Summit High School graduate punches his ticket to the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships |

Summit High School graduate punches his ticket to the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships

Somer Kreisman/Courtesy photo
Liam Meirow competes in a trail race while representing Portland's Bowerman Track Club Elite. Meirow is a 2014 Summit High School graduate and recently sealed his spot on Team USA for the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships.
Somer Kreisman/Courtesy photo

Nine years after being crowned a state champion at the 2014 Colorado State Track and Field Championships, 2014 Summit High School graduate Liam Meirow has found himself on a whole new podium. 

Meirow recently competed at the USA Track and Field Mountain Running Championships where he was able to earn a spot to the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships that will take place in Austria next month. 

Prior to being a standout Colorado high school distance runner, a Division I collegiate athlete, a sub-4-minute mile runner and a burgeoning trail runner, Meirow grew up in Dillon playing the sports that are most popular for kids going through adolescence in Summit County. 

“I grew up as a kid who loved to do every single sport,” Meirow said. “With skateboarding and snowboarding as my top two. Those were my big priorities. I always wanted to be a professional skateboarder so I spent a lot of time at the skateparks in Frisco, Breck and Silverthrorne.”

In an attempt to fully pursue the action sport, Meirow competed in local competitions and in competitions across the state throughout elementary school and middle school. During the same time, he discovered his athletic ability in sports like soccer, football, wrestling, baseball and basketball.

Meirow also ran track, but was not a member of the distance team. He was a sprinter who was often one of the fastest kids on any sports team he was a part of.

After playing several sports throughout elementary and middle school, Meirow entered high school with his family in a precarious financial position. 

“We were not in a great spot financially as a family, and my dad told me if I wanted to go to college that I needed to find a way to get a scholarship,” Meirow said. 

Senior Liam Meirow runs ahead of the pack at the 2013 state cross-country championships in Colorado Springs. Meirow finished first in 16:27.1. With the win he became Summit High School’s first cross-country state champion.
Alan Versaw / | Summit Daily

Meirow’s father Drew encouraged his son to go out for cross-country and track as a freshman after showing his skill in the sport with wins in the PE mile and Frisco’s annual Turkey Trot. 

Meirow joined the cross-country and track teams at Summit High School and it wasn’t long before he fell in love with running. 

“I ended up being the fastest kid on the team as a freshman and quickly fell in love with the sport,” Meirow said. “So much so, that by the end of my freshman year that I pretty much gave up everything else. My freshman summer I decided I was going to dedicate the rest of my high school sports career to distance running and trying to get a scholarship.”

From that moment forward, Meirow became a true student of the sport. He logged as many miles as he could without getting injured and with the help of his high school coaches — Lyle Knudson, Kristy McClain and Heather Quarantillo — became a school record holder in multiple events and a two-time Class 4A state champion.

His senior year was perhaps the best of his high school running career. He won the Class 4A state title in cross-country and then finishing out his senior track season with a Class 4A state title in the 1,600-meter run.

Additionally, Meirow set three individual school records during his senior track season. He ran 1:53.78 in the 800-meter run, 9:40.89 in the 3,200-meter and a mind-boggling 4:15.88 in the 1,600-meter run. All three records stood the test of time up until Friday, May 5, when current Summit High School senior Dom Remeikis broke the 3,200-meter run record by running 9:33.73 at the Western Slope League meet in Grand Junction. 

Meirow attributes his progression from his freshman year of high school to his senior year to an extreme level of dedication.

“It required a whole new level of sacrifice that I think a lot of my peers — and frankly family— thought was unusual,” Meirow said. “I obsessed the sport, I was a student of the sport and I ran as much as I could without absolutely injuring myself.”

Liam Meirow/Courtesy photo
Liam Meirow runs through a forest during a trail race.
Liam Meirow/Courtesy photo

Much like many of Summit’s distance runners today, Meirow took pride in how he had to to train in Summit County. Unlike most high schools in Colorado, Meirow was never able to spike up for an off-pavement practice and logged many miles indoors because of the snow that stayed throughout the winter and early spring. 

“Summit County is an amazing place for the outdoors and getting fit,” Meirow said. “I did a lot of solo training and then we had all of the snow and had a pavement track. Those barriers in training are what made me more resilient and made me more hungry to get better.”

That high school dedication paid off, and he was able to secure a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma, where he ran all four years as a member of the university’s cross-country and track teams. Meirow continued to find success at the collegiate level — placing eighth in the 10,000-meter run at the 2018 Big 12 Conference Track and Field Championships — but really found his groove in the sport a few years after graduation. 

Following a six-month break from competitive racing — where Meirow focused on his new job at Nike and enjoying life after college — he came back around to the sport and joined the Portland, Oregon-based Bowerman Track Club Elite.

“I have been with them for five years,” Meirow said. “It is a bunch of post-collegiate guys and girls who run and work full-time. I found this crew that is more aligned with having the balance between life and running. I really found the groove of what it meant to train hard, but also live hard and live freely.”

Liam Meirow/Courtesy photo
Liam Meirow competes at the 2023 USA Track and Field Mountain Running Championships in Newbury, New Hampshire. Meirow placed fourth overall in the Up and Down race and was the third American.
Liam Meirow/Courtesy photo

Meirow said over his first year and half with the amateur club, he really enjoyed the feeling of stepping onto the track with a level of tenacity and purpose that was missing for him at the collegiate level. 

In many ways, for the first time since high school, Meirow was purely running for himself and not overly obsessing about the sport all the time. 

This newfound mindset ultimately carried him to breaking the illustrious 4-minute barrier in the mile and most recently led to a fourth-place finish in the Up and Down race at the USA Track and Field Mountain Running Championships in Newbury, New Hampshire, on Sunday, April 30.

Meirow was the third American to cross the finish line on a muddy, rainy and hilly course. It was enough for him to seal a spot on Team USA for the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck-Stubai, Austria.

Coming into the competition Meirow said his main goal was to qualify for the team, but to actually cross the finish line with a spot on Team USA was completely surreal and fulfilling. In many ways, the accomplishment is a full-circle moment for him. 

Meirow says he has always loved racing on trails since racing the Summit Trail Running Series in the summers during high school and was even set to go to the 2014 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships going into his freshman year of college.

“When I was a senior in high school I qualified for the junior team, but my college coach told me I couldn’t go,” Meirow said. “I always had this bit of remorse for not having the opportunity to compete for Team USA, but nine years later I qualified outright for the senior team. It is quite healing.”

With a fierce competitive drive, Meirow is heading to Austria wanting to put himself in the race in order to be as competitive as possible with the rest of the world. 

“I am definitely not going to say I am here,” Meirow said. “I want to compete. I will put myself in it. I don’t race conservatively. Whether I blow up or not, I will give myself a shot.”

Meirow is set to race at the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships from June 6-10.

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