Alek Simpson | Running Ultramarathons with Narcolepsy

Alek Simpson was diagnosed with narcolepsy and cataplexy at 18 years old and has continued running ultramarathons and trail races. He’s on a combination of drugs to keep him “normal”, never gets hungry, has extreme light sensitivity, and has experienced sleep paralysis…but none of this is changing his love and passion for the trails and racing.

Alek Simpson

In this interview, I ask Alek about the disorders and how they affect his personal and running life. We talk about where he grew up, his upcoming races, and we talk about everything from falling porcupines to a new route from San Diego to Mexico that I didn’t know existed.  Alek is very candid about this mysterious disorder and hopes to bring some attention and light to it.

Alek Simpson and Baz
Alek Simpson and Baz Hawley


Alek Simpson, his sister Katie Burns and her husband J.K. Lundberg at Dick Collins 100k in 2019.

Gear Review with Ben Zuehlsdorf

Nathan Pinnacle 4L Hydration Vest ($175 | Affiliate link.)  And the women’s version right here.
Ben says: “A vest I actually don’t mind wearing. Doesn’t heat me up or chafe. Would be great for Hardrock.”


Hoka ONE ONE Clifton 8 ($130)
Ben says: “Excellent update to an already great shoe you can wear on the road or firetrail.”


Hoka ONE ONE Zinal ($160)
Ben says: “Great go-fast trail shoe that you can wear from the doorstep to the trail.”

Hoka ONE ONE Zinal Women’s model


We also spoke about SOAR Running. Here’s more on the new company from Europe.


Episode Notes:

More on the Baja Divide Trail

More on Diane VanDeren

Follow Alek on Twitter.

Intro/Outro music used courtesy of David Rosales.

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