“Each of these athletes is basically like their own startup,” explains Dena Evans, the head coach of the Strava Track Club. “It’s okay to believe in yourself and go for that dream.”
I first meet Dena, and the rest of the members of the Strava Track Club, an elite development group based near Palo Alto, California, at the Pacific Association Cross Country Championships. It’s a bright and crisp Saturday morning in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and the grass is steaming as the dew evaporates off it, lending the scene a misty, ethereal quality. The club have their reputation, and a record of success, to defend, the women’s team having won the title for the past seven years. A few tents are being assembled and two women sit behind a fold up table handing out race numbers. Dena strides across the grass carrying boxes and tent poles, while a few members of the team who have hitched a ride in her car, trail behind with bags of oranges and paper towels. Hardly the scene you’d envisage when you imagine high performance running.