Trail Tales with Owen Rachampbell: Thru-Hiking, Endurance Mindsets, and Darn Tough Socks

Owen Rachampbell, otherwise known as Owen “Stone-Soup” Rachampbell or “Sir Owen VanGrizzle the Duke of Beartown” on the trails, is an outdoor enthusiast, experienced thru-hiker, and runner. In addition to logging thousands of miles on the trails, Owen, born and raised in Vermont, the sock capital of the world, works at Darn Tough Vermont Socks, a partner of For The Long Run. 

Jon spoke to Owen all his fascinating adventures, from the highs and lows on the trails to the invaluable life lessons he has gathered along the way. This includes his perpetual pursuit of knowledge, the relativity of success, the mental fortitude required for endurance sports, and Darn Tough’s essential gear that has become a steadfast companion on Owen’s journeys.

Finding Your Why: The Fuel of Perpetual Curiosity

Owen Rachampbell’s insatiable thirst for knowledge and his unyielding curiosity serve as constant reminders of the wonders that await those who dare to explore. Understanding the importance of finding your “why” – the driving force that fuels your relentless pursuit of growth, Owen harnesses his sense of purpose to get through mental and physical challenges. Owen’s experiences on the trails are a testament to the power of curiosity, and he encourages listeners to embark on their own quests for knowledge, always pushing boundaries and expanding horizons.

Thru-Hiking Ultra Endurance Adventures: The Tapestry of Highs and Lows

Fresh off high school graduation, Owen, alongside his best friend Ben, embarked on his first of many thru-hiking adventures along The Long Trail. This proved to be a defining time for Owen, where his love affair with the trails properly took hold and he was knighted “Sir Owen VanGrizzle the Duke of Beartown”. Trail names and trail lore are part and parcel of this sport, and Owen emphasizes how you can be anything on the trails. He has since covered thousands more miles, successfully navigating some of America’s most heralded trails like The Appalachian Trail, with the support of trailmates Ben!!! and Cyclops. For Owen, and everyone else out there, the trail truly serves as a canvas for personal growth, resilience, self-discovery and expression. 

The Relativity of Success: Setting Your Own Trail Markers

Success, like the trails themselves, is a deeply personal and subjective concept. Owen highlights the relativity of success and the importance of setting goals that align with your individual journey: whether it’s Olympic glory or your first 5km, your goal is just as valid and worthy of pursuing. Comparing oneself to others, as well as becoming fixated on data metrics, is a dangerous game that Owen knows only too well. With his eyes on the metrics and arbitrary time goals, rather than on his own body, Owen found himself pushing too hard early in a long thru-hike, something he later paid for with shin splints and fatigue. By disregarding his watch, instead focusing on the beautiful landscapes he was traversing, Owen was able to come back from his earlier mistakes and complete the trail. Owen encourages listeners to embrace their unique paths, celebrate their progress, listen to their bodies, and redefine success in a way that resonates with their own values and aspirations.

Trail Running Gear: The Foundation of a Reliable Journey

As Owen’s trusted companion on the trails, gear plays a pivotal role in his adventures. Born and raised in the sock capital of the world, Vermont, and having worked at Darn Tough Socks Vermont for over 6 years now, he may be a little biased, but for good reason. Owen sheds light on the trail running gear that has stood the test of time, highlighting the indispensable role of Darn Tough Socks in his endurance pursuits: socks that come with a lifetime guarantee! He recommends finding the right sock for you through the Darn Tough website by filtering by activity type, or just starting with the trusty Micro-Crew option.

Bidding farewell to Owen Rachampbell’s captivating stories and invaluable insights, we leave with a renewed sense of wonder and a profound appreciation for the trails that beckon us to embark on our own journeys of endurance. Owen’s unwavering curiosity, resilience, and wisdom remind us that the trails not only provide physical challenges but also serve as transformative landscapes for personal growth. So lace up your trail shoes, embrace the allure of the unknown, and embark on your own trail tale, where every step is an opportunity to uncover the extraordinary within yourself.

Listen to the podcast here.