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True Fulfillment: From Triathlon to Trails

Reid's journey is one of finding true fulfillment.
Reid Burrows
Year started: 2000
Next race: August 17th/Leadville 100/Leadville, CO
Favorite gear:

MTL Long Sky 2 

Photo Credit: Dylan Tanner 

Reid Burrows’ path to becoming a professional trail ultrarunner with Merrell is an incredible story of perseverance, self-discovery, and relentlessly chasing one’s dreams despite confronting mental health’s darkest depths. His story begins with a simple desire to emulate his older brother, who was a swimmer. “Like, my brother’s three years older. He was swimming and I was just like, well, I want to be like my big brother. So I started swimming as well,” Burrows recalls. Reid’s journey is one of finding true fulfillment.

Deep Depression

Swimming eventually led to triathlon, a sport Burrows excelled at from a young age. However, despite his success, something was missing. The grueling training and constant travel took a major toll, leaving Burrows unhappy and unfulfilled. It was during this challenging time that he spiraled into a deep depression. Reid struggled with suicidal ideation, having thoughts of jumping off a bridge every day for 3 months. “There was, like, 1% of me that wanted to live…I wonder a lot, what if I actually slipped in the Grand Canyon and died,” Burrows somberly reflects.


Trail Running

Reid remembers when he was going to university and working after triathlon. He recalls struggling with an unhealthy relationship and being unhappy with school. It was amid this darkness that Burrows stumbled upon a new passion – trail running. A pivotal moment came when he won a prestigious 12-hour race, catapulting him towards pursuing trail running full-time in the mountains of Colorado. However, his journey hit a major roadblock in 2022.

Refused Entry into the United States

In 2022, Reid was refused entry into the United States at the border. “It was a really horrible experience. I’ve never feared for my freedom in that way…It was a very uncomfortable and eye-opening experience,” Burrows says. Determined to resolve the issue, Burrows immediately contacted an immigration lawyer while crossing back into Canada. What was supposed to be a two-week trip home turned into months of headaches, paperwork, and long border crossing ordeals as he awaited his visa approval. “Once your passport is flagged, it just kind of creates a lot of headaches,” he explains.

Long-Awaited News

Ultimately, Burrows flew to Spain for 10 weeks to continue training before finally receiving the long-awaited news – his U.S. visa had been approved, allowing him to properly establish his new life at 7,000 feet in Colorado. “A year ago, I was in Spain, got the notification from my lawyer that my visa was actually approved…and that was a year ago,” he recounts.

A Professional Partnership

During this time, Burrows solidified a professional partnership with Merrell as a trail runner. Supportive of Reid throughout the entire process, Merrell’s brand mission aligned to the core with his own values. However, his deeper motivation stems from promoting mental health awareness after emerging from his own struggles. “I wanted people to know that there’s a way out of the hole…once you’re on the other side, it’s so amazing,” he says.

Chasing My Dreams

“Can you imagine if I jumped off that bridge in 2013? I just feel like I have a second chance at life,” Burrows continues. He hopes his vulnerability can help others who have reached those same depths. After hitting rock bottom nearly a decade ago, Burrows has found true fulfillment on the trails. “I’m living my life for me. I’m chasing my dreams, my goals, things that inspire me,” he proclaims. His journey exemplifies that even when staring into the abyss of darkness, an unwavering commitment to one’s passions can lead to redemption.

The Iconic Leadville 100

In 2023, Reid finished in the top 10 at the iconic Leadville 100. He remains determined to put the pieces together and have an even stronger 2nd outing. As he toes the line at his goal race again this year, Burrows will undoubtedly inspire many to keep chasing their dreams and prioritize their mental health. Reid’s journey has brought him closer to true fulfillment.