(contributed by William McCarty, Pamakid member since April 2011)
I only started running in 2002 when I was 55. A year later I took the AIDS Marathon Training Program sponsored by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation which was training people to run in the Honolulu Marathon. The coach of the program made a comment that out every 10 runners in the program, for 9 this will be the only marathon that they ever do. The other one will get the “marathon bug “. I got that “marathon bug “!! I have now completed a total of 76 marathon/ultras. My favorite marathons are the Newport Marathon (Oregon) and the Big Sur International Marathon.
After several years of having the marathon being my longest distance I decided to step up to doing ultras. I was always a middle of the pack marathon finisher but one thing that I noticed was that I had a very quick recovery time after running in a marathon. In a day or two after the marathon I would be out there running as fresh as ever. So I thought “well, maybe I am suited to be an ultrarunner.” My first ultra was the San Francisco One Day 12 Hour event at Crissy Field which was in October of 2009. I wanted just to say that I had run a 50K (31 miles) so I did just under 32 miles in a little over 6 hours and turned in my timing chip. I have completed 25 more ultras after that first one in October of 2009!
My first 50 miler was done on my 63rd birthday on October 15, 2010. It was the Rock’n River 50 Miler which is the American River 50 course in reverse (from Auburn to Sacramento). Just like with the marathons I had a pretty fast recovery time after doing a 50K or a 50 miler so I decided to try to complete my first 100 miler. I picked as my first 100 miler Run-de-Vous which was in August of 2011. The course was in a county park in San Martin, Ca. south of San Jose. It consisted of a relatively flat 2 mile loop which you ran 50 times to complete 100 miles. I completed it in just shy of 29 hours (I was not fast but I got it done!). Since then I have completed 5 more 100 milers. My favorite is the Keys 100 in the Florida Keys. I completed it last year and will be running in it again this year. 100 milers have become my race of choice and I now use marathons and 50Ks as training runs for the 100s. My favorite running quote which I have on my refrigerator wall is from Steve Prefontaine and is pretty much my attitude about 100 milers: “I do not run to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts.”
In closing, I want to point out that I have always, since I started training under the auspices of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, tried to tie in my racing with raising money for worthy charities. Last year I set a goal of completing four 100 milers and raising a combined total of $8,000 for Breast Cancer Emergency Fund and AIDS Emergency Fund. I am proud to say that I completed the four 100 milers and raised a total of over $8,500 for them. In 2013 my goal is to complete six 100 milers and to raised a combined total of $12,000 for four charities. It will be the latter goal that I will be most proud of as it was with the $8,500 I raised this year.