Episode 14: Brendan Leonard — “If you’re gonna suffer, get in there…”

Brendan Leonard has this incredible knack for making you feel like you could do just about anything you set your mind to, while simultaneously filling you with existential dread that you’ll never realize your full potential. How can that be? Because fulfilling potential, doing incredible things, all of it — it’s hard as shit. And he’s the most distilled reflection of gritty, gumption-seeping grinding I can conjure.

Brendan’s made a career out of setting his jaw and getting down to the work, week after week, year after year. In 2011, struggling to build a steady adventure writing career, he launched Semi-Rad.com, a celebration of outdoor life — by, for, and about the average athlete and adventurer. All these years later, never missing a week without at least one entirely free and generally great essay, Semi-Rad retains a loyal fanbase. Brendan leveraged this success into a number of writing gigs, from Contributing Editor at Climbing Magazine to his first memoir to award winning filmmaker. He’s currently a Contributing Editor at the Adventure Journal and columnist for Outside Magazine. He’s written eight books with a ninth on the way. He’s only 40-years-old, for god’s sake…

After witnessing and aiding in a rescue on Castleton Tower, Brendan took a break from climbing and decided, you know, to start ultrarunning. As one does. His most recent film, “How To Run 100 Miles,” solidified his directorial chops with millions of views on YouTube and a Staff Pick selection on Vimeo. Just so you understand: He’s writing full-time (books, essays, articles), directing short films, regularly logging 26-mile days, teaching writing workshops, and probably a dozen other things he’s secretly fomenting in the raging creative torrent that serves as his brain.

Sit down, pour a cup of coffee, and enjoy listening to one of the finest storytellers working today. And keep a pen and paper handy. Not only does Brendan offer some insight into making one’s way as a creative in the outdoor industry, but he also drops a couple bushels of movie, podcast, book, and music recommendations along the way.

Want to write for Thundercling? Have a recommendation, comment, or criticism? Shoot us an email at thunderclingpodcast@gmail.com. We read and respond to every email. AND REMEMBER THE TEE SHIRT CONTEST!

As always, thanks to Ryne Doughty for the sound nuggets in our brain parts!


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