UNLTD Quote Off Road Racer Shawn Runyon Header Recovered

Racer Profiles: Gritty Determination…Shawn Runyon’s Desert Dream Takes Flight at the Mint 400

At 58 years old, Shawn Runyon isn’t your typical off-road racer. This TrophyLite competitor from Hilliard, Ohio, isn’t fueled by youthful exuberance, but by a lifelong passion for the sport that finally roared into his life in the unforgiving desert.

Unlike many racers whose stories begin with family outings on dirt bikes, Runyon’s journey started with dog-eared off-road magazines, their pages filled with tales of Baja adventures. These magazines planted a seed in young Shawn, and a yearning for the thrill of desert racing that wouldn’t be silenced.

Family didn’t share his passion, but that didn’t deter Runyon. He saved his money, bought a dirt bike, and dove headfirst into the world of Hare Scrambles and Motocross. Idols like Dick Burleson, a legend who left young Shawn speechless with his sheer speed, fueled his competitive spirit. He raced bikes and quads locally, eventually graduating to the grueling GNCC series on an ATV. But the desert, the untamed frontier immortalized in those magazines, still beckoned.

The opportunity finally arrived when Runyon secured a co-driver seat for the 2020 Baja 1000. The catch? He had zero navigation experience. Determined not to let his team down, Runyon enrolled in a desert race-prep course led by the legendary Ron Stobaugh. This chance encounter proved pivotal. Stobaugh became Runyon’s mentor, guiding him through the intricacies of desert navigation and helping him transform his lifelong dream into a reality.

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Runyon isn’t one for pre-race hype. Unlike some racers who pump themselves up with playlists, he prefers quiet focus, visualizing how to keep his co-driver safe and contribute to the team’s success. His training regimen is a testament to his dedication – a balanced mix of aerobic and strength training, with a recent addition of reaction training to sharpen his reflexes.

When asked about his greatest achievement, Runyon humbly deflects. He doesn’t chase glory; he chases the satisfaction of competition. But his eyes light up when he talks about his team – Desert Race School and Dust Junkies Racing. These are the partners who helped him navigate the logistics, provided invaluable coaching, and most importantly, shared his passion for the sport.

Runyon’s goals are refreshingly straightforward. He wants to compete at the highest level, aiming for a championship or two before he “gets too old.” More importantly, he wants to be respected as a fierce competitor who never gives up. His plan? Relentless training, meticulous race craft study, and a thirst for knowledge from anyone willing to share.

The desert throws its worst punches, but Runyon finds his motivation in a simple philosophy: “as long as I’m moving or working on moving, I’m making up time on someone.” This level of determination was on full display at the Mint 400. Lining up at the starting line felt surreal – a childhood fantasy coming to life. The pressure was immense, with family and friends gathered to witness his moment.

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And what a moment it was! Runyon defied the odds, claiming a stunning victory in his class at the prestigious Mint 400. “Overwhelmed” doesn’t even begin to describe it. For someone who devoured those off-road magazines from his Midwestern home, winning at the Mint felt like an impossible dream.

This wasn’t a fluke, though. Runyon credits his mentors, Ron Stobaugh and Brian Hartman, for his success. But the real triumph lies in the journey itself – a testament to the power of unwavering passion and the incredible support system he built along the way.

Reflecting on his journey, Shawn Runyon is ready to tackle the California 300. He’s a racer with grit, determination, and a focus on self-improvement. If he could go back and tell his younger self one thing, it would be a simple piece of advice, a reminder (partly in jest) learned the hard way: “You can’t make that triple.”

This quote, a nod to a past racing mishap, reveals a racer who isn’t afraid to learn from his mistakes and push himself to be better. He’s determined to keep carving his name in the ruthless landscape of desert racing – all the way to the proverbial finish line.

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Want to follow along Shawn’s race efforts? Check him out on Instagram @livengood_racing and Facebook at LivenGood Racing.