The Unknown

48 hours from now, the NJ Ultra Fest will be underway. It will be my 6th race greater than a marathon, though of course that doesn't include all of the training runs that have been longer. My longest race to date has been 55 miles. This is nearly twice that.

I'm scared, but then again, that is kind of the point: to see if I can accomplish what I haven't. And I can't say I'm any more terrified than I was before my first 50 and that day was a dream come true.

For most 100 mile races, a third or more of the field don't finish. That's a sobering number. When I'm feeling cocky, I tell myself that those people were probably undertrained, but when you think about it, most people going into a hundred mile race, including me, probably are.

As far as my health goes, I'm fairly close to 100%. I've been battling foot tendinitis, but have cut my miles so much this week that it currently feels perfect. Still, I'm not betting it will stay quiet for the entire race. But with this being the most important race of the year for me, I'm ok with the idea of injuring myself, a little. As the late Dave Perry said, "Not all pain is significant."

Work has been unexpectedly hectic this week, likely a blessing that kept me from spending time worrying.

My family will be there, which will be awesome. They'll need rewarded after spending most of the weekend in the middle of nowhere in New Jersey and they will be. My wife has spent the week alternatively cheering for me and telling me this is my stupidest idea, ever, and that's the kind of honesty that caused me to marry her in the first place.

Ryan Jones, my former teammate, is racing. Ryan's resume speaks for itself and no one has inspired me more to try this than him. We've been texting throughout the build and it comforts me to know he'll be here.

Stephen England will also be there, manning the aid station during the darkest hours. Though we've never raced together, he's an ultra runner and a diabetic, which means when I see him in the middle of the night, it will be like having an instant friend appear.

I would be lying if I said I hadn't thought about my time. Judging by last year's results, runners of my ability tended to finish around 21 hours. Of course, there are outliers, and guys typically slower than me were near 20 and people faster than me were considerably slower. It's not like a 5k, and the race, as much as one's preparedness, will dictate the results. The course, too, is supposedly covered in slush, which has the potential to affect things greatly.

For that reason, and for many others, the only pressure I'm putting on myself is to continue forward, for as long as possible, for as many miles as possible. And if all goes well, that will be enough.

My daughter likely will play the social media maven during the race, with periodic updates to FB and Twitter. The race starts at 7am Saturday and they pull the plug at 1pm Sunday. Hopefully, by then I will be long gone. :)


  1. I'll be rooting for you, Marcus! You'll do great!

  2. Have a great race Marcus! You are unbelievable!!!! (and tell Ryan we said hi and good luck!)

  3. Anonymous8:43 PM

    Why is Ryan Jones no longer your teammate? I thought he was on TT1 with you?

  4. Anonymous2:14 AM

    Have a great race Marcus! I'll be rooting for you! Al S


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