Dylan Morgan only got into trail running fairly recently, but he's been an outdoorsman all his life.
Making the transition into the sport just a few years back, he drew on his experiences to win the Fuego y Agua Survival Run in Nicaragua in 2016 and holds the fastest known time on the Sunshine Coast Trail.
"I grew up in South Africa with mountaineering, rock climbing and hiking as my outdoor passions," he said. "For the longest time, I wasn't a runner by any stretch of the imagination. In 2014, when living in Texas, there's nothing else to do outdoors except run. I started running a short distance and when I moved to the North Shore, I discovered trail running in earnest and my passion took off.
"A couple months after I moved to Vancouver, I ran my first marathon."
He later graduated to running 100-kilometre trail races "and have been having a lot of fun since," including starting up Sweaty Yeti, which aims to help people get into, and advance, in ultra running. He also plans to hold 100-mile (160 kilometre) events across the province.
Morgan will be in Whistler this Saturday, May 13, holding a trail-running safety talk at the Arc'teryx location in the village. The free presentation begins at 7 p.m.
Though the risks perhaps aren't on par with other backcountry sports, many still underestimate the dangers trail running can present, said Morgan.
"We don't really realize how quickly we're getting into the backcountry, into the wilderness and how far we can get from help," he said. "That's the main thing I hope people come away with is the awareness that their involvement in a mountain activity is something that they have to take seriously and they have to have a variety of tools to help understand, manage and minimize the risks."
Morgan has had a lifetime of experience around the mountains, as his parents were mountain-safety advocates and he later worked with search and rescue organizations.
"Mountain safety has been close to my heart my whole life," he said.
Since moving to B.C., Morgan said he's seen real growth in trail running, and he hopes he can help it grow in a safe fashion.
"(Squamish is) becoming more and more of a hotbed. Every week I discover more trail runners, more events coming up," he said. "The passion is spreading for longer distances, and running outside of events more and more."
Noting that he's drawn to the sport for the range of terrain he can cover while running, Morgan explained that any given day, he could have a taste for something a little bit different than the run before.
"Some days, I'm looking for easy, flowy terrain where I can just move and enjoy the beauty of the movement. I have days I'm looking for the majestic views, getting higher and away from civilization. There are days where I want a challenge, where I want to do something that extends me and I learn about myself," he said. "It's like asking what does one like in food. It depends on the day."