My name is Dani Moreno and I am a trail runner galloping and residing in the utopian coast town of Santa Barbara. I graduated from the University of Santa Barbara California where I competed for the women’s Cross Country and Track and Field programs under the guidance of Coach Pete Dolan (Pedro for short). While there I was lucky enough to produce times that allowed me to compete on both the conference and national level. However, this isn’t what made my experience memorable. Rather it was everything that happened outside those PR’s, the kooky vulgar humor filled friendships, Super Cucas breakfast burritos after Wednesday morning drills, Co-op runs and runs with Coop (nicest person in the milky way), Free-Ride Fridays, Space Cakes, stories of former gauchos turning in fast times despite our crappy bump-filled track, hill circuits overlooking the ocean, vision quests, and so much more. These experiences outside the PR’s are what drove me to create art with my legs that I like to term “badassery” moments (obviously circumstantial) and also what manifested my thirst to continue running post collegiately.
Following graduation I was perplexed, I still wanted to run but I did not want to do it around a track. After focusing on the 10k for nearly my entire college career, I was a little burnt out on lap counters and red ovals. Not to say it may not be revisited one day, but I knew for the time it was something I wanted to step away from. Following graduation I took more than handful of months to rediscover myself. I had seen myself let running become too much of myself and I weighted my results to my own self worth. It was during this time that I worked as an outdoor guide for a few years, until finally I found myself hungry to feel that raw feeling that I originally felt when I first fell in love with the sport.
Once refreshed and with a new outlook on the spot I tried a few road races, which were fun, but they couldn’t provide me with the fire I was looking for that would ignite me and entertain my desire to feel raw and primal. Thus, it was during this search that I took to new trails I had never ran before that were located in the front range of the Los Padres National Forest. It was here that I was introduced to the term “trail running”. I mean I had run on dirt all throughout college, but this was much much different. Trail running immediately appealed to all aspects of my personality in a way that no other type of running had before. It was dirty, painful (all the time),required a new set of skills, had an ever changing environment, and required true knowledge and faith of one’s body. It was as if someone had taken to me to another planet named Dani and just dropped me off and slapped me as they were leaving as to say “It’s been here all along, eggnoodle”.
As I have begun racing trails it has been mind-blowing how many opportunities and fresh new ideas, of how I can progress not only as a runner, but an athlete and person, have been consuming and engulfing my imagination. I feel reawaken and brought back to life as I plan to create a life that encompasses these goals and aspirations.
My first few years in this sport have been more than amazing. I've traveled all over the United States and even to new countries. And no matter how the races have panned out the feeling I walk away with is always the same: gratitude. I am more excited than I have ever been for a new year as I have set my sights high. With new types of mountain races on my schedule and some new International competitions, I believe that this will be the year I push myself to even higher level of competition.
My personal mantra when it comes to running is to be balanced as an athlete and person. Aside from trail running I like to do a handful of other things such as : climbing, hiking, spearfishing, canyoneering, riding my motorcycle, snowboarding, songwriting, camping, skydiving, and just flat out anything outside.
Feel free to contact me anytime and read my blog to get an insight to me.