Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Beast from Utah - Interview with Cody Moat, the USATF 50-Mile and Marathon Champion

When I hear "former college Steeplechase/Cross Country star is getting into ultras", my expectations are immediately off the charts. I think of Max King (who just won Way Too Cool 50k in a mind-boggling 3:08), Sage Canaday (USATF 100k Champion, who just won the Tarawera 100k), or Joe Gray (just won the Caumsett 50k USATF Championships in 2:56). Now I can add one more to that list - Fillmore, Utah's Cody Moat, who just won the USATF 50-Mile Trail Championship in course record fashion in his first ever ultra.
(Cody, just after winning the Spartan World Championship)
Cody Moat has been fast nearly all of his life. A high school Cross Country and Wrestling State Champion, he went on to Southern Utah University in the early 2000's to become a 4-time NCAA Div I conference champion in Cross Country, the indoor 5,000m, and outdoor 10,000m. After a 5-year hiatus from competitive running to have 4 (!) kids and begin his teaching and coaching career, Cody got back into competitive trail running through the Spartan obstacle racing series, and ended up winning the World Championship in two divisions and picking up a sponsorship from Team inov-8. He handily won the USATF Trail Marathon Championships in 2012 with a course record, and debuted in the ultra scene at the Nueces 50-miler to win his first ultra, and his first USATF ultra title. With so much success right out of the gate, I was excited to exchange e-mails with Cody and see what he's up to.
1. First, congratulations on your win/course record at the Nueces 50-miler and your USATF Championship! I know you are familiar with trail running, but was that your first ultra? Any lessons learned to share? 

Ya, that was my first official ultra marathon. I regularly do a 30-40 mile mt run on my own at 10,000 ft. every summer. I also won the Spartan Ultra Marathon which was only 27 miles but it took 7 hours because of the grueling obstacles. So in a way it’s not my first long run but technically its my first regular ultra marathon race. I learned that it’s a good idea to follow someone who knows what they are doing on your first Ultra. That’s what I did. I followed Jason Bryant for about 37 miles and then I knew I could make the distance and headed out after Paul Terranova. I also learned that it pays to have more experience coming into the aid stations. I was always the slowest of our leader pack coming out of each aid station.

(Cody sets a new course record at Nueces to win the USATF 50-Mile Championship)
 2. How did you find your way from the track to obstacle racing, and then to trail and ultra running? Was it a natural progression? 

Actually trail and ultra running came before obstacle racing. I spent several years running trails and mountains by myself because I love the outdoors. I lost a lot of good years that I should have been competing. I was running and was in great shape just not racing competitively. Then I got into trail racing and Obstacle racing at about the same time. I was burned out after college so I wouldn’t even run a 5 k for over 5 years. But now I’m back and wish I had never taken those 5 years off after college.

3. You have two boys and two girls, you are a full-time teacher, and a coach for wrestling and cross country. When in the world do you find time to train? What motivates you? 

It’s so hard to find the time to train and do it all. Actually this year I’m the head track coach as well. The truth is I run every morning at 5:00 a.m. with a head lamp. Sometimes I’ll do workouts at practice. And if I feel like I need more, I train in the evening after everything else is done. I need to quit something. The upcoming races motivate me but even more than that is being able to run the Mountain trails on a Saturday that I have off. I’d rather do that than just about anything.

(How sweet is this picture?)
 4. In you track days, what was your favorite event? Have you carried some of your track training into your off-road racing? What does a typical week of workouts look like for you? 

In track, my favorite event was the 3,000 meter Steeplechase. I liked it because it broke the monotony of the laps. But I actually like Cross Country best of all. I like the hills and the change. I did okay in college but I always felt like they didn’t have my event. I knew my event was a trail run from 13-50 miles. I learned a lot from Coach Eric Houle at Southern Utah University. I still do many of the same workouts that I did in college I’ve just adapted them to my situation which is on trails or doing obstacles. I really couldn’t give you a mileage per week. It seems to change all the time. I have great weeks with high mileage and then I have weeks where I have to run in the pool because of aches and pains and injuries. I take it one day at a time. But if I had a choice of a perfect week, it would be all done at high elevation on a mountain trail. I would do my speed, my tempo runs, and my long runs all on a trail. Very seldom do I get a week like that though.

5. How about race day nutrition/hydration…what do you like to use and what is your strategy? 

Sorry I’m so vague with this kind of stuff but every race varies a little. I always want to be hydrated and carbo-loaded but I don’t really have any particular method that I’m sold on. This is probably the area that I need the most work. For the Nueces trail race I used Gu and water when I was away from an aid station. At the aid stations I ate bananas, a piece of pbj sandwich, Pringles, and trail mix. I felt really strong the whole race, I never felt weak from a lack of calories like I have in other races or workouts. So whatever I did in Texas worked but there was no experience coming behind it.

When I run Marathons I usually don’t need much except for what they supply in aid stations but the 50 miler was a little different. So I guess I got lucky with my race day nutrition.

6. What is next on the race list/bucket list? Will we be seeing you at a 100-miler anytime soon? 

As far as trail races I’m looking at the Speed Goat 50k, maybe Pikes Peak. Also later in the summer another USATF trail championship (I think it’s 50K but not sure). I have at least 8 spartan obstacle races planned. Also I’m considering running at the World Marathon Championships and the World 50 Mile Championships. All of that is up in the air right now because it seems like all the races I want to do are close together. I do want to eventually do a 100 miler but probably not this year. I don’t know how I could fit it in.

Thanks, Cody! Have a great season and I hope to see you out there!

- SD


  1. I'm excited to see Cody competing in the trail/ultra scene and can't wait to watch the records drop. What an awesome guy to represent the sport. He's as humble as they come.

  2. Great article, Scott! He is my favorite person to read about! :) Btw - The 3rd picture down is a sweet picture, but it is not Cody. It is Hobie Call, a fellow Obstacle Course racer. He is a great guy and I'm sure Cody won't mind a bit if he is in the article. I didn't know if that was intentional or not, but thought I'd let you know. Thanks,
    Leona Moat

  3. Cody your are amazing. Keep it up and may you stay injury free.

  4. Cody is amazing! He is so humble and such a great competitor (and a great cousin!). Best of luck to him! We sure love the Moat family!!

  5. Amazing keep up the good work.
    I cannot even fathom it.

  6. We're big supporters of Cody here in ohio. Cody rocks!

  7. I laugh at myself trying to talk Cody into running a marathon with me when we were neighbors in Fillmore (during his running hiatus). Little did I know. He has the best race support in Leona and the four cutest kids. CFrame

  8. Now four years later, and he's still an amazing athlete. Was he ever able to do any of the races he was aspiring to?


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