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Ryan Recorded the 5th Fastest 100M Run in the United States, 2020

12/12/2020 | 100 Mile Track | 13:11:34 

Ryan traveled across country to Phoenix, AZ to race in this infamous 100M Ultra. He was able to earn 2nd place that day and 5th overall in the US for the year!





2nd place overall at the 100 mile distance, and a PR. Despite the lies which Strava have with the pacing, I averaged 7:55 a mile over the 100 miles (6.75 miles of walking). Temperature started at 44 degrees but climber up to 68 degrees by the height of the day. It was about 80% humidity in the AM, moving towards low 30% humidity as the day went on. Not too bad weather, but I certainly was not used to it being that warm.


To begin, what a great event amidst the COVID-19 pandemic! With all the precautions, I am surprised that things went as well as they did. Before coming into the race I knew that this effort was going to be a stretch, but the months of training which I put into this proved to be quite helpful. Still, nothing prepared me for the onslaught of the heat which I experienced in the middle part of the race. Especially since the core weeks of my training was in numerous layers in North Dakota. Note to self, take the salt pills before the race. Had to get a COVID-19 PCR test 7 days out from the event, and a negative rapid test within 24-48 hours of the event. After getting that done, we were good to go. The governor also placed a restriction on to how many people were able to attend a large gathering at once (50 people), so originally we had to have one support crew for every two racers. Luckily I was paired up with an awesome runner named Jordan, and he had Travis stay for the first 6 hour shift to support both crews. The raced started at 8AM and just like clock work we started hitting off our miles. Every 4 hours the direction we were heading on the track flopped.


A good pack of myself, Oliver, Zach, Ryan, and Chad started off at a solid pace. Around 2 hours in I picked up the pace a bit because it felt more comfortable. The splits were anywhere between 7:00's to 7:20's. I fueled up with water in the 15 minute marks, solid food (usually chips, PB&J's, potatoe, cheese quesadilla) on the 30 minute marks, GU on the 45 minute marks and gatorade on the 00 minute marks. This helped keep a consistent schedule and keep things aligned for the most part. As the day went in, I kept a solid pace, putting many laps on my competitors. From the start, we knew if I was in the lead there would be a chance that Travis would be able to stay since we would get 1.5 more people each time someone dropped out. 3 people dropped at 30ish miles in, and after a battle between Travis and the race director, he was back in. From 6:00 to 6:45 in the race I did not have Travis, and we think my fueling may have gotten messed up around then. Regardless, Travis continued with the fueling technique that was working. Bathroom breaks in this race were limited, but that is likely because of the 4.5 bananas I consumed throughout the day. Eventually around 66 miles, I stopped running and began walking. I think the mis fueling around hour 6 caught up to me. My quads and calves actually seized up and I fell to the turf. Travis and Erin (Jordans support crew) had to peel me off the ground and force me to keep going. After 6 miles of walking and excessive fueling (per the comments of the YouTube livestream) I tried running again.


At that point I moved down to 4th place in the 100 miler behind Oliver, Ryan, and Zach. I was not going to let a few bad miles dictate how the race went so I hopped back on my pace. Going around 7:30-7:45 really hurt my quads every step which I took so I had to go faster. Because of the speed I was doing these laps in (~6:40 pace), I took my chances of being able to run the full 24 hours away, but this pace was the only pace which felt right. Right away I passed Zach in the standings, and kept moving along. Ryan had ~10 laps on me around my 73 mile mark, and I knew I could catch him if I kept my pace up. I think I was putting 25-30 seconds on him each lap, and as the miles went on, I was cutting the laps in half. By mile 87 I had cut the margin down to 400 meters. However, Ryan was moving at a very decent pace again, so I was not able to catch him and be tied with him until mile 89.


At that point Travis said he could see how much he was struggling, and that fueled me to keep going. As the mid 90 miles went on, I was slowly putting laps on him. I wanted to stop and walk again, as the pace was getting to me, but Travis said to just slow down, and I will be fine. Thats what I did, and I kept going strong. All in all I hit 100 miles at 13 hours 11 minutes and 34 seconds. Travis told me to hit 404 laps (100 is 402.32 laps) just in case there was a computer error. He said I could walk it in, but I just wanted to be finished so in total, I ran 100.66 miles.


What I took away from this event: it was awesome being in a competitive ultra environment. Putting myself up against some of the best ultra runners in the country and the world was great, and to be competitive at too. The banana bathroom blockage technique will be a go to strategy in the future. Limit the number of GU's I had. I think I had anywhere between 17-25 of those things. Finally never give up. With that low point which I hit at mile 66, I was certain that I was going to have to walk it in for the last 30ish miles. I literally could not feel my quads. However, as I tell my athletes , it is important to not give up on yourself. While the circumstances within this scenario may be a little different, the principles can be applied the same. I hope that I have the opportunity to race some of these guys and gals again in the future. I will definitely be hitting the ultra distances again (hopefully more trails)! My watch was about 3 miles off 50 miles in, but only ended up being 4.1 miles off by the end. It was a bit weird to say the least, but all is good. Also, without HR being turned on, my watch had 64% remaining. Talk about clutch! Stay tuned for the next adventure!

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