Well, I wasn’t able to get my brother on the phone tonight to wish him all the best of luck in the world for this grand undertaking of his tomorrow, so I thought maybe he might see this before he went off to bed early to rest up for the next……perhaps 24 hours.
I say Twenty-Four hours because that is the official cut-off time for the 100k he is will be running in Colorado in the morning.
Over the past 4+ years this blog has centered primarily around food, but, I have given myself leave to also write about running, and more specifically, my bother and his Ultra-Running life. I write about it because I am deeply interested in running and because I love my brother: perfect excuse to write about both!
Tomorrow Seán is doing something that people dream about when they go to bed at night – I’m not talking about all people, just a select crazy few who dream one day they might don a pair of running shoes and let those shoes carry them over all kinds of cruelly beautiful terrain to a finishing point perhaps 50 miles later. The stats on this race tomorrow break down like this:
- Start: Gould Community Center, Gould, CO.
- Distance: 64.2 Miles with 13,000ft of vertical gain and 13,000ft of descent.
- Max Elevation: 11,852′
- Min Elevation: 8,450′
- Average Elevation: 10,220′
- Terrain: Trail, dirt road, rough trail, high alpine, rocks.
- Fauna: Moose, elk, black bears, bighorn sheep.
- Mode of Transportation: Foot
- Date: Saturday July 25, 2015, 5:30am
- Cut Off: 24 Hours
These statistics might not mean anything to you but if you are a trail runner, these facts are daunting and downright scary! Running at an average elevation of 10,220′ tells me that you need to to be well-trained and prepared, as well have a good set of lungs to get you to the finish line.
Seán is no Super Hero but he does aspire! At this point he has run in enough of these races to know that he is in fact only human, and for the most part tomorrow will be a painful, albeit, truly wonderful experience in his life.
I have stopped asking why and am now the invisible hands on the small of his back pushing him up the tough bits.
I won’t be alone tomorrow rallying him onward. He will have his ever-faithful woman, Kristi (aka Hunny Bunny) and his friend Jay out on the trail meeting him at the designated Aid Stations, and his friends and family scattered all around the US and Ireland pushing him forward, as well as his son in London, who I’m sure, will be the most anxious of us all!
I will do my usual ritual and run a few miles “with him” tomorrow. I plan to start out at race time in the morning here in rural Pennsylvania, and run ten very easy miles. Part of Seán’s strength is that he is an excellent mental runner. He can get through almost any race if he stays strong in his head. My mental chat with him will be to tell him to run within himself and to stick with his plan. There is always a plan and sticking to it is hard when you are physically and emotionally challenged.
Watch your step here: The Ruby Jewel road is as rough, rocky and technical as most trails
I am writing this to cheer him on and by showing these great photographs try to give a sense of the place and the task at hand. I want to court as many people as I can to shout out Seán’s name tomorrow: he WILL hear you!
So Seán, this is a GOOD LUCK from all of us. We will be on the sidelines at every tough spot of the trail of the Never Summer 100k, and, whether you finish this race or not, we want you to have the time of your life; to enjoy every bend in the road, and the sound of the dirt, mud, gravel, rocks, grass, snow and flowers under your feet. You will not be running alone.