Dirtbag of the Week – Howard Cohen

  This week’s dirtbag highlight is Howard Cohen, better known as H’ard to some. He is a badass veteran of the sport and doesn’t shy down…



This week’s dirtbag highlight is Howard Cohen, better known as H’ard to some. He is a badass veteran of the sport and doesn’t shy down when it comes to pushing his limits. We are stoked to have him as our second Dirtbag of the Week.

hc at HR Grant swamp

1) What is your personal definition of what it means to be a dirtbag?

For me being a Dirtbag means being independent, self reliant and comfortable traveling places where comfort is optional but adventure and the wanderlust spirit is the driving force. It is seeking out the less obvious path and removing physical, mental and social limitations imposed by “normal people”.


2) What has been your greatest / most meaningful adventure to date?

I would have to say it was my 2008 – 2009 Hardrock Summer Vacations. When my boss told me my job was eliminated in 2008 all I could think about was that I could train for HR and commit to some adventures I wanted to complete until going back to work. My time in the San Juan Mountains camping in the back of my truck and hanging out with good friends are some of the best times I can remember. I learned so much from my fellow runners and about myself completing in the race the first year that the tractor beam of being a real Hardrocker (completing it in both directions) pulled me to the start and finish line in 2009 six hours faster. The camping on the way home from Colorado was filled with some amazing vistas and a self-reflection that are core to the Dirtbag lifestyle.

HC HR 2009

3) What is next on your racing schedule?

Bigfoot 200

4) Imagine your dream dirtbag RV or car. What would it look like?

For long adventures I use my Nissan Titan set up with a sliding carpeted bed that allows storage under the bed. Lots of storage on the sides of the bed and I have customized it with a cooking station on the tail gate. Lots of room in the cab for other gear and dirtbags for shuttles over 4×4 mountain passes.


5) What is your favorite piece of gear when you’re traveling on the road?

My Bialetti 3 cup espresso maker. Packs light, use it with my tiny backpacking stove. Fresh coffee is a morning ritual for me. The entire kit fits in an old tequila gift box.

HC Bialetti

6) What is your running footwear of choice?

Hoka Rapnui 2. On my 4th pair and bummed they are out of production but found some good close out deals.


7) What is the most dirtbag thing you have ever done?

I was a dirtbag before running. I used to collect reptiles in the desert and we used to poke around the desert driving the roads at night to find snakes. Slept in the trunk once but had nightmares of getting stuck in there by my friends practical jokes. Also remember setting up a hammock in the desert on a junkyard fence attached to my tailgate…. bad idea when it is windy and dusty. Then I moved on to rock climbing and got busted sleeping in my car in Yosemite Valley (kid of a rite of passage back then). However, running has been more civilized where I had a great solo adventure running trails in Mineral King in the western side of the Sierra in California. Slept and dined in my Toyota Forerunner off the road near the trailhead for a few days entertaining radiator-hose-hungry marmots.


8) What has been your favorite race location / course?

Coyote Four Play – this event got me hooked on ultras. 4 day running party in the Los Padres and Santa Monica Mountains with a 2 day prelude run of the Backbone Trail.  It made for a 200 mile week with dinner and entertainment each night with my fellow runners.  Nothing like it out there anymore….yet


9) What is your favorite thing to eat during a race?

Bill Kee’s famous burritos. You can find these burritos at some future Coyote Cohorts event, AC100 or Born To Run. Bill is a master chef and can be found in his horse trailer kitchen dishing out advice and calories. Only a fool or DNF hopeful would pass on Bill’s hospitality.

HC Bialetti

10)  And, most importantly, what is your favorite kind of beer?

Figueroa Mountain Brewery- Hurricane Deck


Also, check out his rad invention:

Howard's Ultimate Dirtbag Invention: Using a beer koozies on his handhelds to stuff things into!