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Fun Runs Races

4 ON THE 4TH SUMMER FUN RUN

Let’s celebrate our Independence 🇺🇸 to govern our country… to run… to celebrate LIFE! 🙌🍻

This 4th of July, we are partnering with Saucony and Michelob to make your summer even better with some sweet prizes.

How It Works:

  1. Sign up for this event
  2. Run 4 miles on the 4th of July
  3. That’s it! You are then entered to win the following prizes to increase your summer vibes. No need to upload results.

SIGN UP NOW

The Prizes:

GRAND PRIZE:

FULL head-to-toe kit, provided. by Saucony (includes the new Endorphin Speed 2, apparel, and more) + a FitBit provided by Michelob Ultra

2nd Prize

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 + a Michelob prize kit, including a cooler, Brumate slim can coolie, running socks and a performance hat

3rd Prize

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 + a Michelob prize kit, including a cooler, Brumate slim can coolie, running socks and a performance hat

MORE!

We are giving away 7 other prize packs, which include Michelob and Saucony merch and $15 in Jackrabbit Run Rewards

*prize winners will all be picked at random from the list of everyone who sign up — Once we pick the winners we will ask for a screenshot to be sent to us to show proof of running/walking on July 4.

**winners will be contacted via email and can expect prize shipment no later than July 31st.

Now lace up & show your American Pride on the 4th + be sure to post, using the hashtag #4onthe4th for your chance to be showcased on Jackrabbit’s Instagram during the event

SIGN UP NOW

DISCLOSURE:
ULTRA BEER RUN GIVEAWAY.  No Purchase Necessary.  Open to US and DC residents (excluding AL, CA and TX residents) who are participants of the “My Cooler Rewards Program” who are 21+.  See Program Terms and Conditions at Mycooler.com/beerrunrules for prizes and details.  Message and data rates may apply. Void where prohibited.  Prize is a $5 virtual card that can be used to purchase one (1) Michelob ULTRA.

Categories
Races Running Gear

FAVORITE TRAINING SHOES OF TOP U.S. TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES

The U.S. Olympic Trials for Track and Field are being held at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon from June 18-27. The top three finishers in each event will earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Tokyo in July. 

Here are some of the top contenders along with some of their favorite training shoes that you can find at JackRabbit.com. (Here is the meet schedule and TV schedule of the U.S. Olympic Trials.)

Paul Chelimo, 29

Colorado Springs, Colo.
5,000m
Nike / U.S. Army

Born in the distance-running mecca of Iten, Kenya, Paul Chelimo ran collegiately in the U.S. (Shorter College/North Carolina at Greensboro) and then found his path to citizenship by joining the U.S. Army through the Military accessions vital to national interest (MAVNI) program as a water treatment specialist, then entering the World Class Athletic Program in 2014. He won the 5,000m a the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and then went on to earn a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38, $119.95

The best-selling running shoe model of all-time, the Air Zoom Pegasus 38 retains the familiar vibe of being a versatile, workhorse with a good balance of cushioning and performance for a wide range of runners. Versatility has always been one of the best aspects of the Pegasus, both in terms of its range of performance and the range of runners who will enjoy it. New runners will likely love it for the comfort, fit and ability to handle any kind of workout, while more experienced runner will appreciate its energetic performance ideal for tempo runs and progression runs.

Emma Coburn, 30

Boulder, CO
3,000-meter steeplechase
New Balance / Team Boss

One of the most accomplished track and field athletes in U.S. history, Emma Coburn won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2017 World Championships in London. With 28 wooden barriers and seven water jumps over 1.8 miles, it’s one of the most dynamic and challenging races on the track.

She also won a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics and finished second in the 2019 World Championships in Doha. Emma and her husband/coach Joe Bosshard were high school sweethearts in Crested Butte, Colo., where she often trains with her Team Boss teammates.

New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel v2, $129.99

Women's New Balance Fuelcell Rebel v2

The FuelCell Rebel v2 is a lightweight, nimble and responsive, neutral-oriented everyday training shoe. It’s a versatile shoe with built on a super-critical nitrogen-infused FuelCell midsole foam platform with enough cushioning and bounciness to make it amenable to both running longer or faster in training or road racing.

SHOP NEW BALANCE FUELCELL REBEL V2

Sara Hall, 37

Flagstaff, Ariz.
10,000m
ASICS 

Sara Hall is no stranger to the U.S. Olympic Trials. In fact, when she lines up for the 10,000m on June 26, it will be the seventh time she’s toed the line at an Olympic Trials event dating back to her first in 2004. She raced on the track a lot early in her career, but has since become one of the fastest marathoners in American history with a 2:20:32 PR. She’s the mother of four Ethiopian girls she and husband, Ryan, adopted in 2015.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23, $119.95

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 23 Review

One of the classic legacy shoes in the ASICS line, the GEL-Cumulus 23 is a neutral everyday trainer with sufficient cushioning, a comfortable ride and a versatile, do-everything vibe. It’s been updated slightly from the previous edition, with a slightly softer feel and a more forgiving ride. It’s an ideal shoe for slow moderate training paces, but it’s versatile enough to handle faster paces for shorter distances, though not quite peppy enough for speed workouts or racing.

SHOP ASICS GEL-CUMULUS 23

Marielle Hall, 29

Portland, Ore.
10,000m
Nike / Nike Bowerman Track Club

Although she was a late bloomer at the University of Texas, Marielle Hall found immediate success as a professional, competing for the U.S. at the 2015 World Championships in the 5,000m, the 2016 Olympics in the 10,000m and the 2019 World Cross Country Championships. Known for her sense of humor, infectious laughter and smooth running stride, she became the sixth-fastest American woman of all-time in the 10,000m (31:05) as she placed seventh at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Nike Vaporfly Next%, $249.95

Vaporfly

Considered the fastest long-distance racing shoe in the world, the featherweight Nike Vaporfly Next% has a carbon-fiber propulsion plate embedded in its midsole and copious amounts of energetic ZoomX foam cushioning. Runners training for half marathons and marathons will love this shoe for faster long runs, races and some longer tempo efforts.

SHOP NIKE VAPORFLY NEXT %

Taylor Werner, 23

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
5,000m
Puma 

The 2017 Pan Am Games junior gold medalist at 3,000m, Taylor Werner spent her college years running for the University of Arkansas, where she helped the Razorbacks win the 2019 NCAA Cross Country Championships. In December of 2019, she produced a career best of 15:11.19 to win an indoor 5,000-meter race in Boston and caught the attention of Puma, which was about to start a new training group in North Carolina coached by Alistair Cragg and Amy Cragg. Werner jumped at the chance to turn pro and improve her training before the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Puma Deviate Nitro, $159.95

PUMA Deviate Nitro - Women's

The Deviate Nitro is lightweight, energetic modern neutral training shoe that offers maximal cushioning and a lively and forgiving sensation. It serves up a good blend of softness and energetic pop with a smooth ride and a secure fit and chock full of long-haul comfort. It’s ideal for training at slow, moderate and slightly faster paces.

SHOP PUMA DEVIATE NITRO

Zach Panning, 26

Rochester, Mich.
10,000m
Brooks / Hansons-Brooks Distance Project

Zach Panning is a great example of a small-school runner who’s continued to make progress and get the chance to perform on the biggest stage. A former Grand Valley State star, he won NCAA Division II titles in the 5,000m and 10,000m while helping the Lakers earn the 2018 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships. He finished 11th in the 10,000m (28:05), just 11 seconds out of an Olympic-qualifying position.

Brooks Launch 8, $99.95

The Launch is a lightweight, neutral-oriented cushioned trainer that can either be a fast-workout speed shoe or an everyday trainer for all of your running needs. With a clean, sleek design and exceptional cushioning, it serves up an ideal mix of comfort, energy, versatility and consistency at a very affordable price.

Grayson Murphy, 25

Bozeman, Mont.
3,000m steeplechase
Saucony

As much as Grayson Murphy loves track and field, she also loves running trails. Although she was a five-time collegiate All-American runner at Santa Clara and the University of Utah, she grew up trail running near Salt Lake City and now loves to run the trails in and around Bozeman, Mont.

When she’s not jumping over barriers and water pits in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, she’s often leaping over streams and logs while training as a professional trail runner. In 2019, she won the World Mountain Running Championships, a grueling 14-kilometer race in the Patagonia region of Argentina.

Saucony Peregrine 11, $119.95

Saucony Peregrine 11 - Women's

The Peregrine 11 is a versatile, neutral-oriented trail running shoe that has the comfort and smoothness of a road running shoe with a low-to-the-ground feel and a nice blend of cushioning, traction and protection. It’s a classic, do-everything off-road runner, ideal for smooth, rolling dirt paths, moderately technical routes with some rocks, roots, gravel and other obstacles, as well as sloppy trails with a lot of mud and moisture.

SHOP SAUCONY PEREGRINE 11

Joe Klecker, 24

Boulder, Colo.
5,000m/10,000m
On Running / On Athletics Club

A first-year pro, Joe Klecker extended his family’s running legacy by placing third in the 10,000m on June 18. His mom, Janis Klecker, won the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon and went on to place 21st in the marathon at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Joe was a record-setting running in high school in Minnesota before becoming an All-American at the University of Colorado. He’s also one of the country’s top 5,000m runners (13:06) and will have a chance to make the U.S. team in that event beginning on June 24.

On Cloudswift 2.0, $149.99

On Cloudswift Review

The second edition of the Cloudswift 2.0 is a lightweight, low-profile neutral trainer with a cushy, energetic vibe. It features On’s clean design aesthetics and an updated version of its CloudTec midsole cushioning technology, which offers a blend of reliable shock absorption, protection, durability and a lively feel. It’s light and agile enough to handle a variety of workouts, but cushioned enough to be durable and comfortable for long runs.

SHOP ON CLOUDSWIFT 2.0

Kellyn Taylor, 34

Flagstaff, Ariz.
5,000m/10,000m
HOKA One One / Northern Arizona Elite

Training with the Northern Arizona Elite team in Flagstaff, Ariz., Kellyn Taylor has become one of the most versatile runners in America. She’s run a 2:24:28 marathon (making her the seventh-fastest American in history) and is competing in the, 5,000m and 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She’s also a mom to her young daughter, Kylyn, and is training to be a professional firefighter when her professional running career is over.

Hoka One One Clifton 8, $129.95

Womens HOKA Clifton 8 Review

The Clifton is a light, cushy and comfortable maximally cushioned everyday training shoe that’s light and soft enough to run fast, but cushy enough to run slower over any distance. It features the HOKA’s early stage Meta-Rocker profile design that produces a rolling sensation in every stride that both reduces the ground force impact and eases the foot’s transition to the toe-off phase.

SHOP HOKA CLIFTON 8

Josette Norris, 25

Charlottesville, Va.
5,000m
Reebok / Reebok Boston Track Club

Josette Norris turned pro in 2019 shortly after graduating from Georgetown University, when she signed a contract with the Reebok Boston Track Club that trains in Charlottesville, Virginia, under the guidance of coach Chris Fox. So far, it’s been recipe for success for Norris, who lowered her PR in the 5,000m to 14:51.42 — a time that ranks third in the U.S. so far this year and puts her among the top 10 fastest in U.S. history. Last October, Norris got engaged to Robby Andrews, a 2016 Olympian and fellow pro runner who proposed on the boardwalk along the Georgetown Waterfront.

Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0, $99.95

Women's Reebok Floatride Energy 3

The Floatride 3.0 is an affordable, lightweight, comfortable and versatile everyday trainer built for runners with a neutral gait pattern. It’s light and springy enough to run moderately fast, cushy enough to run long and durable enough to hold up for an entire summer of running. New and novice runners will love this shoe for its relative simplicity and versatility at such a budget-friendly price.

SHOP REEBOK FLOATRIDE ENERGY 3.0

Nikki Hiltz, 26

Los Angeles
1,500m
Adidas / Mission Track Club

Nikki Hiltz is an openly gay elite middle-distance runner who came out as transgender and non-binary on International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2021. Hiltz won the gold medal in the 1,500m at the Pan Am Games in Peru in 2018 and the following year placed third at the U.S. championships in the 1,500m. Hiltz organizes Virtual Pride 5k races and donates proceeds to Trevor Project a non-profit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

Adidas Ultraboost 21, $179.95

Ultraboost 21 Womens

 

The Adidas Ultraboost is a maximally cushioned training shoe built on a thick, lively platform of extremely resilient Boost midsole cushioning that provides long-haul comfort and consistent flow in every mile. With 6 percent more Boost foam in the midsole than the previous edition, it serves up a springy ride that returns considerable energy in every stride. It features an updated torsion system and rocker geometry that enhances forefoot stiffness by 15% for an even more responsive run.

SHOP ADIDAS ULTRABOOST 21

Categories
Races

BRAZOS BEND 50 MILER RACE RECAP

JackRabbit Marketing Guru, Laura Cortez took on the Brazos Bend 50 Miler this past weekend in Houston, TX. Check out her full race recap below.

50 miles by foot takes a long time. Doing it for your first time is also equally one of the longest and fastest experiences you’ll ever have. It’s kind of like those things where you’re so in-the-moment and rolling with punches because you don’t think it’s ever going to end, but then you blink and suddenly it’s all over and all that prep work you did to lead up to this moment has ended. This is how my first 50-mile race went, for the most part. 

On April 3 I participated in the Brazos Bend 50 down in Houston, TX to race the 50-miler. Due to COVID, instead of it being at a state park, the race took place at a horse ranch and consisted of 3 loops: Red (4.8mi)x2, Orange (7.3mi)x3 and Yellow (6.1mi)x3 – all filled with more sand than you’d hope. 

We started with the 100K racers at a dark 6 am start line. It was great, to one – be on a starting line again, and two – for us all to have done so much work to be ready and then to immediately head off in the wrong direction. It was clear that a lot of us we’re either not physically or mentally present during the pre-race brief literally 15-minutes prior to the start.

The race then continued just as anyone would have thought it to – in the dark, unable to really see the markings and just a group of 95 people with headlamps occasionally yelling “found it!” or “wrong way!” until the first loop was completed about an hour later. 

Community was formed from the start with how laughably poor we had paid any mind to directions. I found myself for the first few laps with the lead pack consisting of A.J., Josh and Garrett. We thankfully had plenty of time for introductions after realizing the sand would keep all of us from having any record-shattering performances. Even more – we all got along very well and were content with just figuring out the loops together for at least the first set.

With the first 18ish miles done, we were on our way to the second red loop. “Our” meaning mine and Josh’s, who I ended up running the rest of the race with. He stopped to grab some extra nutrition and I kept jogging, soon to find out in the wrong direction – again. Back on course, we decided it was time to be a bit more smart with everything. Walk when the sand is too deep and wastes energy, find the best sides to run on now so later it’s not even a decision, pay attention to what’s at the aid station tables. I felt really lucky to have had Josh with me – given that not only was he great at conversation, but he also had experience running 50 milers already.

After the last red lap at mile 22ish, we started on another Orange, which we had agreed was the best lap with the ‘least’ amount of sand. After starting with a vest, I had switched to a handheld while my pacer Julian – who couldn’t start until about halfway – refilled my soft flasks. Josh and I continued to flow easily through the miles just chatting about everything under the sun. It wasn’t until we were coming into the second Yellow lap and we had reached the halfway point and I started to question everything.

At roughly 50K, Julian was able to come in to pace, pass off my vest in exchange for the handheld and just be a refreshed and lively body to help Josh and I get out of the slump we were in. Simultaneously, this is where I also started to fall apart. After a hard fall at mile 32 and suddenly thankful for the bounty of sand to fall into, my hamstrings and IT bands started to suggest we stop. Everything was tight, my knee felt like it needed to pop and a full stride extension felt like it would rip my hamstrings apart. I wanted to cry but could only heave and then realized, oh wow my body is too tired to cry. That was a first. 

I was giving it my absolute all to stay with Josh but Julian was able to tell that wasn’t going to be smart and subtly helped me let Josh go. At the next aid station I decided it was time to eat everything. Half a PB&J, bag of potato chips, cups of blue gatorade, ginger ale and flat coke – it was the most euphoric moment I had ever experienced and suddenly I was whole. 

By mile 40, the gang was back together as in, we caught back up with Josh – which is a generous statement since it was more us yo-yoing back and forth with him. The jokes had largely stopped and the only thing we knew was we were almost done but still weren’t totally convinced. We were sitting in 3rd and 4th up until this point and we had fully mastered the fast shuffle. I continued to stop at every aid station to grab a PB&J and a flat coke, while Josh would let me know he was going to continue ‘meandering’ ahead but would wait for me to catch up.

It wasn’t until we finished the last Orange loop and were on the final Yellow that Josh more or less started racing me. Julian did his best to keep me going and for the first time in a couple hours, we went more than 2 miles without walking. My hamstrings felt like they were going to snap if I even tried to lengthen my stride by a centimeter, my right knee had lost most range of motion, my lower back was just continuing to spazz. I had never been in a position where the mindset was just to finish and to block out everything else around me and follow Julian’s steps. 

With about a mile to go, Josh had fully dropped me on a hill. I had never been more fine with being dropped in my life. The final stretch to the finish was about 200-meters long and lined with people sitting under their canopies or in their chairs clapping and cheering endlessly as all of the runners came through – no one really knowing who was in what race, but still very intimately part of every runner’s experience. 

I crossed the finish line in 7 hours, 36 minutes and 2 seconds, able to feel every millisecond of time we were out there. Shortly after I came through, our good pal Garrett made his way to the finishline too. We cheered for him and he cheered for us and A.J. who dropped us early on and never looked back, came over too to say hi and to digest what we all just went through. 

I don’t think I can stress enough the unique experience it was to not only share so much time – but also to have banded together at the start and to all have individually and silently decided that yes, these are the people I will rely on. That seems like a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that also happened at the perfect time.

Categories
hoka one one Races

RACE RECAP: HOKA ONE ONE PROJECT CARBON X 2

Meet Rajpaul Pannu, a member of the HOKA Aggies running club, 2:17 road marathon runner and Olympic Trials qualifier, first generation Indian-American and full-time high school math teacher. After having his big-break-run at the 2017 California International Marathon, he’s not slowed down and is now making space for himself in the ultra-running world.

Hoka Project Carbon X 2 - Raj Pannu
Photo: HOKA ONE ONE

HOKA ONE ONE PROJECT CARBON X 2: RACE RECAP

HOKA set out on a bold goal to launch the Carbon X 2 – their fast, carbon plated race shoe – Project Carbon X 2 was a race against time for HOKA athletes to try and break the 100K world record.

Below is the race recap from Rajpaul Pannu, who in his second ultra run, finished second in the men’s race and set an American 100K debut record.

RAJ IS…

I feel like there’s subtext whenever a BIPOC person toes the starting line in the endurance world. This act, for me, is an act of rebellion and against the status quo. It allows me to create a narrative that challenges any preconceived notions that people may have about me. It also allows me to bridge the gap between my community of people and something that is incredibly empowering: running really, really far.”

My full-name is Rajpaul Pannu, I was raised in Hercules, California (20 miles north of Oakland) and currently live and train in Denver, Colorado.

I am a first-generation Indian-American born to a single mother who has worked hard to give me the opportunities in which she herself did not have. 

JFK 50-MILER

Training for this event really began in August, when I was training to run my first ultra-marathon-The JFK 50 miler, which consists of a 15 mile run through the Appalachian trail, a marathon on a subtle incline, and caps off having you run a hilly and windy road for 8 or so miles. 

The methodology of my training consisted of three phases. I began phase one with general easy runs with a trail run typically performed every other day. I had no trail running background prior and running on something like gravel is considered “technical” for me. Knowing how green I was, I decided to explore it once I had (finally) understood the degree of the pandemic’s effect on large road races, how nothing was going to open up as a result of it. However, trail races, be it scarce were happening in certain parts of the country so I entertained the idea of completing one to see how I would respond to doing so. 

After several falls and a few ankle sprains, I began phase two, as I had eventually backed off on running trails and started to run exclusively on roads. The punishment received from the trails really made me appreciate running on smooth, flat surfaces. I had also noticed that my easy runs were a lot easier as a result of climbing/descending some of the toughest terrain that Colorado has to offer. I was now supplementing the trails with quicker, fast-paced fartleks, intervals, and long runs eventually building upwards to 115 miles-something that I had never done before. Phase two culminated with me placing 6th at the JFK 50 miler-my first ultra marathon. 

100K TRAINING FOR PROJECT CARBON X 2

I initially had in mind to take some time off from running after the JFK 50 miler, as I needed to recharge both physically and mentally. However, a day after, I had received an email from Mike McManus-global marketing director of HOKA ONE ONE. Mike was impressed with my run at the JFK 50 miler and had asked me to run Project Carbon X 2-a 100K/62.2-mile race where the best ultra-runners throughout the world have the mountainous task of breaking the 100K male and female world records.

I was initially scheduled to pace the runners anywhere between 40-50 kilometers, so the idea of doubling that may have sounded daunting, but I understood what an opportunity this was for me to showcase myself in the ultra running world in a time of uncertainty. As a result, any feeling of needing time off had diminished, as I was recharged within a day after running what I believe to be the toughest race of my life. 

Phase three was perhaps the most grueling, as my body was not fully recovered from the JFK 50 miler. I had a total of eight weeks to prepare for Project Carbon X 2, which really meant that I had six as the last couple of weeks are typically dedicated to tapering and having your body recovered. My mileage was planned: 90, 100, 110, 115, 125, 110. The staple workout for the first block was long runs performed at world record (WR) pace (5:56/mile) every other week. I performed 20 and 26.2 mile long runs but felt myself a bit gassed out doing so. It wasn’t until the 5th week where I felt I had truly hit my stride: a 50K long run at a similar pace. This time around, I felt amazing and could have kept going.

Just as important as the race-specific work, were 10K-half marathon workouts that had juxtaposed the mountainous mileage that I was completing. One workout that gave me the utter confidence that I can compete with the best was 6 x mile repeats where the last one was performed at 4:43 pace. 

Hoka Project Carbon X 2 - Raj mid race
Photo: HOKA ONE ONE

LIFE-WORK TRAINING BALANCE

The biggest advantage of moving to Colorado was that I have been able to keep my teaching job in California, as I work remotely.

As a result, I’m able to wake up, have breakfast, and hit the roads running, perform workouts, and adhere to a stretch routine all before my first class of the day which begins at 10:30 MST. Since I’m not running around like a headless chicken making copies, corralling students, pacing around the classroom to ensure that everyone is on task, that time is invested into doing light stretches to ease my body from sitting for long periods of time.

It’s also important to note that the result of the pandemic has forced me into becoming a homebody, something that I wasn’t keen on being in my early 20’s. It’s also allowed me to take care of myself on the weekends, which has enabled me to adapt to a higher volume of work since I’m actually recovering rather than nights out on the town. 

PROJECT CARBON X2 RACE DAY

The morning of the race was perfect. Almost a little too perfect. I had gotten close to six hours of sleep: which is plenty for me before a race. Woke up, immediately went to the restroom and felt a sense of relief that I had gotten “it” out of the way. I then ate breakfast two hours prior to my race: A peanut butter and agave sandwich with half an RX bar and an electrolyte drink diluted with water.

I proceeded to do my ritual of rope activation stretches and Theragun to activate the muscles. Before heading out to the lobby for the shuttle, I had to use the bathroom…again.

Unlike shorter racing events, you don’t necessarily need a grand warm-up routine for the 100k, especially if you’re gonna put your body on the line for over six hours. As a result, I was incredibly calm and ready to tackle on some initial easy miles. About 15 minutes before the race, I used the bathroom one last time. Something was off as I don’t have to go all that often typically, but had hopes that it would be the last pit stop for hours. I was wrong.

Moments before the race, I took a 100mg caffeinated Unived Gel and planned on ingesting one nutritional gel every thirty minutes vs. the traditional twenty as Unived offers 190 calories per gel pack, which I took every thirty minutes along with water and electrolytes in intervals. 

Right before the gun went off, I looked out into the abyss of the sky and threw up a prayer asking my ancestors for protection and well-being. I then looked around the starting line to see who I was surrounded by. I’d already known that Fernando Cabada and Brandon Johnson were the only two other POC runners racing the event. I quickly referred back to the shifting narrative of the importance of adequate representation in the outdoors and how participating in big marquee events such as Project Carbon X 2 was the right step in the direction for me to support that notion.

I quickly diverted my attention to my watch, activated the GPS, and then: Pow! The gun went off and as we acclimated ourselves into our pace groups. 

OFF TO THE RACE

There were five runners who were chasing after the world record. I had bumped into Jim (Walmsley) at the hotel a couple of nights prior and he suggested an article that summed up the history of the 100K and had prophesied at least two runners dropping out in their pursuit of the attempt.

I had headed his warning and stirred on the side of caution by leading the chase pack with my pacer Ben Robinson guiding me through 6 flat miles for a solid attempt at the American Record. The first 8-9 miles were seamless, as Ben, Joacim (Lantz), and I worked together behind the WR pack. Joacim and I had to take our first bathroom break, as we decided to pee into the bushes and away from any cameras that might have been capturing us. We got back on track running 6-minute miles.

At this time, I had come to a realization that a 6:15 100K was more of a realistic attempt given the emergency stops that I may need to take. Unfortunately, the next one was within 30 minutes. This time around, I encouraged Ben and Joacim to carry on without me as I had to use the restroom to discard “it”, ultimately tacking on additional 30-45 seconds or so off of my attempt, but I immediately got back on track.

Within the first 22 miles, I had used the bathroom three times, but felt great physiologically. Several miles had past and Ben eventually dropped out as he had performed a stellar job pacing. I hit the 50k mark just a shade under 6:20 pace. I initially thought I was going 3-4 minutes quicker, but then realized how important it was to run the tangents properly, which I hadn’t done well for the first part of the race. 

I stopped at the first restroom after the 50K mark and had realized that my nightmare had come true: diarrhea. It was from the 50K mark and beyond where I was now forced to take a bathroom break every 30 minutes or so. This began to chop down my time in hopes of breaking the American Record, but I was hopeful as I still felt great and was able to hit the ground running at 6-minute pace after my restroom intervals.

Sometime around the 70K mark, three out of the five runners attempting to break the world record had dropped out. All but Jim and Craig Hunt, who had previously run the marathon project and looked strong despite a short notice to run the race. The 70K to 95K portion of the race was a huge war of attrition between my mind and my body. I really don’t remember much of it to be honest, but I kept an upbeat attitude knowing that I just had a standard weekly 18-mile long run to complete (perhaps this is where I had begun to become a bit disillusioned).

Also, by this time, I had worked my way up to second place as Craig had fallen back. 

Hoka Project Carbon X 2 - Finish line
Photo: HOKA ONE ONE

THE FINAL STRETCH

Around the 95K mark, I looked at my watch and calculated that I was right on American Record pace with not a moment to spare. My stomach, unfortunately, had other plans as I was faced with a decision I now regret: using the bathroom one last time. As I stepped out of the restroom one last time, I knew I had some work to do.

I began to pick up the pace, running sub six for the first time since the second mile of the race. By now, I was visibly in pain as the right side of my body was slowly shutting down. Regardless, it was the fastest I had been running.

I made one final turn and into the homestretch into the race track, which was about half a mile: the longest half mile of my life. From there, I was wincing, hoping that I had some miracle of breaking the previous American Record of 6:27.44. Unfortunately, the third digit of the clock had hit “8”, signaling that I was not going to dip in. Still, with the encouragement of the HOKA crew and pacers, I held on to my pace as I kicked it into the finish. 6:28.31. A debut record. 

FUTURE PLANS

As an athlete, I really see myself running this race in the 6:0?’s, making future USA teams and representing HOKA at international events such as Comrades Marathon.