Growing up as he did among the woods and mountains of upstate New York and Vermont, it’s easy to see why, from an early age, Orla developed a love of trail running. The countless hours he spent exploring the woods on foot and by bike truly nurtured his passion for the great outdoors.
A junior track “star” from the age of 10 he competed on the Track, Road, and X-country. He went on to compete Statewide and Nationally for his high school and college. The legacy of his early athletic career is an impressive array of track PB’s which include a 49 second 400 meters, a 1:49 800 meters, 9:06 Steeplechase, and 4:06 for the mile! Add to this a 5k PB of 14:53 and a 10K PB of 32:16 and it’s clear his running credentials are pretty solid.
After leaving college he switched to cycling and raced bikes on and off road. He competed for several years as an amateur in the Washington DC area before a serious road accident while out training put an end to his competitive cycling days. Following his recovery, at the beginning of 2001 he returned to his first love of trail running. The freedom and sense of exploration motivated him to join the world of ultra-running to see how far this would take him.