Last month, I wrote about my friend Peter Christie, who was about to undertake a 100-mile run, raising money to benefit Boston’s Epiphany School. Well I'm happy to report that Peter achieved his goal -- completing the run in under 30 hours and raising $4,500 as a bonus. Unbelievable! If you want to know what it's like to run 100 miles in the mountains, here is an abridged version of Peter's account, written in Peter's classic understated style. (Nice photo Pete ... love the Billy Idol face)
The race started with almost ideal conditions: mid 40s temperatures under a clear starry sky. The first check point was 13.5 miles in and it took me about 2 hours 25 minutes.
I kept an easy pace thru the 40 mile mark and felt comfortable as the sun came out. This check point was critical as the trail went from 9,000 to 12,600 feet in just 3 miles.
The climb up to Hope Pass was grueling. I had a hard time gauging my effort and keeping my heart rate at a threshold level. It was slow moving, and I knew that I was losing valuable time.
I was only 45 minutes ahead of the cutoff at the next checkpoint. At Leadville, runners have 30 hours to get to the end, but they also must reach checkpoints within certain time limits. If you fall behind these times, race officials will pull you from the course and your race is over. This adds an enormous mental burden to the race, and you constantly start to ask, "Am I running fast enough?"
Mile 50 gave me a boost as I met my pacer Jon. Jon helped me go right back up the same mountain I had just come down from. Our pace was much quicker than my solo effort despite tired legs.
I had not eaten much thru these first 60 miles. I had stayed hydrated and was taking in calories with energy gels, but I knew I was undernourished. My stomach was starting to really feel bad which, in turn, caused me to eat even less and so began the downward spiral.
Running slowly morphed into power walking as I picked up my next pacer, Drew, and got ready for the final big climb of the day at Powerline. Drew stayed incredibly positive and encouraged me to push up that mountain. I was filled with relief when we reached mile 85 and started heading back down.
The sun was starting to come up and this gave me a bit of a lift as I pulled into the last aid station. It all came down to this: I had 3 hours and 55 minutes to go 13.5 miles. I knew it was going to be close.
Drew and I worked hard over the final section. That next hour of running was the hardest effort of my life. I dug deeper than I thought possible, and when I emerged from the forest with 4 miles to go, I had about 2 hours to get to the line. Only then did I start to think I was going to make it.
I cruised comfortably toward the finish and was greeted with a hug from a volunteer who said four words I will never forget, "welcome back to Leadville." What a feeling to finally finish and get some sleep!
It took me 29 hours and 34 minute to finish the Leadville 100 Trail Run. The mountains, the altitude, and the overall distance make this a pretty tough event. I owe so much to my crew, Chris and Matt, as well as my pacers, Jon and Drew. Without the help of those four people, I could not have completed the run. Thanks guys!