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Kody Kohlman, Instagram @kokody
Kody Kohlman, Instagram @kokody



Exploring All Terrain

Pioneer Grayson Murphy
Pro Runner
2019 World Mountain Running Champion





  • run

Fearless and confident, Grayson Murphy is challenging expectations of what a professional running career looks like. From the track to the trails, she’s forging her own way forward, calling the shots, and finding success.



Story by Katie Grossman
Photography by Kody Kohlman, Instagram: @kokody


See Grayson Dial In With The Saucony Switchback 2


Getting to the top of your game is impressive, but how do you know when you’ve reached the peak of what you, yourself are capable of? For elite trail runner Grayson Murphy, this is the never-ending pursuit. And if she finds an answer, she may just switch up the game entirely.

Grayson began her running career later in life than most, as a track and cross-country walk-on during her sophomore year in college. She found her stride quickly and began climbing the ranks, eventually graduating as a 5X All-American D1 level athlete. It was these early career successes that taught Grayson to embrace her “outsider” status. According to Grayson, her lack of experience isn’t a liability, it’s an asset. “I know I don’t have the experience and background that my competitors do. I think that actually helps. I never think the race is mine to win. It’s always me – I need to go out there and do it.”

Grayson Murphy portrait

“I know I don’t have the experience and background that my competitors do. I think that actually helps. I never think the race is mine to win. It’s always me – I need to go out there and do it.”

– Grayson Murphy


After graduating college, Grayson continued to defy the odds, pursuing a professional career in running where she placed sixth in the NACAC Cross Country Championships and a noteworthy personal best (32:28:09) in the 10,000 meters. And just when she was reaching her peak, she shifted course to navigate new terrain in trail running. Once again, she succeeded. Grayson earned first place in the World Mountain Running and XTERRA Trail Run World championships, winning the latter with an eleven-minute lead.

Grayson Murphy wins the 2019 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship
Saucony Switchback 2s splash through muddy terrain

It wouldn’t be accurate to describe Grayson as underdog. Because the term “underdog” implies the existence of an expectation. And Grayson isn’t concerned with expectations. “I think it’s important to put yourself in those positions to do something great,” she says. “I’d rather try and go for it and end up last than never having gone for it at all.”

From track to trail, this is the mindset that gives Grayson her edge. She’s relentlessly dialed in to the moment, unconcerned with what the outcome will be. Whether she’s in the middle of a high stakes race, or simply training on her daily run, she traverses rugged switchbacks and makes steep ascents with the same focus, creating a connection between her feet and the ground, in power, precision, and rhythm, until she crosses the finish line.

“Having no preconceived expectations has been really helpful going into big races - you just deal with the challenges as they come, as opposed to worrying about them beforehand.”

Grayson credits her success to her unconventional approach. And while she has undoubtedly progressed from outsider to outlier, it’s Grayson’s commitment to taking risks and pushing past personal limits that will keep her on top.  

 Grayson’s next move in the racing world is yet to be determined, but her outlook on running’s place in her life and her fearless approach to finding new and better bests are certain to guarantee a successful career, as only she can define it. “I don't know what the future holds, but as I keep taking chances - keep pushing the envelope - I'll be happy where I end up.”

Get the gear.


Saucony Switchback 2 Mens
Switchback 2

Packed with lightweight performance, every aspect of this shoe is designed to deliver agility and speed. The Saucony Switchback 2 is Grayson’s choice shoe for training and racing on the trail.


Specialized Torch 3.0 Mens
Torch 3.0

While cross-training on the bike, Grayson dials in to the Specialized Torch 3.0 for precision micro-adjustability at every turn, sprint, and climb.


EVOC Handlebar Pack BOA
EVOC Handlebar
Pack BOA

Grayson relies on this spacious, waterproof handlebar bag to keep her belongings secure during bike rides.


Oakley Aro3

Engineered for optimized ventilation during those unforgiving climbs, Grayson rides in the BOA-powered Oakley ARO3 for a secure fit when cross-training on the bike.