Hey my name is Naiyabingi Truth Shining Budler, but I go by Naiya. I am a senior at Manitou Springs High School. I have been running since my freshman year, and I haven’t stopped. From 5ks to marathons, I have been searching for the perfect distance, and along that “road” I found mountain running.

Mountain running is the coolest and most grueling sport I’ve ever seen. I love it because not only is it physically demanding, but it also challenges the participant’s mental toughness. Running, mountain running specifically has introduced me to some of the coolest people ever. It’s a huge community of crazy people who love to push themselves to new limits, and explore new places with just their feet to take them there.

When I heard about the Youth Skyrunning Championships, I was intrigued. “A whole team of weirdos like me who love to run uphill, and not just in circles around a track?” I knew it was my chance. For years I have ran in the same races as several incredible runners, like Joseph Gray, Peter Maksimow, Zach Miller and Alex Nichols. I’ve watched live results as they race around the country and the world, and I always thought, “how amazing would it be to be able to run in different countries, representing my country?” So I went for it.

If you have any inkling to apply for this experience, my advice is, go for it. The Youth Skyrunning Championships will be a whole new challenge. It’s the chance to race people our age from all around the world. A chance to prove that we deserve spots on the U.S. Mountain Running Team one day. The opportunity for all of us to run in a new place, meet new people and see new cultures. If you are worried about the funding, just do what I did. Make a gofundme, put yourself out there, contact some of the runners that have inspired you and start raising money. Who knows, this could be the beginning of a career in trail running for you!


Naiya's gofundme page is here