Runner Spotlight – TrailsRoc crew

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#TrailsROC has been live for a few months now, we have featured races, training programs and runners. We have mapped trails, posted photos, and shared our love of the trails. We have designed and begun to show off shirts, bumperstickers and other product.  But who is the “we”. Who is behind all of this?

You have seen us tweet, use facebook, communicate in the forums and upload photos from the trail, but it is time to introduce ourselves. Ron, Ben, Sean, and Eric. We decided we wanted to share a bit about us. A bit about what makes us tick and why we call the trails home. So we sat down and hammered this out for your “enjoyment”, and information. We realize this comes on the heels of our race reports from Sehgahunda but we wanted it out here. Give us a look, but more importantly join us on the trails!


AKA “Ber Beer Bear”



1. Why TrailsROC? What attracts you to the organization?

The roads just don’t always do it for me. Everything about it feels overdone to me. The traffic, the noise, the advertisements, the road rage, the people. It all feels so corporate to me. The trails are just the opposite. I feel closer to God on a hard trail run or mountain climb than any church service has ever left me. This organization gets that. TrailsROC and the people who are part of it, they love the trails as much as I do. That’s huge.

2. What is your endurance background AND what makes you tick… why do you run? 

I was just like Sean, I ran a lot through high school. was recruited at a bunch of schools and chose to run at SUNY Fredonia. I got hurt, flamed out, gained weight, and running seemed to be over for me. After college, and about 70 lbs heavier, I decided cycling would be my thing. I trained for a Tour De Cure, did 1 century ride and sold my bike the next day. I needed to be running, I love running. It just took me a little while to get back to it.

3. Why should people join TrailsROC? 

Besides the fact that we are 4 totally awesome dudes building a great community? We plan on partaking in trail clean ups, mapping out every trail in Monroe County, offering race previews and recaps, interviewing elites and local runners. IN other words, if you love the trails, you will love us. That should be reason enough!

4. Your favorite Trail Event? 

I love a lot of local races – The Trail Runner of the Year series we put on is awesome. If I had to pick one race though it might be the Muddy Sneaker trail run.

5. Where can we learn more about you? Blogs, twitter handles, etc.. 

My twitter handle is @Trails2Brews, I blog at Many of my blogs are also edited into different versions for the Greece Post. and of course we all utilize the TrailsROC facebook and Twitter Pages. (like us and follow us!!)

6. What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done on a run? 

It was my senior year of XC in high school, we were running down Main Street in West Seneca when I saw a huge pile of leafs. I ran ahead of the team, jumped straight up and landed…. on rocks. A big pile of rocks. If it hadn’t been so funny to everyone else, I would have probably been in a lot more pain. Lesson learned. Do not jump in mysterious piles of anything…

7. What is your DREAM race and why?

Dipsea.  Dipsea is the oldest trail race in America. It is run every year on the second Sunday in June. The scenic 7.4 mile course from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world. The stairs and steep trails make it a grueling and treacherous race. I love that the race is handicapped and pretty much anyone can win, not just the elites. I have never been out west, let alone run out west… this would be a dream come true for me.


AKA “Papa Smurph”


1. Why TrailsROC? What attracts you to the organization?

I’m attracted to it because I helped found it… and the reason is because it was needed. There’s an utterly amazing Trail Running scene out here in the Rochester region of New York. Seriously, we have world class trails here in the Great Lakes/Finger Lakes area as well as world class athletes, but nothing was deliberately pulling it all together as a resource for everyone to share. It was time someone did something about that.

2. What is your endurance background AND what makes you tick… why do you run?

My endurance background is that I don’t really have one. New Year’s 2010 I was obese. Not “Biggest Loser” obese, but I was – by the charts – obese. Earlier in my life I’d always been active having grown up in rural Pennsylvania running and biking around in the woods. Than I went to college, got married, started a career, had kids… and put on a lot of weight.

Since 2010 I’ve lost over 60 pounds, gotten hooked on triathlon and now specialize in long, solo, off road endurance events. I’m currently training for my first off road Ironman this September. Solo. To my knowledge there are fewer than 100 people on the planet who’ve completed an iron-distance (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run) event off road on trail. If someone had told me a few years back that I’d be doing all this I’d have thought it was hilarious! Skinny, endurance athlete, vegetarian? Wonders never cease.

What makes me tick? Adventure and discovering how much I’m capable of. So off road endurance racing definitely fits the bill. Plus, for me – with a busy family (I have three young kids who I adore) and crazy work schedule – there’s greatly needed tranquility for me in the time I’m out training. I need that peaceful time to function back in the real world. The thing about this whole weight loss -to- athlete journey that’s surprised me the most is getting to spend time telling folks my story. Stories give hope – and people need hope. 2/3 of the American population is overweight or obese. That’s staggering. So, there are a lot of folks out there looking for proof that this can be done. It can absolutely be done! It’s been really humbling seeing other people being positively impacted by my story.

3. Why should people join TrailsROC?

For the community. We literally threw this organization together because it was needed. There’s no pretense, no selfish ambition – it’s just doing our part to help pull together and promote the awesome trail scene here in our region. We’re proud of what’s going on in our region and we want to get new people involved in discovering the beauty of our trails.

4. Your favorite Trail Event?

Well, let’s define “trail” loosely. The 50k Trail Run, the 100 mile Mountain Bike, and Open Water Distance Swimming.

5. Where can we learn more about you? Blogs, twitter handles, etc..

My website is – folks can connect to all my social media through there.

6. What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done on a run?

Lots of dumb falls and stupid crashes. You know, when you’re hours into a trail run or a mountain bike ride, your brain isn’t quite so alert and quick… All kinds of things happen at that point – which is precisely one reason I enjoy the challenge of ultra so much. But flipping my mountain bike off a switchback into poison ivy had to be the most embarrassing “adding insult to bloody injury” crash I’ve had so far.

7. What is your DREAM race and why?

Well, there are actually 3 “dream races” on my radar that – if all goes according to plan – I’ll have knocked out in the next few years:

-ULTRAMAN – – a double-Ironman-distance+ triathlon held over 3 days each fall in Hawaii.

-The GRAND2GRAND – – which is a brand new, week-long, self-supported trail ultra stage race involving theGrand Canyon.

-The TOUR DIVIDE – which is a 2,700 mile self-supported mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide Trail.


AKA “White Turtle”


1. Why TrailsROC? What attracts you to the organization?

I had thought about starting my own running club for a long time. A group that was trail oriented but was much more about getting more people into running than necessarily winning races. Meeting the other 3 guys, it seemed that they had similar goals in mind.

2. What is your endurance background AND what makes you tick… why do you run?

I ran track and cross country in high school and was recruited to run both at SUNY Geneseo. My Freshman year in college I got hurt and my inner drive to run fell apart. I really rediscovered running at the end of the summer of 2011. I had put on a little weight and was sluggish and lazy. I have 3 young kids and I realized I wanted to be a good role model for them, and wanted to have the energy levels to keep up with them! I love challenging myself, my favorite event in track was the steeplechase because it intimidated so many other people. I love pushing my limits and have always welcomed reaching and breaking through my own percieved thresholds.

3. Why should people join TrailsROC?

With TrailsROC you’ll find a group of people dedicated to getting more people out on trails, enjoying nature. We WANT to see ours trails packed with people hiking/running/biking. Rochester provides us with amazing natural wealth and we will get our community to see the potential!

4. Your favorite Trail Event? 

There’s no doubt that it is the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon. This race is the perfect balance of pain and beauty. Fleet Feet does a great job with the Dirt Cheap series as well, so I’d be amiss not to give them a mention here!

5. Where can we learn more about you? Blogs, twitter handles, etc.

@BadManRunning on Twitter, or check out my training on DailyMile I’ll also be posting a monthly blog post on this amazing site called . Haven’t heard of it? It’s an amazing site!

6. What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done on a run?

Nothing too bad, was on a training run at Seneca Park just cruising along running sub 8 min miles and really having a great time. Hadn’t seen anyone else out that morning, but as I got to the last couple of miles there was a really built dude out running the trail with his shirt off. He was moving along pretty well on the main trail. I moved off to the single track just off the right side of the trail got up on my toes and really put the hammer down, just as I passed him I caught my toe on a root and smashed down with a resounding WOOOOMPH. No injuries, but my pride was stung a little bit as I was showboating for sure.

7. What is your DREAM race and why? 

Leadville 100 The race holds some mystical force over me. The difficulty of the natural course paired with the history of it. Someday… someday…

Ron Heerkens Jr

 AKA “Goat”


1. Why TrailsROC? What attracts you to the organization?

Why not? With all the amazing trail systems available and the many races in the area, it seemed invetiable. A way to join the community and be the fiber that weaved the different groups and resources together. I wanted something that was easy for the avg joe but just as valuable if a professional runner stepped off a plane in Rochester, to know where and with whom they could run with.

2.What is your endurance background AND what makes you tick… why do you run?

Don’t have much of a background. Just returned to running last year after a 13+ year hiatus. I pushed myself to finish my first ever marathon 7 months after I picked up running again. Competitively up till last year I was strictly 1000m and shorter. After running a local Mudslog race and participating with a cross country series with my run club, I had been bitten by the trails. On May 26th I completed the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon, in October I plan on running my first 100K at Oil Creek.

3. Why should people join TrailsROC?

If you have even the slightest interest in anything but roads, then this is for you. Trails are good for so much physically/mentally that we at TrailsROC are just trying to promote it. And again, with all that is available in our area…WHY NOT?

4. Your favorite Trail Event?

The Sehgahunda Trail Marathon, but so far the most fun I have had was during the GVH Mudslog, a combo trail and obstacle event that was a blast.

5. Where can we learn more about you? Blogs, twitter handles, etc..

Twitter handle @gmedia , blog: . I’m not very interesting, just random thoughts and training/ race reports.

6. what is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done on a run?

Not much “embarrassing” other than constantly tripping or rolling ankles. Sure it’s pretty funny to whomever has run with me.

7. What is your DREAM race and why?

 Dream race hands down is to run Western States 100. I’ve been drawn to it since I learned about it and ultra running. The legend is the biggest draw of all. Coming in a close second would be the Pikes Peak marathon.


So there you have it. Just 4 guys who love the trails sharing them with you. Spread the word, spread our site… then order a shirt and hang out with us on the trails some time!

Thanks for reading, we hope you are all enjoying our site!