WRW leaders


Lou O’Brien

Originally from Ireland, I came to Canada in 2012 very much a non-runner - I hadn’t run a step other than for the bus! Surrounded by amazing Whistler athletes, I was inspired to give running a go and have never looked back! In 2013 I attempted my first trail race and my world changed forever! Six years on, I am now a personal trainer, ultra runner, off-road triathlete and co-leader/owner of We Run Whistler (WRW).

I attempted my first ultra distance last year in Utah, and I think it’s fair to say that I have now fallen deep-down the trail-running rabbit hole! This year I will be tackling my longest distance to date, the Squamish 50 miler.

In 2017, myself and Kristian started We Run Whistler, a weekly trail running group aimed at both introducing runners to the joys of trail running, and improving peoples fitness and performance on the trails. WRW has been a driving force in the growth of the Whistler running community and I couldn’t be prouder of how much is has helped people to get involved in trail running and step outside of their comfort zones! As of 2019 myself and Kristian are beyond stoked to be named as “lululemon Whistler run ambassadors”. It’s means the world to us both to be supported by such a community-forward company who truly cares about WRW and our members.

When you join us on the trails you’ll usually hear me discussing why we run, how to embrace the “suck” on tougher runs, and that every uphill has a downhill. Running is as much mental as it is physical, I truly believe a positive attitude is just as important in getting you to the top of that climb trail as your fitness level.

Join Kristian and I on the trails every, Tuesday, rain or shine, year-round, so we can hear your running story, ‘cause we all have one!

On my race calendar this year:
- Survival of the Fittest, 35k, Squamish, BC
- Puddle Jumper Classic, 50k, Sunshine Coast, BC
- Squamish50, 50 mile, Squamish, BC
- Oregon Coast, 50k, Yachats, Oregon
- Squamish Off-Road Triathlon, Squamish, BC

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Kristian Manietta

I first ventured to Whistler from Australia in 94 and spent each winter from then through to 2002 in Canada as a snowboarder. In 2003 my wife and I found triathlon and ‘fell’ into Ironman and embracing the longer races. In 2006, I started a triathlon coaching business (TriSpecific) and have raced everything from sprint distances to Ironman, qualifying for Kona (the Hawaiian Ironman) twice with two sub 9 finishes.

In 2014 we came back to Whistler on a year adventure with our then 3 year son and haven’t looked back. It was here I fell in love with the trails and they have become my place of spiritual nourishment.

In 2017 I signed up for my first 50k and in the same week I signed up for my first hundred miler in the mountains no less. I love training for and racing these long, tough races. I find that it allows me to develop mental fortitude to embrace and deal with the challenges of life. To continuously seek my potential within the confines of current life circumstances. 

Also in 2017 as Lou and I saw various run groups come and go we wanted to create a continuous year long running group and place with a sense of belonging, a place for the trail run community to gather. To meet new friends, to run, to go on adventures, to learn and to give back.

And we created We Run Whistler to be that place. That consistent place of belonging. No matter if you are here for a short time or a long time. We just ask that you show up and do your best.

I love playing a big part in the Whistler community and getting folks inspired and stoked at the feeling they get when they expand their comfort zones. I run (and bike and ski and…) because it’s therapy, because it gives me the fitness to go into incredible places that allow me to gawk at mother nature with wonder and awe.

I find running makes me a better person and hopefully I infect others to be more positive and become better too through this awesome community. Running gives me clarity, especially in the alpine or on the trails, and again I love to see where I can go, and where the journey leads. Creating a LIFE well lived by pressing play. 

So come running with us. Come press PLAY.

This year I have a few ‘little’ races on the calendar.
- Beaverhead 100k Trail Run (Montana/Idaho)
- Squamish 50k
- WAM 175 (Whistler)


Jim Budge

In the early 80’s, when I moved to Whistler, the only time I ran was at the annual Terry Fox Run. My first race was Comfortably Numb in 2006, and the only reason I didn’t finish dead last was because another competitor broke his ankle and hopped the last 10K. In spite of that inauspicious start, I was hooked on trail running and since then have participated in dozens of races, run clubs and clinics, as a runner, volunteer, and photographer.

As new biking/running trails were being built around Whistler, local races, run clubs and clinics sprang up. Runners were looking for a one-stop hub to find information, so in 2012 I started the Whistler Runners Bulletin Board Facebook page, which is still going strong.

It's exciting to see We Run Whistler growing into the most popular and well organized run club in Whistler’s history. One of the best things about group runs is chatting with runners and learning about their backgrounds, goals and challenges. After 35 years of shooting and editing action videos in Whistler, by force of habit I usually carry a camera when running, so smile and act crazy when you see me!