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Mersey Ambassador Profile - Andrew McCain


Ultra Runner and Mersey Ambassador Andrew McCain #merseymoments

 

Mersey sat down with (or ran next to...) Ambassador and Ultra Runner, Andrew McCain recently. Andrew is running the Trans Rockies Ultra Marathon in August and Mersey will be there to join him on his journey through the mountains



 
 

Maybe we can start off with some background on you – where do you live, how did you get into endurance sports and what keeps you motivated?

I live in Hoover, AL. It’s not the adventure mecca that many Colorado towns, and even nearby Chattanooga are. But Alabama is its own little hidden gem for the outdoors. I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to find, and enjoy Alabama’s coolest places. Some of them include Little River Canyon, Dismals Canyon, Cheaha State Park, and even just Moss Rock Preserve.


I didn't get into running in any conventional way. I started smoking cigarettes when I was 15, and continued the awful habit for nearly a decade. After I finally managed to quit, I wanted to do something to heal my lungs. So naturally I turned to parkour. But I always had a love for the outdoors, so I resolved to do trail parkour. One day I went out to Moss Rock Preserve, and started jumping off rocks, and running around like a crazy person. After about 10 minutes of that I felt pretty dumb, so I stopped jumping around, but kept moving. And it just kind of turned into trail running. From there, running slowly progressed, and I kept adding distance. I still remember how impossible running even a half marathon sounded, but now I do that distance almost once, or twice a week.


Fitting in well with Mersey, alcohol is often a motivator for me. In some ways it’s like the antagonist to my running hobby. So there’s this push and pull between healthy hard work, and relaxing with a good whiskey. I think it’s important to have both in my life. Beyond that, my local running community is a huge motivator. And like many runners, sometimes I will sign up for a race just to have a goal, and a reason to keep going.


What inspired you to align yourself with a brand that promotes adventure and following one's spirit of exploration?


Ultra Runner and Mersey Whiskey Ambassador Andrew McCain #merseymoments

I’m personally at a very existential place in life right now. I’m organizing a lot of events, and working my way towards creating races under my own company, Rugged Souls Trail Runs. Mersey has been an inspiration for me in regard to that amongst other things. Simply watching you (Gavin) create, and promote this new brand has been very inspiring. Beyond that, I think it’s a super cool opportunity to partner with a local whiskey brand. Not only do I love whiskey, but I identify deeply with the demographic Mersey is pursuing, the adventurist.





Can you describe a specific moment or experience where you felt a strong connection between Mersey and the outdoor activities you enjoy? How did it deepen your appreciation for both?

My backyard is right next to a power line trail, and some unused land. Naturally I took it upon myself to build a network of trails. One day I was working on them, and I had my Mersey singlet on. After a full day of work, I cleaned up, and watched the sun go down with a couple glasses of Mersey. It’s a beautiful thing to relax, and reflect upon hard work with a glass of good whiskey.


What does "following your spirit of exploration" mean to you in the context of our whiskey brand?


Ultra Runner and Mersey Whiskey Ambassador Andrew McCain. Ironbowl50, iron bowl 50, #merseymoments

My whole life people have viewed me as fearless. But I’m one of the most afraid people I know. I got fed up with feeling afraid as a child, so I began cultivating courage. One of those fears is best described as imposter syndrome. So when I came across the Bootleggers page on the Mersey website I felt like I may not be good enough, or worthy of the ambassadorship. So I dug beneath my anxieties, into what is my spirit for adventure, and exploration. I typed up a quick resume, and clicked submit. Had I listened to the fear instead of my desire to have a fun, and fulfilling life, I wouldn’t be partnering with Mersey, and preparing myself for TransRockies. It is always worthwhile to take those leaps of faith, and to follow your spirit of exploration.




Can you share a personal story of a time when you followed your spirit of exploration and embarked on an adventure? How did this experience shape your perspective on life and align with the values of our whiskey brand?

Oh man, which one to pick… The scooter I drove through a hurricane, the time I swam with a snake, pacing a total stranger for 30 miles in the middle of the night, running from Fort Morgan to Florida on the sand, going to Romania by myself, snowboarding double-blacks in Colorado alone. I think all of these were sort of sourced from the same philosophy, that life is worth living, and each one has furthered that belief. If I understand the values of Mersey, and I think I do, all of these experiences finetuned me to align with those values. You’re planning to drive a truck loaded with whiskey you designed, to a 6 day stage race in Colorado, and share it with like-minded people… people who love enjoying life to the fullest, the outdoors, and good whiskey. And that’s really cool.


In what ways do you think Mersey can inspire individuals to embrace the adventure and exploration that the outdoor life offers?

I think one thing you’re already doing, and striving to do more of, is just to be present. Mersey is positioning itself as a bridge to the wonderful world of the outdoors. There are people who love whiskey, and will come to love Mersey. Through that they may find this bridge, and join this ever-growing community. Plus, for me, they simply go hand in hand. I work hard, I relax hard, and whiskey (more than any other spirit) just tastes like the outdoors.


What advice would you give to individuals who may feel hesitant or unsure about embracing their spirit of exploration?

It can be frightening, but it is so very rewarding. In many ways, facing our own anxiety is the human struggle. We do it (or don’t) every day. I organize, post, and hype a lot of things in the running community. Nearly every time I do there is a quiet whisper that says something like “nobody cares, this is dumb, it’s not worth even creating”. One thing I have learned in life is that it is worth it. While it can be scary to reach out, put yourself out there, and pursue your dreams, it is worth it. You just have to take the leap of faith. I think that applies to hesitancy with adventure. Obviously there are some legitimate safety concerns, but I’ve come to know some of the strongest people in the world, and witnessed just how capable even an unassuming person can be.


How can our whiskey brand enhance the whiskey-drinking experience by infusing elements of adventure and exploration?



There might be no better place to drink whiskey than by a fire. And there’s obviously no better place for a fire than outside. And no better reason to have that fire than because you’re on an adventure with the people you love.


How do you stay motivated and continue seeking new adventures and experiences in your own life? How do you translate this enthusiasm into inspiring others?

Recently someone told me that I inspire them. It caught me off guard at first. He’s a fellow runner, and he joined me on a run through all of Little River Canyon, about 28 miles. I didn’t really think about it, but he likely would have never done that if I had not organized it. So there are all these pieces to this response for me. I love creating things, pushing myself, new experiences, and community. It all goes together. Other people, and experiences inspire me, and apparently I inspire them as well. I guess that’s what community is.


Can you share with us a little on the TransRockies Ultra that you are preparing for – some history on the run, your plans for it and how your preparation is going?

TransRockies is honestly new territory for me. I’ve never participated in a race at that kind of elevation. And I’ve never done a stage race. Certainly not a 6-day, totalling at 120 miles. I’ve been trying to increase my VO2 max to help with the elevation. That’s mostly been through intense HIIT style cross-training. And I’ve been trying to maintain a high volume of running / time on my feet. I tend to set very aggressive training for myself knowing full-well I won’t be able to keep up with it. That’s mostly to push myself as hard as I can, but I am trying to focus more on recovery than I have in the past. I think that’s where I fail a lot. I’m also training my sleep schedule. I usually only get up at 5:30 once, and then not again for a while. During the event I will be getting up early every day. Fortunately we’re heading to a further west time-zone. Beyond that, there is a lot to consider with packing, and tent camping.



What is your favorite way to drink Mersey, including cocktails?

That’s an easy one. Either neat, or with 1-2 small ice cubes in a whiskey glass. For me, whiskey this good deserves the respect of showing itself off.










 

Stay tuned as we follow Andrew through the Trans Rockies Ultra Marathon this August!

Stay in touch and tag us to follow your adventures with #merseymoments


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