For over fifteen years, Injinji has proudly sponsored athletes who have a unique passion for their sport, communities, and of course, toesocks! As 2023 winds down, it’s the perfect time to reflect on and celebrate the challenges and accomplishments the Team Injinji Athletes have experienced. 2023 has been a year filled with 100-mile wins, international races, and awe-inspiring personal bests. Our Athletes have conquered everything from speedy 5ks to 24-hour ultra races.
Follow along as we recap Team Injinji’s tremendous year of triumphs, challenges, and unforgettable moments.
Courtney Dauwalter, moments after she won first place female at the 2023 Hardrock 100.
Jeff Browning running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim trail.
Looking back on 2023, what athletic experience are you most proud of?
Mike Wardian: I am most proud of my pacing of two adaptative athletes. At the Boston Marathon, I guided Dylan Bourne, an athlete with autism who ran his first sub 3:00 hour marathon – 2:56:20 – and set a sixteen-minute person best. I also guided Richard Whitehead, a double amputee Olympian from Britain, who ran 2:57:26, setting his New York City Marathon personal best.
Cali Schweikhart: I am extremely proud of my performance at World’s Toughest Mudder this year. This race was my "A" goal for all of 2023, and I poured my heart and soul into preparing for it as best as I could. I became one of only five women to ever cover 90 official miles (but more like 105-108 with the penalty loops from obstacles) and took second place female and tenth overall.
Bobby Le: The Mamba 100, my fourth 100-mile finish!
Gwen Rudy: My proudest athletic experience of 2023 is qualifying for the USA Skimo National Team. It is a dream come true. As a team member this year, and with the sport recently partnering with the USOPC (United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee), we had the opportunity to have a pre-season training camp at the Olympic training center! It was the opportunity of a lifetime!
Gwen Rudy, a member of the USA Skimo National Team.
Viktoria Brown: I am most proud of my win at the GOMU 48hr World Championship and EMU 6-Day World Trophy (and new Canadian National Record)!
Mike McKnight: Being behind 34 miles at the Cocodona 250 and coming back to snag the win and course record!
Jade Belzberg: I am most proud of the diversity of races that I’ve tackled, from the VK (Vertical Kilometer) at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, to Black Canyon 100K, to the Joshua Tree Traverse FKT. I’ve loved trying various distances this year.
Alyssa Clark: I am most proud of my return to the HURT 100 in January. It was my first ever 100 miler back in 2017, and going back and seeing how much I have grown as a runner and a person was incredible. It’s also a community I love more than anything and it ended up being the most fun 24ish hours ever.
Alyssa Clark trail running at high elevation.
Cris Gutierrez competeing at the California International Marathon.
Jesus Topete Jr: I am most proud of my finish at Javelina 100k. I never gave up. I wanted to quit many times due to knee pain, but I kept moving. Out of nowhere, starting loop three, the pain went away. By mile fifty, I felt very strong and pushed very hard. I was very surprised about my performance and this sudden rush of energy. I ended up getting third place male, and fourth place overall. NEVER GIVE UP!
Cris Gutierrez: My experience at the California International Marathon is what I'm most proud of. I ran over a four-minute personal best and chased after the Olympic Trials Standard. While I may not have met that goal, to be able to compete in a pack full of such talented athletes, all chasing the same goal, is one I'll never forget. I fought to the finish line as the wheels began to come off in the later stages of the race and crossed the finish line with the best performance of my running career—2:19:13.
Alexandra Mueller: I think what I’m most proud of is making goals and sticking to them. I made a goal for myself this past July that I wanted to train for the 2024 Rocky Raccoon 100-Mile. So, I hired a coach and religiously stuck to every prescribed workout. In doing so, my overall athleticism has improved in every way. I completed 4 marathons this year, PRing and qualifying for both the 2024 Chicago Marathon and NYC Marathon. I started feeling like I could do anything I put my mind to, and this gave me the confidence to sign up for my biggest, most daunting races yet: my first Ironman 70.3 in Mt. Tremblant, Quebec next summer and The Montane Dragon’s Back Ultra in Wales next September.
Ultra Runner Caroline Himbert
What did you learn, or what was most surprising to you, during your training or competing over the past year?
Tara Warren: Running really does bring people together. It's such a wonderful, unique common bond that transcends language, culture, and backgrounds. It is the best sport ever.
Caroline Himbert: I learned that proper rest days and recovery following races are essential to avoid any injuries. I call it “embrace the recovery” (or rest). I also learned that my strong suit is consistency. I can maintain a consistent pace over a long period of time. For the next season, I am looking forward to increasing that consistent speed!
Skye Stoury: I ran my first ever race, which was so exciting and fun! I finished a couple of hours faster than I thought I would and want to do another in 2024.
Jesse Fuller: As important as my training goals & competition have been to me, community has been even more vital this year. I volunteered at more races than I competed in 2023, and I couldn’t have had a happier and more fulfilling year because of it!
Donovan Stewart: My most important lesson this past year is having grace for my athletic career. Life doesn't always align with what is planned but the opportunity to put one foot forward is more rewarding than the end destination. Some people don't have the opportunity to try and I'm grateful that I tried.
Gwen Rudy: After entering my summer racing season with an injury that needed surgery, I learned to let go! I think sometimes our dedication and hardheaded persistence as athletes are what make a great athlete but aren’t always necessary. Sometimes, even though they can be a bummer, injuries are just good reminders to take a step back and reevaluate.
Jade Belzberg, first female at the 2023 Black Canyon Ultra
Skye Stoury at the Elk Valley Ultra in Fernie, B.C.
What was your most-loved pair of Injinji socks?
Team Injinji relies on Injinji socks to keep them blister-free through training, racing, and recovering. They particularly love the Trail Series, Ultra Run Series, and Run Series. Let Team Injinji share why they’re head over heels for these socks!
Trail Midweight Mini-Crew
Cali Schweikhart: “They come in so many fun colors and are so soft and cushy!”
Bobby Le: “They got me through hundreds of miles of training, as well as the Mamba 100.”
Trevor Davenport: "They are just so versatile and perfect for so many activities!”
Zach Bates: “I like these because they are tall enough to keep sand from getting in and thick enough to give my feet a little extra cushion on the trails. Injinji socks have helped me maintain healthy feet during every training run and race.”
Cris Gutierrez: “I find myself reaching for the Spectrum socks most often for big workouts or races. The designs make for a fun little addition to the race day look. Whether it was reps on the track or a full marathon, my feet remain comfortable!”
Zach Bates at the Pass Mountain Trail Race.
Cali Schweikhart training on her local mountains in Colorado.
Trail Midweight Crew
Viktoria Brown: “I love them, and I go through several pairs in a long race.”
Gwen Rudy: "I can wear them running or in ski boots. It’s always nice when you can be prepared for any sport with minimal bag packing.”
Jesus Topete Jr.: “I really love the design and the colors on the Spectrum socks. They are so much fun!”
Ultra Run Mini-Crew
Skye Stoury: “I always wear these for backpacking. I wore the same three pairs for nine days straight in the Wind Rivers.”
Justin Nucum: “I felt the most comfortable in it during training and competitions. It was my go-to pair for trail races, road races, and Crossfit competitions.”
Alexandra Mueller: “I love these for all longer distance races. I appreciate the extra cushioning once the miles start racking up. They keep my feet feeling fresh and of course, my toes blister-free so I can keep performing at my best.”
Run Lightweight No-Show
Karin Bachrodt Reemts: “My favorite pair of Injinji socks is easily the Spectrum Run Lightweight No-Show in color ‘Sizzle’ (what I call my "spicy chicken" socks). I wear these all the time when I want to make conversation!!”
Jade Belzberg: “I love these as my everyday training sock!”
Lindsey LaVeck: “I had so many miles in these socks.”
Meghan Buchanan exploring one of the Seven Summits.
What’s on the horizon for 2024?
Justin Nucum: For 2024, I am looking to take on my first 50-miler race. I also plan on competing in more Crossfit competitions and hybrid-fitness competitions.
Trevor Davenport: I'm currently training for my charity race in February – the Hom100 – raising money in memory of my friend Tony Hom who passed away in 2013 from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Meghan Buchanan: Last Degree Ski to North Pole and aiming to be the fifth U.S. Woman to complete the Explorers Grand Slam! I'll also be releasing my book "GGRIT: Choose to Rise" while attending speaking engagements to share the tools of GGRIT and inspire neurodivergent youth to achieve the extraordinary. I don't just wear Injinji scaling mountains... I wear them socially, for work, and for Keynote talks!
Mike Wardian: The big project goal of 2024 is to go for the speed record—Fastest Known Time on the Appalachian Trail southbound starting in Maine and finishing in Georgia.
Lindsey LaVeck after running the Berlin Marathon.
Justin Nucum competing at a CrossFit competition.
Karin Bachrodt Reemts: I have my sights set on a trail race or two in Canada, a run retreat in Italy, and the Jupiter Sand Spur Ultra 50k – a 93% sugar sand trail race local to me (I had to defer in 2022 due to upcoming foot surgery!). Mostly, I'm hoping to continue to find a balance between my running and jiu-jitsu training!
Zach Bates: I have a big racing schedule planned for 2024. The race I’m most excited about is Cocodona 250. I’ve wanted to run that race from the minute I learned about it a couple of years ago. I’m feeling strong enough to tackle it this year because of all the training on mountains that I did in 2023 to get ready for Western States and UTMB.
Trish Arends: 2024… my return to running. That first day of even a short shuffle will be highly emotional, I’m sure. I cannot wait to be back going on mountain adventures with my husband and our pup. My Injinji socks are going to see a lot of terrain, that’s for sure! As far as races go… I’m still thinking about what race will be the first one. I look forward to cheering on my athletes and growing as a coach.
Lindsey LaVeck: I'll be running the Boston Marathon and London Marathon 2024 in the same week. London will be my fourth World Marathon Major. I'm also signed up for the Chicago Marathon 2024, which will check off my fifth Major!
Mike Wardian putting on fresh socks during the 2023 Hardrock 100.
Team Injinji’s achievements throughout 2023 have been nothing short of amazing, and we can't wait to see what they accomplish in 2024!