Today: Charlie Mahler, media and communications manager at Twin Cities in Motion. The organization runs the Twin Cities Marathon, TC 10-Mile and other popular road races.


I’m slowly picking my way through “Into the Silence” by Wade Davis. It’s a comprehensive history of the early attempts by British mountaineers to summit Mount Everest, ending with the (George) Mallory and (Sandy) Irvine tragedy in 1924. So far, it’s a great history of the time period, British India, Tibet, and Himalayan exploration.

My reading regularly circles back to adventure literature, especially Arctic and polar exploration — that and Native American history. I recently read “Black Hawk” by Kerry Trask, which was a great read. I like picturing the past, especially things that take place in a landscape I know. It’s like science fiction in reverse, imagining how things actually were in a place and time we can’t ever revisit.


My dog, Atlas! He’s my hiking companion in the woods surrounding our farmstead, a medium-size, brown mutt who is always ready to explore. He leads, and while I don’t track every meander and sniff he takes, I enjoy seeing the hike from his point of view. Who knew there were so many critters running around under the snow.

I get excited about new snow, which prompts me to update my snowshoe trails and break new track in whatever direction Atlas has in mind. Winter is a great time to be in the woods. It’s never the same as the last time you made tracks — new snow, new animal sign, different skies, and views you hadn’t noticed.


The changing seasons. Being so busy with the marathon in September, it always feels like I’m missing out on autumn, my favorite season. I do miss out on some of it, but I think my senses are heightened for the rest of fall and then winter, which is its own great time to be outdoors.

My wife, Carrie, and I live in the country north of Northfield, Minn., on 125 acres that are mostly woods and restored prairie and wetlands, so we get to experience the changing seasons close up. It won’t be long until we’re listening for the sandhill cranes returning to our marsh.


I’ve got a long commute and podcasts get me through. I’m enjoying “Time to Eat the Dogs” by Michael Robinson. (Don’t tell Atlas the title, please.) It’s about exploration and the history of science, from the golden age of polar exploration to outer space.

I also enjoy listening to old-time music — the Appalachian string band music that pre-dates country music — so you’ll hear fiddle and banjo leaking out of my car at stop signs, too.


I run, I ride my bikes (fatbike in winter, commute and road bikes the rest of the year, a spin bike in the basement as a very last resort), and I like to hike. I like running my engine and moving in and across the landscape. I like how my various activities have me “exploring” at different scales depending on the mode and speed of the travel. Hikes and trail runs for the nearby, rides and longer runs for more of a landscape-level experience, long rides to be able to look at a map and say, “Cool, I pedaled from there to there!”

And, when I’m sitting in a chair, I usually have a banjo in my hands. I’m not that good yet, but I enjoy the sound and the journey and adventure of learning something new.