I get to allow my mind to wonder on the beauty I am surrounded by, be inspired by nature and take my creativity to a new level. Now when in competition it is a little different. Sometimes it gets hard and when it does I refocus my mind and energy on being thankful I start with the little things and continue from there. I don’t want to stress on the time factor or making my flight. I want to enjoy the moment and be thankful for each experience it brings.
You’re headed out the door for a long training run; what are your essential gear choices and why?
My gear selection has changed and now I feel like I have it down to what works for me at the present time. Salomon S/Lab Speed 2 are great shoes for Big Sur. the steep climbing and descents. If I am doing a lot of non technical climbing the New Salomon S/Lab Ultra are my go to. They have great cushion and stability. I always have my Salomon hydration vest because it has all the storage space I need and I can tuck a Cliff Banana Mango food in a pocket quickly.
What are you most excited for about Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT)?
Adventure! I love adventure, experiences and will embrace it all. Of course who doesn’t love to hear the crowds and feel the energy a race brings, I do love all of that too. I enjoy meeting people and basically living life to the fullest. Usually, whatever I am most excited for doesn’t even end up being the best part of an experience. So I have just learned to embrace it all and enjoy the moment making the best of the hard times and soaking it all in.