Weekend Warm-Up: Wolfpack

When you hit rock bottom, they say you find your soul. For one man, hitting rock bottom was the catalyst to reuniting with his wife. Now together with their three children, they experience life through the art of running in the wild. One son even ran 50km when he was just 10 years old.

Silverton, Colorado is a trail runner’s paradise. Photo: Silverton Chamber of Commerce


Silverton, Colorado is a small village that forms part of the San Juan Skyway. It’s a recreation paradise born of the mining area. One of the most intact historical mining villages in the country, Silverton is a National Historic Landmark. Today less than 550 people call Silverton home. Of those, just 149 are separate families. Needless to say, Silverton is a sort of refuge between its residents and the rest of the world.

The region features alpine valleys, meadows, and the peaks of the San Juan range. Strewn throughout three national forests are a matrix of trails that vary in distance, ascent and terrain. You can run in any direction, but it won’t be flat.

Something needed to change

When Cody Braford-Lefebvre realized that he was making poor decisions because of alcohol abuse, he knew it wouldn’t be long before the love of his life could no longer cope. The couple’s therapist suggested they write their own obituary. Something needed to change.

One day, when Braford-Lefebvre’s wife Ivy tied her laces for a casual run to clear her head, Braford-Lefebvre decided to join her. Since then, the couple has run together as therapy. But their running has grown from healing into a lifestyle.

The silent meditative nature of running kilometre after kilometre, day after day, has been lifesaving for the family. Now they also run with their three children. What started as just a few kilometres is now often more than 150km, with the children happily joining the family sport. “[It] focuses a lot of our energy on being totally wild,” says Ivy.

Far from striving to achieve personal bests, the family spend their time chatting. In the wild, the conversation is natural. Discussing feelings is part of the running rhythm. “There’s a lot of space to self-reflect,” says Braford-Lefebvre. Winter in Silverton, he says, is especially pleasant.

The perseverance and discomfort have helped the parents stay sober. “My son ran 130 miles at 13 and my daughter ran 50km at the age of 11,” says Braford-Lefebvre.

He’s not showing off his offspring’s superiority on an imaginary running barometer, but rather is proud at the level of ease they show for the unusual family outings. They don’t even remember a time when they weren’t doing it.

When Braford-Lefebvre’s son says that he wants to be just like his dad, Braford-Lefebvre responds, “No, I want you to be better than me.”

Some would call them crazy. I would call them united.