National 24 Hour Championships

The North Coast 24 Hour Run has just completed. The men’s winner is Phil McCarthy with over 151 miles, and Jill Perry takes the women’s with 136 miles.

But I have to give a shout to two members of my running club, John Geesler who came in second with over 138 miles, and Dave Putney, eighth in the men’s race with over 124.  I train a lot with Dave and he possesses an enviable, dry humor. This makes him an excellent partner for weekend long runs. Unfortunately, he had a bad fall while on a 42 mile trail run with John a couple weeks ago and banged up his ribcage. I’m sure it had a negative impact on his race. Meanwhile, John churned out yet another enviable performance which is all the more impressive when you consider that he’s 50.

Between the two of them, they have ultra stories galore (John, like Dave, also has that certain dry wit). I’ve been trying to get them to write a book on some of their exploits. No doubt that even non-runners would find it entertaining.  Dave’s description of his 24 hours at the Across the Years event two years ago is priceless (over 131 miles on that one).

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  1. #1 by hopper3011 on October 7, 2009 - 7:42 am

    That’s some good running, the discipline needed to put a 150+ mile race together is just unbelievable.
    It seems to me as though ultrarunners get better with age, being over 40 doesn’t seem to be the barrier it is at shorter distances?

  2. #2 by Jim Fiore on October 7, 2009 - 8:14 am

    I’d say “up to a point”. Ultra runners do seem to mature later than other runners. I’d venture that it’s due partly to the years required to reach an appropriate level of durability, and I’d define durability in terms that durability is to endurance what endurance is to speed. Further, most people are going to see declines in fast-twitch muscle fibers first as they age, and those are used least for ultras.

    Another issue is the time required for racing and training. It’s not trivial and I can’t imagine that most younger people with a career and family would have the time to devote to this pursuit. I think that’s one more reason why the ranks seem to be populated with so many 40-somethings. In the past couple of months, John and Dave put in the aforementioned 42 mile trail run and a 54 mile trail run from Lake Placid down to Lake Durant along the Northville-Lake Placid Trail. They started after sunrise and finished in the dark. Then there were the back-to-back days of 20+ mile trail runs. It became “normal” for Dave to do a long run with us on the roads on Saturday (anywhere from 15 to 22 miles) and then do a 30 miler on trails the following day.

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