- May 27, 2019
For this Memorial Day edition of the Weekly Fourcast, we’re paying tribute to those in the Jaybird community and beyond who have served our country in the armed forces—like Ben Altenes. Ben is a photographer, ultrarunner and U.S. Army veteran who served with several different helicopter battalions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries around the world. Through the course of more than 15 years of military service, he found running as his favorite form of exercise, often running mountain trails and rolling hills in the places he was stationed.
Now back home in Salt Lake City, Utah, Ben continues to support the military by working at Hill Air Force Base and runs the countless trails of the Wasatch Mountains whenever he can—the best of both worlds for him.
Thank you to Ben and all of the other active and retired military out there for your service to our country!
How did life in the military set you up to become an athlete?
I think the military helped me continue being an athlete after my military service by training me to be the best at whatever I do. Everyone in the military has a specific responsibility or role. Therefore being an athlete in their specific job. As an ultra runner I found that planning and preparation still need to be in effect and certain marks/goals need to be accomplished to finish a run or race (a mission).
How did you manage to stay active and fit after the structured fitness of the military?
I ran a lot. If I was on a small compound in the Sangin Valley in Afghanistan, I would run circles around it or beat my feet on a treadmill. If I was fortunate enough to be deployed to a larger base or compound I would run laps up and down the airfield. I had a few posts where we had mountain terrain. I would venture and trailblaze my own routes in a war-torn land and discover remnants of post Russian/Iranian conflicts. It was a super wonderful experience to have the opportunities to enjoy a non-battle-like activity in some historic locations.
What other healthy habits (such as nutrition and mindfulness) have you utilized and how have they played an important role?
My healthy habits have always been to eat my vegetables and stay active. I enjoy rock climbing, cycling and hiking as second activities to running. They all challenge my body and mind to be more effective.
Ben’s Recommended Podcasts:
SOFLETE Die Living Podcast, 72: Elijah Sacra
Not just this particular podcast episode but all of the episodes SOFLETE has posted have a fantastic source of information regardless of your background and current abilities. They bring humor and real life examples into play while providing the listener with useful information. Overall they relate to an overall self-improvement goal.
International Departures with Shane 54, Episode 411
While being stationed in Germany for two years I fell in love with House & EDM style music. I have honestly never seen a happier group of people than those at an EDM festival. No hand goes without a high-five, no introduction goes without a hug and you never have to dance alone. You can chalk it up to drugs if you’re still stereotyping, but there’s a sense of community at EDM shows you can’t find anywhere else. It’s communication without words, and an experience that has no explanation. You’ve all come together because you’re united in your love for music and want to experience it with other like-minded individuals. So this podcast series simply takes to me to a happy place of memories from the past.
Joe Rogan Experience
I love how Joe Rogan interviews his guests while putting them at ease while digging down deep in to their story. David Goggins is probably the most motivational guy in my opinion and I definitely sync with his philosophy. We are capable of so much more than we think!
TED Talks Art, The Silent Drama of Photography, Sebastião Salgado
I feel that TED talks are like having a conversation with a stranger on a random train in the middle of nowhere. You’re stuck sitting next to them, but by simply being a listening ear you can take away a new perspective on a numerous amount of subjects and topics.
The Weekly Fourcast is a series of curated podcast recommendations from our athletes, ambassadors and employees. Every week, we’ll drop a new list of four shows and episodes that you need to hear, direct from the Jaybird crew—the perfect audio fuel for the week ahead.