#skoutoutside: Speaker Series Part 3: Brian Donnelly


Brian Donnelly wrapped up the Skout Backcountry Speaker Series on Tuesday night with a talk on how to travel "Fast & Light".

Through the story of his Pacific Crest Trail adventure, Brian defined "fast and light" as a feeling, a style, and a philosophy of traveling that enables you to travel long distances.  He pointed out that "adventure" is a word thrown around pretty loosely, but explained that true adventure involves taking on a feat bound to throw the unexpected at you.

Skout Backcountry Ambassador Brian Donnelly - Speaker Series Part 3

It was incredible to hear how Brian handled the challenges thrown at him.  Though his partner had to drop out and his body protested, though he encountered mountain lions and hallucinations, Brian pressed on.

"It's your attitude that matters the most in situations like this — how you approach things positive you are.  You can't predict things, the weather, your circumstances...  It's really just staying positive and having the right attitude that matters the most."

Skout Backcountry Ambassador Brian Donnelly - Speaker Series Part 3

"The sunrises were always amazing. Every day when I started doing my trip solo, they were the best."  Brian conveyed the beauty and wonder of his travels.  He accomplished something no one had before, and no one has since.

"You're in the groove for a couple hours, then you come upon this little horizon and you see a mountain.  It's so far to the north and you're just cruising all day.  Pretty soon you're under it, and then by the end of the day you look back and you're looking south. And there's the mountain. Just covering that kind of distance under your own power is pretty awesome."

Skout Backcountry Ambassador Brian Donnelly - Speaker Series Part 3

Brian has held the speed record for the 456-mile Oregon section of the Pacific Crest Trail since 2013, completing it in 7 days, 22 hours, and 37 minutes.  But Brian spoke very humbly of this accomplishment.  "Records are made to be broken, and it's really exciting to see people going after it."

Skout Backcountry Ambassador Brian Donnelly - Speaker Series Part 3

As more people set out to break Brian's speed record, he has been happy to come alongside and offer advice from experience.

"I think fast and light is definitely a feeling more than it is about weight," explained Brian.  "I think having light weight is certainly important, but how I explain it is this... If you ever get a short haircut or a new pair of shoes — or if you get both a haircut and a new pair of shoes — then it's like you're going to do a tempo run no matter what.  Fitness, too — if you have that sense of being fast, that's what matters more than what you have with you, how light it is, and how 'cool-techy' it is."

Skout Backcountry Ambassador Brian Donnelly - Speaker Series Part 3

Brian wrapped up his talk with a summarizing piece of advice.  "There's a tendency to get caught up in logistics and planning for all these things, and there's a point where you just have to let go."

We were so glad to have the chance to hear from Brian, and we look forward to implementing these techniques of fast and light!

Thank you so much to our speakers: Willie McBride, Jeremy Long, and Brian Donnelly!  Your talks were informative, encouraging, and inspiring!

Thank you to Base Camp Brewing for hosting us for this three-part series, and to our amazing partners at New Seasons MarketBend MarathonEvolution Healthcare and Fitness, Daybreak RacingGorgeous SeriesHappy Mountain KombuchaThe Herb ShoppeJT RacingOutdoor Project, Planet GraniteSheJumps, Territory Run Co., and Wy'east Wolfpack!

Stay tuned for future #skoutoutside events!


1 comment


  • Jerry Goldenr

    Awesome event with inspiring speekers!!!


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