We caught up with Hive athlete and bee enthusiast, Laura Haefeli, to learn more about her passion for honey and running. Laura balances her time between running, coaching and managing a beekeeping business.
Where is home?
Del Norte, Colorado
What is your primary sport?
Trail running with some road and XC running. Prior to that, Summer Biathlon (running and rifle marksmanship).
What have been the greatest accomplishments in your running career?
Getting inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame last April, being the first US Woman to win an individual medal (bronze) at a World Mountain Running Championship, and leading the Women’s Team USA to Gold in Switzerland in 2007. I have won 17 National Championships, and am a 6x Mountain Runner of the Year.
How did you get into beekeeping?
I married into a family of beekeepers, who have been beekeeping in the San Luis Valley for nearly 100 years. When I met Tom Haefeli, he was flying airplanes for a living, but once we got married and started a family, we went back to the family beekeeping business. Tom’s great great grandfather was a beekeeper in Switzerland in the early 1900’s, then came over to the United States in 1907. Settling in Monte Vista, Colorado in the 1920’s starting the bee business here in the San Luis Valley. Fun fact: my mom had about four beehives as a kid while growing up in Southern Indiana!
In what ways are running and beekeeping related?
Well, runners and bees are always on the go! Very buzzy, if you will! We like the great outdoors, we are hard workers, we like our sweets, we like our sunshine, we don’t like the wind, we take time to “stop and smell the roses”, we take care of each other, and we love our honey!
What do you wish people knew about bees and why?
How important they are to our environment and to our survival. We need pollination! Without pollination we would have almost no fruits, vegetables, or nuts. They say, without bees, people would only exist for another 4-7 years!
Do you have a piece of advice that you have learned over the years and would like to pass on?
Embrace it, don’t fear it. You really have to do it for you, not anyone else. The glory can be good, and motivating, and driving – but in the end, trophies and medals and plaques are just things, and most people forget. But being a good person, every day, and being positive in the face is what people will remember.
What are your best fueling tips?
I have a Honey Stinger waffle or a pack of energy chews a half hour to an hour ahead of a run. After a run, I hydrate and have a protein bar or cracker bar for a quicker recovery. Honey is a simple carbohydrate and gives quick energy while digesting quickly in your system, so you don’t feel that heaviness in your stomach while training and/or competing.
What are your goals for the future?
I hope I can run into my nineties! When I compete, my goals now are to be the top Masters runner, or to win my age group. As I have gotten older, and have had little injuries come up, I am so thankful that I can get out and run. I really want to be able to help others through my running. Having coached for 16 years, I hope that I instill meaning into the workouts, and show that running is so much more than just trying to win.
Favorite Honey Stinger products and flavors?
Follow along with Laura’s adventures:
Facebook: Laura Schweitzer Haefeli