When Edwardsville, Illinois, resident Patrick Albert told some friends about the Terrain Readers’ Choice Awards, the last thing he expected was to win one. “I was more surprised than anyone,” said the 48-year-old. “I guess [my friends] got a campaign going. It comes at a good point in my adventure life, when I need a win, a little validation.”

How did you discover the outdoor lifestyle?

As a child, I always played in the woods. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when I could leave the house and not come home until dark. That led to quite a bit of fort building, tree climbing and exploring.

As an adult, I found my way back to the outdoors when I saw a documentary on the Bad Water ultramarathon. I had no idea people could run that far. I started running again, which led me to all the local trails. I ended up meeting a bunch of like-minded people.

My favorite outdoor activity is paddling. There’s a general sense of calm that comes with sitting in a boat on the water that I don’t get anywhere else.

What’s the most ambitious thing you’ve done?

I was convinced to compete in the Berryman 36-hour Adventure Race. Our team was very green, but we finished. I remember the race director gently suggesting that maybe we should’ve done the 12-hour instead. It seemed like the race would never end, and I’m certain there were times we all wanted to quit. We might’ve come in last place, but the cheers as we ran to the finish were just as good as winning.

Can you explain what the 100plus Project is?

The 100plus Project is a series of non-motorized adventures covering a distance of 100 miles or more. I started it as a way to help get myself motivated to get fit. So far, I’ve skateboarded 107 miles, ridden the length of the Katy Trail on a recumbent bike, completed the MR340 in a tandem kayak and more. Along the way, I raised some money for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, St Louis Chapter. It felt good to help an organization that does such great work in the community.

Are you constantly training?

For the most part, there isn’t a great deal of preparation involved. My tag line has been, “part-time adventurer, full-time couch potato.” I’m not an elite athlete. I’m just a regular guy who enjoys getting outside and testing the limits of what’s possible. Anyone with the will to try could do any of the things I’ve done, and that’s important for people to realize. It would be great if maybe I inspired someone to go on an adventure of their own.

What’s next on the horizon?

There are a few ideas I’ve put aside that need to be revisited. But first, I’m planning to hike the 160-mile River to River Trail in Southern Illinois with my dog, Harper. We haven’t set a date because she needs more training before I feel comfortable taking her on a multi-day hike. In the meantime, we’re both having a lot of fun outdoors together.

Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine.