Every Badass Runner’s Spirit Animal: the Skyscraper-Scaling Raccoon

By now everyone knows about that raccoon who scaled a 25-story skyscraper in St. Paul this week. Epic! Look at that cute, furry, lean mean climbing machine! Are you not inspired?

What’s that you say? Rabies-ridden trash panda?

Total badass, more like. Move over honey badger. This raccoon is now officially my role model for training. No, not because it’s my life goal to trend on Twitter, but that wasn’t the raccoon’s fault anyway. She was just doing what daredevil raccoons do best (apart from ripping apart trash cans in large groups and scaring you when their eyes glow from your headlamp on those early a.m. runs): inspiring greatness.

Still not convinced? Here’s why stuntcoon is going to help you take your running to new heights:

When the going gets tough, the tough get climbing.

The raccoon could have taken the easy way out; when she was discovered snoozing on a second-floor external ledge, building maintenance workers woke her and offered her a ladder to get down. Our girl’s response? F*** your ladder. That was just my warmup. She scurried horizontally to reach another side of the building, safely away from any ladder-wielding saviors, then continued her climb. Even when her mental demons apparently took over, driving her to a momentary lapse in motivation and a 4- or 5-floor descent, our mental-toughness queen regrouped and re-ascended.

I know, this is a running blog, and I promise I’m getting to the point. Ever been on a long, hot run, and suddenly there’s your equivalent of three dudes with a ladder? Your chance to take the easy way out? Maybe it’s a supermarket: so air-conditioned, so full of cold drinks, so close to public transportation home. Maybe someone you know drives past and offers you a ride. Or maybe you’re running a race when it’s 80 degrees and humid, and your brain offers you the equivalent of a ladder: Just walk. It doesn’t matter. Someone will eventually find you and take you back where you belong. Possibly in a cage. But whatever. Maybe there’ll be snacks. No! F*** that. Dig your claws into that concrete (!) and go!

Nap Power.

Climbing for 20 hours with no food? No problem. Climbing for 20 hours with no water? Also no problem. Climbing for 20 hours without taking a nap? Unthinkable.ย Our Fitness Role Model of 2018 knows that without sleep to help body and brain regenerate, we don’t have a chance of reaching our goals. So she napped for a few hours, conveniently sitting out the hottest part of the day before waking up and resuming her quest at 2 a.m.


According to a spokeswoman for the city of St. Paul’s Department of Safety and Inspections, our heroine was “a little skinny, but in good shape.” Um, pretty sure you mean “Whoa! Girlfriend is strong AF.” Yes, her endurance and mental game are on point, but her total body strength is insane. This raccoon has obviously been cross-training and strength-training like a boss. NOTED.


After a hard effort, you gotta feed the machine. When she finally reached the roof of the skyscraper, our inspiration for all things fitness immediately found and devoured the finish-line buffet (read: canned cat food and water). You know when you get home from a run and you’re starving, but also freezing and/or sweat-soaked and really need a hot shower? Ask yourself, What Would A Skyscraper-Scaling Raccoon Do (WWASSRD?) and then hit the kitchen.

Do you need a bracelet with WWASSRDย inscribed on it, too?

I'm a 43-year-old living in Berlin, Germany and currently training for the 2020 Berlin Marathon.

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