Backpacker Radio Episode 32: Peter Downing on Ultrarunning, the Peace Corps, and Suffer Better

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio, we’re joined by Peter Downing, a modern-day renaissance man.  We chat about his history as an ultrarunner (including his four wins at the Buena Vista 50), his time in the Peace Corps, his career as a lawyer, and now, his latest undertaking, Suffer Better, a community of ultrarunners whose mission is to give back.  It’s a fun, freewheeling convo where Peter teaches us the ins and outs of the ultra world.

We touch on what it’s like to have cold feet before a thru-hike and we get into a rather lewd edition of Would You Rather.

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Comments 2

  • Pony : Mar 22nd

    Hey, good show, as always. I appreciate hearing from an ultra runner.

    Peter referred to the “running cult” up in Boulder. I wrote about that group fairly extensively when I was a journalist. Back then, it was calling itself “Divine Madness,” and the leader was a guy named Marc Tizer, who goes by “Yo.”

    The group had some success in ultra-distance races, especially by members Janet Runyan and Steve Peterson.

    The group still exists, but its membership has continued to age and to my knowledge, no longer has any members who are elite runners.

    For anyone interested, here are links to a couple of stories I wrote about the group back when:

    “Run Ragged” by Clay Evans, Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.), March 7, 2004:

    “Community or cult?” by Clay Evans, Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.), Oct. 5, 1997:


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