RICKEY GATES, 27, BOULDER, COLORADO
In June 2007, without the help of a coach or even a training watch, Gates won the USA Mountain Running Championship and then, a week later, the USA Trail Running Championship, beating the top American pros in the sport. He's also on his feet more than 40 hours a week as a fine-dining waiter and bartender at the Little Nell, in Aspen, and Frasca Food and Wine, in Boulder.
I'm glad I work a job where my priority is running, and I can do that first and go wait tables second. I run 40 to 70 miles a week, high intensity. It's the reason I enjoy runningthat I go fast out there. It's the closest I come to Zen. And then moving around on my feet for eight hours a day, it's training in a way, like doing a double workout. When it comes down to it, a 40-hour workweek leaves a whole lot of time to train. I have a pretty scaled-down life. Get rid of television and life becomes pretty simple. It's not a matter of making time; it's a way to live your life.