Every Thursday night, Jessica Hamel is in an industrial kitchen mixing ingredients, lugging around giant bags of sugar and containers of coconut oil. Three years ago, the 31-year-old ultra-distance trail runner from Boulder, Colo., decided to put her passion for cooking and baking into a business and created Frost’d, a natural coconut oil-based “snacking frosting.”
“Ultrarunning increased my sweet tooth, and I didn’t want to eat all the junk that was out there,” Hamel says.
Hamel claims she loves Nutella, but that it’s full of artificial ingredients and contains dairy, which she avoids. She started tinkering in her kitchen and came up with the formula for Frost’d.
The “snack frostings” (spread it on pancakes, dip fruit in it … or just eat it with a spoon) have a coconut-oil base, and are vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and GMO-free. Hamel jokes about how many ultrarunners have their own special diets and that her frosting is ultraunner-friendly. In fact, she’s amassed a following in the sport.
Frost’d sponsors runners Clare Gallagher, Hillary Allen, Cat Bradley and professional obstacle course racer Nicole Meracle with free product: 10-ounce jars of flavors Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Mexican Hot Chocolate and Honey Lavender Lemon.
Hamel began running during college at Northeastern University in Boston, and during a study abroad in South Africa.
At the time, she was sure she’d pursue a career in the fashion industry and move to New York City. She spectated the Boston Marathon and thought, “I could do this.”
She trained for the New York City Marathon, ran it in “around 4 hours,” and knew she wanted more. Then a move to Boulder and the adoption of her dog, Jack, inspired her to ditch the roads for the trails.
“Jack’s the primary reason I became a trail runner,” she says. “He’s my best running partner.”
The Kelty paced her during an attempted Fastest Known Time (FKT) on Southern Colorado’s 101-mile Rainbow Trail, running 26 miles. And Hamel says he’s run up to 30.
And though she’s tackled challenging events like Run Rabbit Run 100-miler, Never Summer 100K (where she placed third in 2015), the San Juan Solstice 50-miler and the Dead Horse 50-mile race, she’s not addicted to racing.
“I’m realizing I can go run 50 miles by myself and have an awesome time,” she says. Still, Hamel has her sights set on a future Hardrock 100, if she gets in.
“I really like to pace random strangers,” she says with a laugh, explaining how she’s been paired up with two different strangers at Hardrock, and has paced at Leadville, too. It’s more than just Frost’d that keeps Hamel busy though. She also juggles her own social media consulting company, and creates content for the Follow Your Passion Project—a collection of stories from fellow female entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, she’s coming out with two new frosting flavors: Coconut Tumeric and Rose Cardamom, and working toward single-packet servings. It all means Hamel sometimes runs less than she wants to. Still, she makes it happen.
“I know that it’s a necessary part of my routine,” she says. “It’s the only thing that really calms my brain down. I get my best ideas running.”