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Featured Runner “Christopher Benjamin” April 2017

Christopher Benjamin is a running enthusiast from Missouri who has run over 50 marathons and ultramarathons. In 2014 Chris finished the Badwater 135 mile ultra run in 17th place. He also ran 100-mile races in Vermont, Kansas, the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and the Florida Keys, as well as a 127-mile slog along the Mississippi River levy from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. In 2016 he ran the Boston Marathon. Last year, Chris participated as a running guide for the US Association of Blind Athletes Championship at the California International Marathon. Chris works as a litigator with his law firm located in Butler, Missouri and serves as Garden City Municipal Judge. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of law.


Date of Birth:   9/30/1975

Place of Birth:  Anchorage, AK.

Currently Residing:  Harrisonville, MO.

Marital Status:  Single.

Job(s):   Attorney.

Children:  N/A

Height: 6’2’’

Weight: 210

Shoe Size: 11.5

Best Physical Feature:   Shoulders.

Worst Physical Feature:   Spare tire.

Religion:   Methodist.

Political Affiliation:   Moderate Democrat.

Educational Background:  B.S. Biochemistry, Law Degree, University of Missouri, Columbia.

Personal Strength(s):   Determination, creativity.

Personal Weakness(es):   Attention deficit issues, social confidence.

Make Of Car You Drive: Dodge Ram truck.

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive:   Ford Edge.

Pets: N/A


Favorite Author: Ernest Hemingway.

Favorite Book:   The Art of War.

Favorite Non-running Magazine: Entrepreneur.

Favorite Movie:   Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Favorite TV Show:  The Walking Dead.

Favorite Actor/Actress:   Tom Hanks.

Favorite Music:   80’s/Alternative.

Favorite Musical Performer:   Sting.

Favorite Artist:   My father, Ed Benjamin.

Favorite Spectator Sport:   American politics.

Favorite Subject in School:   Geography.

Favorite Game:   Galaga.

Favorite Vacation Destination:   Brazil.

Favorite Time Of Day:   Early evening.

Favorite Item Of Clothing:  Jeans.

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity:  Spending time with friends and family.

Favorite Running Shoe:   Hokas.

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra:  Yogurt, coffee, banana, lightly toasted bagel with cream cheese, Gatorade.

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra:   Applesauce, Stinger honey waffles, Coke, Tailwind, cheese sticks, Oreos, M&Ms plain, grapes.  At night – grilled cheese and noodles.

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra:   Pizza, Beer.

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s):   Matt Battiston, Mandy Miller, Kiley Chaney, John Southard, Ryan Knapp, Rod Jetton, Michael Holton, Jaclyn Long.

Favorite Place To Run:  Praia de Camburi, Brazil.

Favorite Type Of Running Surface:   Pavement.

Favorite Famous Quote:   “We are all living in cages with the door wide open.”  George Lucas.


Number of Years Running Ultras:    5 years.

Number of Ultras Finished:  25.

Best Ultra Performance(s):   Keys 100, 2014, personal best 100 mile time at 18:30.  Badwater, 2014, 17th place.

Most Memorable Ultra:  Badwater, 2014.

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race:  I run 14 miles and then 7 miles the weekend prior, and then I stay off my feet 4 or 5 days out.  Two weeks out my long run is approximately 30 miles with a 90-mile week.  Three weeks out is my highest mileage week, usually a little over 100 miles with a long run of approximately 40 to 50 miles.  My race specific training begins 3 or 4 months out depending on the race with weeks ranging from 65 miles to 100 miles.  I incorporate at least one strength workout per week with abs/core, light upper body weights, lunges, and squats.   I usually take one day off per week and run two a day sessions 3 days per week during peak training.

Injuries:   Stepped on a sewing needle 5 days before the start of the 2015 Spartathlon race.  Limped to the starting line and dropped out at mile 70.  Two weeks later had the needle surgically removed from my right heel.

Ultrarunning Idol:   Charlie Engle.

Why Do You Run Ultras:  I cannot think of a better way to relieve stress and to disconnect from the stress of everyday life outside of distance running.  The goals are simple to set, but are extremely difficult to obtain because of the rigorous training required over a long period of time.   The combination of mental and physical stamina required running 100 miles or greater is actually difficult to explain to people who have never experienced it.  The ultra running community is an awesome group of people who support each other, and it doesn’t take long to make friends from around the world through the community.

Advice For Other Ultrarunners:  Consistency each and every week completing preplanned running and strength workouts is essential.  You cannot cram for an ultra marathon.  It takes many months to build the base mileage required to run a good ultra marathon.  Unlike shorter races, ultras require having a good nutrition plan and a runner must figure out this plan during the months of training before race day.  Set the goal of just finishing the race for the first 100 mile race attempt.  Be patient during the early miles and then build into your plan as you adapt to the course.


Personal Hero:   Last year I served as a guide for the US Association of Blind Athletes marathon championship held in conjunction with the California International marathon.  The visually impaired military veterans I met and ran with at the event I would consider as my personal heroes.

Personal Philosophy:  I strive to treat others with respect, to continue pushing myself to find my true mental and physical potential, to encourage others in their endeavors, and to prioritize awesome experiences and friendships over material gain.

Short-Term Goal: Build my law practice, achieve my running goals for the season, plan my next trip.

Long-Term Goal:  I have worked on my Portuguese with a tutor for over four years, I would like to reach fluency in the Portuguese language.

Most Prized Possession:   My passport.

Most Proud Achievement: Qualifying for the Boston marathon, passing the Bar Exam on the first attempt, winning my first trial.

Happiest Memory: In 2007 I took my father to my birthplace to run the Anchorage marathon and then a couple months later I toured New England with my mother during the New Hampshire marathon.

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: Placing my possessions in storage and taking a multi-year sabbatical traveling the world with a backpack.

Greatest Adventure:  Taking a road trip from Missouri to Las Angeles after the Bar Exam.


Least Liked Subject:   Accounting.

Least Liked Household Chore:  Cleaning a refrigerator.

Pet Peeve(s): Long lines, judgmental or disrespectful behavior.

Greatest Fear:   Losing a love one.


Book Currently Reading:   Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss.

Hobbies:   International travel.

Collections:  Magnets and other random items from other countries I visit.

What’s next:   Vol State 500K race through Tennessee in July and a trip to India and Vietnam during the holidays.  I am also developing an app that helps runners, both beginners and pros, stay motivated by rewarding them for their dedication.

Chris & his crew after his 2014 Badwater finish!


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Featured Runner “Jaclyn Long” March 2017

Jaclyn Long (in her own words): I am a single mother, (I was married for 11 years.) I have 3 amazing kids, so finding the time to run and train has not been easy, but I will say, “if you want it bad enough, then it can be done.” I give up sleep to train. On a normal night, I sleep 4-5 hours a night because I get up early in the morning to run while my kids are still sleeping. I try my hardest to not let my running interfere with my time with my kids. I have a huge love for the outdoors. I absolutely love the sun, heat and humidity. One of the big reasons that I fell in love with running was to have yet, another excuse to be outside, especially in the summer. I have been running for 18+ years. I even ran throughout my 3 pregnancies.  It wasn’t until I was done having children that I started running competitively. Since then I have completed 21 marathons, nine 50ks, two 50 milers and many other distances on up to 70.5 miles. I have also done 8 triathlons and 1 duathlon. I run for many reasons, primarily the feeling of accomplishment, it makes me feel good about myself and I just love the process of training and pushing my body. I also have to mention that the friendships I have developed through running are like no other friendships I have found anywhere. The ultrarunning community is amazing!!


Date of Birth: 4-16-1982

Place of Birth: Topeka, Kansas

Currently Residing: Hoyt, Kansas

Marital Status: Divorced, Single

Job(s): Special Education Para-Educator, Lifeguard (part time)

Children: (3)  Turner 8 yrs, Ashlyn 10 yrs, Parker 12 yrs.

Height: 5′ 2”

Weight: Summer weight, around 122 lbs. Winter weight, 125-130 lbs.

Shoe Size: 9 (yes, I have big feet for my body. I hate it!!)

Best Physical Feature: My legs

Worst Physical Feature: My belly

Educational Background: High School, Technical School.

Personal Strength(s): The ability to push my body way farther than I ever thought was possible. While racing, I take my pain and run w/it! Also I say that stubbornness is a strength for me because I have this crazy attitude that I will keep running no matter how injured I am. There is not many injuries that will take me out of running.

Personal Weakness(es): Eating too many donuts! Not taking enough rest days in regards to running.

Make Of Car You Drive: Chevy

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: Honda

Pets: 5 tortoises, 10 chickens, 1 duck


Favorite Movie: Any movie with Chevy Chase in it.

Favorite TV Show: I don’t watch TV.

Favorite Music: the 80’s

Favorite Spectator Sport: Watching my kids play any of their sports….. basketball ball, baseball, volleyball. This last fall my oldest son ran cross country. Words can’t explain the emotion that I felt seeing my son do what I love to do too.

Favorite Subject in School: Human Anatomy

Favorite Vacation Destination: Florida

Favorite Time Of Day: Afternoon, especially in the summer when it’s hot!!!!

Favorite Item Of Clothing: My bikini!! (I love the sun!!) in the summer I live in my bikini…… I wear it to mow, weed eat, garden and to feed my chickens and tortoises!!

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Biking

Favorite Running Shoe: Saucony Kinvara

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: (the night before) Italian Buffet

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Gatorade, bananas, goldfish crackers. (Absolutely no peanuts or peanut butter….. anything with peanuts in it will give me the shits!)

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Diet Dr. Pepper, watermelon. Half frozen fruit punch Gatorade.

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): Any of my running friends…..too many to list!

Favorite Place To Run: Any gravel or dirt road on a very hot, humid and sunny day.

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Gravel and dirt roads.


Number of Years Running Ultras: 3

Number of Ultras Finished: 11

Best Ultra Performance(s):
KUS 12 Hour, 1st overall, ran 70.5 miles in 11:58:39 and set a new Kansas State record for females.
Hawk 50 miler, 1st overall, 7:16:26/8:44 average pace
Brew to Brew solo, 44.5 miles, 1st overall female, 6:47:34/9:04 average pace

Most Memorable Ultra: KUS 6/12/24 (2016) it was at this race that I set a new Kansas State Record for females in the 12 hour by running 70.5 miles in 11:58:39.
Also, The Hawk 50 miler (2016) was a huge race for me. I set a new PR and was the overall winner with a time of 7:16:26, average pace, 8:44.

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: I never taper much for a race. I might go from running 80-90 miles a week to 50-60 miles, but that’s all. I also swim 4-5 miles of laps too.

Injuries: 2 metatarsal stress fractures, plantar fasciitis in both feet, nerve compartment syndrome, torn hamstrings, torn Lateral Collateral Ligament, broken tibia, shin splints, tibial stress fractures.
2 surgeries, nerve compartment surgery, plantar fasciitis surgery.

Why Do You Run Ultras: For many reasons! I love pushing my body to see what it can do. I enjoy the process of training and putting my body through hell. It’s also the feeling of accomplishment when you cross that finish line. Running ultras also helps me stay in shape, helps me feel good about myself and helps me relieve stress. I also cherish all of the friendships that I have made over the many miles that I’ve shared with other runners throughout the years that I’ve been running.

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Never give up in a race!! It’s supposed to hurt like hell, if it’s not hurting then you aren’t doing it right!! I have finished races on broken legs and torn muscles and I don’t regret it at all. Finishing races when my body was destroyed has only made me stronger for the next race.


Short-Term Goal: To lose 5 pounds so I can be at my best racing weight.

Long-Term Goal: To do a Half Ironman and then a Full Ironman someday.

Most Prized Possession: Photos of my kids.

Most Proud Achievement: In November, 2016, I set a new Kansas State record for females in the 12 hour by running 70.5 miles in 11:58:39.

Happiest Memory: Giving birth to my 3 kids.

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: To be able to run injury and pain free.

Greatest Adventure: Being a stay-at-home mom for 6 years.


Least Liked Subject: Algebra

Least Liked Household Chore: Dusting

Pet Peeve(s): Rude, inconsiderate people.

Greatest Fear: Losing my loved ones.


Hobbies: Anything outside!! Gardening, yard work, kayaking, hiking, fishing and of course, any kind of working out!!

What’s next: April 1st. I will be running my 1st ever 24 hour endurance run in Lebanon, Tennessee. I just recently got asked to be a guest speaker at the Eisenhower marathon pasta dinner on April 7th. The next morning I will be running that marathon. (Or maybe crawling it, because it will be 6 days after my 24 hour run.) I plan to do the Heartland 50 miler at the end of April and then the Honey Badger 100 miler in July.

Jaclyn cranking out a 1st Place Victory at The Hawk 50 Miler last September (2016).


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Featured Runner “Zach Adams” February 2017

Zach Adams pretends to be a white-collar corporate zombie Monday thru Friday in order to afford race entries, but is much happier writing columns for Ultrarunning Magazine, or blogging at MidPackZach.com, and proudly cut his “ultrarunning-writing-chops” back in 2013, blogging and writing for our newsletter, right here at EpicUltras.com. Writing and playing Dungeons and Dragons are his hobbies, but running ultras is his passion. Zach loves sarcasm, dislikes whining, and occasionally likes to write what lots of people are only thinking about, but don’t dare say in public. His wife, Candi, is his favorite running partner and together enjoy a fast-paced life with their five kids, two pugs, and one of those cat-things.


Date of Birth: June 10, 1977 – Big FOUR-ZERO is just around the corner!

Place of Birth: Columbus, Kansas

Currently Residing:  Girard, Kansas

Marital Status: Married to the best woman in the world, Candi.


Job(s): Telecommunications Marketing Manager and Freelance Writer (about endurance running of course)

Children:  Max-18, Molly-15, Durbie-14, Mitch-14, Ranie-11

Height: 180.975 centimeters

Weight: 79-88 kilograms approx. (Depends on the season.  I get fat in the winter.)

Shoe Size: 12.5

Best Physical Feature:  I have some luscious bushy eyebrows.

Worst Physical Feature: My bottom row of teeth are terribly crooked.

Religion: Making people do crazy shit since nearly the beginning of time.

Political Affiliation: Ha.. I hide every political post I see on Facebook. So naw.  I feel you are way better off to society practicing activism in your own community.  Join a community board, serve a meal, mentor a kid.

Educational Background: I gots me a bachelors degree Information Systems and a Masters of Biz Administration as a first generation college grad in my family – pretty proud of that.  And I would hope it has inspired my kids to do the same.  So far I am 1 for 1 as Max is a Jayhawk. ROCK CHALK!

Personal Strength(s):  (In life)I can get along with almost anyone.  (In ultras) I can eat absolutely anything and everything and not get sick.  I am the Mr. Fusion of the ultra world.

Personal Weakness(es): I have a tendency to interrupt people – but I am working on it.

Make Of Car You Drive: Ford Truck (Sans the Stars and Bars plate)

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive:  Lamborghini Diablo or a big ass rockstar tour bus.

Pets: Ermah and Oskar – coolest set of Pugs you will ever meet.  Oh, and cat.


Favorite Author: Brandon Sanderson

Favorite Book: Ususally the last one I read… unless it sucked.

Favorite Non-running Magazine: The Rotarian

Favorite Movie: Geez… pretty much all the martial arts and shoot em up 80’s action movies.  Love me some Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Favorite TV Show: Loved Breaking Bad.  Currently enjoying the shit out of “The 100”

Favorite Actor/Actress: Eh… the story is more important to me

Favorite Music:  I am a 100% classic rock Joe Dirt kind of guy.

Favorite Musical Performer:  Depends on the day.

Favorite Artist: I like the drawings my kids made in school.

Favorite Spectator Sport: NFL – Go Chiefs!

Favorite Subject in School: I really like drama and forensics.

Favorite Game: Grand Theft Auto V

Favorite Vacation Destination: Gulf Shores Alabama / Cozumel

Favorite Time Of Day: I am definitely a morning person.

Favorite Item Of Clothing: I got a Pittsburg State University split-faced gorilla hat in 1999 when I started college and it is probably the only piece of clothing I have any attachment to.

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Reading, fishing, & kayaking.

Favorite Running Shoe: I love my $34.99 Saucony Cohesions… my feet are about as picky as my stomach.

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra:  Whatever is available in large quantities.

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: I like clear water throughout and a little pop later – coke or ginger ale.  Food – Once at Prairie Spirit there were bacon cheese quesadillas and they were so good I continued eating one inside the porta-potty.

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra:  Beer and Burger King

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): My wife, Ryan Schwatken, Dave Box, Dave Meeth, Eric Steele and Shay Caffey —  That’s my Van Clan!

Favorite Place To Run:  Colorado high country

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Smooth dirt/small rock single track covered in pine needles.

Favorite Famous Quote:  “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  – Master Yoda    


Number of Years Running Ultras: First ultra was July 2010 – Midnight Madness 50 Miler – so almost 7.

Number of Ultras Finished: 30-40ish?

Best Ultra Performance(s): 2nd Place at Pumpkin Holler 100.  EVERYTHING went right.

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: I usually go for some runs.  It seems like in peak race season I am simultaneously recovering from one race while tapering for the next one.

Injuries: None unless you are a total wuss and count lost toenails and blisters.

Ultrarunning Idol:  Paul Schoenlaub is amazing.  Ran his first ultra at around age 40 and has done almost every significant ultra in the country (and some across the world), great finish times, and the most modest and friendly ultrarunner I have ever met.  He sets the standard in my book.

Why Do You Run Ultras:  I am not really sure.  There are plenty of times, usually during really shitty low points of races, that I ask myself that exact question.

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Don’t ever make the decision to quit during the depths of a low spot.  Eat, drink, rest…. If you have the time (not too late behind cutoffs) take it, you will almost always feel better after some food, drink and a short rest – but once you quit – you can not undo that.


Personal Hero:  I admire many people for many different reasons.   

Personal Philosophy:  Do shit that scares the hell out of you.  The path of least resistance is generally not the most fulfilling.

Short-Term Goal: Finish remodeling my farmhouse and get my family moved in.

Long-Term Goal: Retire from my 9-5 job, buy a badass RV and become a full-time travelling ultrarunning freelance writer and travel the country with my wife Candi.

Most Prized Possession: I don’t really get emotionally attached to items, but I do value the struggle that my Leadville 100 belt buckle represents.

Most Proud Achievement:  Watching my kids grow into fine young adults.

Happiest Memory: Getting married on the beach at sunset with our kids, family, and closest friends sharing our moment.

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: I would love to spend a year or two living in a shack on a mountain with only the barest essentials – nearly completely disconnected from the world.

Greatest Adventure:  As a young private in the Army, got lost with another enlisted soldier a Humvee in the desert of Kuwait for about 10 hours before almost crossing the Iraqi border (this was 1996) before stumbling on a small convey we followed back to the small base nearby.  We were eventually reunited with our unit and earned a week of shit-burning detail for our lack of land navigation skills.  Honestly, it was pretty damn unnerving at the time.


Least Liked Subject: Accounting classes made me contemplate jabbing my brain with a pen.

Least Liked Household Chore: Laundry.  More specifically sorting and putting it away.

Pet Peeve(s): Complainers, whiner, wimps and people who blame everyone and everything else for everything negative that happens to them.

Greatest Fear:  Losing those I love.


Book Currently Reading: Just finished, “Out There: A Story of Ultra Recovery” by David Clark.  A life book with running involved.  Highly recommend.

Hobbies:  Playing Dungeons and Dragons with a group of nerdy grown ups who like to act like they are still in middle school.

Collections:  Memories and relationships generated through being a part of the culture of ultrarunning.

What’s next: I let tomorrow make that decision.

Zach and crew triumphantly celebrating his first LT100 finish!



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Featured Runner “QuynhAnh Nguyen” January 2017

QuynhAnh Nguyen (in her own words): First off, I’d like to say I feel very under-qualified to be chosen as the Featured UltraRunner this month.  I was a little hesitant, at first, to be honest.  But then, I realized there are other runners out there that might be where I am- at the beginning of their ultra journey.  My first ultra was Free State 40 Mile trail ultra at Clinton Lake a few years ago.  I highly recommend this race as it is a very, very beautiful and technical course.  (I’d like to come back for the 100K soon) After that race, I took some time off from running as I got busy with raising kids and going to school full-time.  (Not an ultra, but just a fun tidbit…Last year, I qualified for a Guinness record at the Layton Marathon for a silly feat of being a part of the largest, ever documented, tethered group of runners.) Then, this year, I ran Heartland 50 mile, Gravel Grind 50K, and Heartland 100.  Each one of these races was memorable for very different reasons.  With every race, and race preparation, I’ve become stronger, physically and mentally, and have learned more about myself. Running long distances has helped me deal with life’s stresses and I find it to be very meditative.  I enjoy running solo as much as I do with friends. I’ve also met the most amazing, friendly, and encouraging friends in the ultra community.  I hope to meet many, many more of you, soon…happy trails!!!


Date of Birth:  Earth Day, 1979

Place of Birth: Woodward, OK

Currently Residing:  Wichita, KS

Job(s): Owner of Windswept Acres (horse stables); Asst Teacher at Tap & Tumble; Realty Assistant; Substitute teacher.

Height:  5′ 2.5″

Weight:  118-124 ( I never get skinny- I love mah’ food!)

Shoe Size: Regular shoes 7.5, running shoes 8.5

Best Physical Feature: My legs

Worst Physical Feature: My legs (It’s a love/hate relationship)

Religion: Christian

Educational Background: Lifelong professional student.

Personal Strength(s): Stubborn, optimistic, spontaneous.

Personal Weakness(es): Too stubborn, too optimistic, too spontaneous.

Make Of Car You Drive: Toyota Sienna

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: Never really cared or thought about it, probably something loud and powerful and fast.

Pets: We raise goats, miniature Hereford cows, chickens, ducks, geese,  rabbits, and dogs.


Favorite Author: No favorite (too many good ones).

Favorite Book: No favorite–Too many good ones, but I especially enjoy memoirs.  The last good one I read was With or Without You by Domenica Ruta.

Favorite Non-running Magazine: Entrepreneur

Favorite Movie: Don’t have a favorite movie…just don’t like movies with sad endings.

Favorite TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy

Favorite Actor/Actress: Melissa McCarthy, Matt Damon

Favorite Music: I like all kinds

Favorite Musical Performer: Josh Groban, Pentatonix, Cold Play, and Garth Brooks.

Favorite Artist: My kids

Favorite Spectator Sport: My kids’ soccer games and tennis matches.

Favorite Subject in School: Biology, sociology, and teacher education courses.

Favorite Game: Monopoly, Taboo, Charades, and a new favorite- Speak Out.

Favorite Vacation Destination: Coastal California and Pacific Northwest.

Favorite Time Of Day: Sunrise and Sunset

Favorite Item Of Clothing: Running windbreaker

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: PiYo (challenging blend of pilates and yoga)

Favorite Running Shoe: New Balance 1500 series (getting harder and harder to find, sad face)

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Leftovers from the night before, or whatever I have at home.

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Bone broth and Perpetuem

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Pho

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): ThuThuy Kahler, Sara Gillespie, Kevin Swinicki, my 19 yo son.

Favorite Place To Run: I’m really digging the rail-to-trail system here that runs from Wichita to Garden Plain. < And > Air Capital Memorial mountain bike single track

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Dirt, gravel, and snow

Favorite Famous Quote: “Do or do not, there is no try.” -Yoda


Number of Years Running Ultras: 2 years: ran 1 in 2013, 3 in 2016

Number of Ultras Finished:  4 (I’m definitely still a newbie!)

Best Ultra Performance(s): Well, I haven’t DNF’d yet, so I’m proud of that!

Most Memorable Ultra: They all have been memorable for different reasons!

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: 75-90 miles/week plus cross-training

Injuries: Fell and injured my ulna nerve in my right arm and lost strength and feeling in my fingers but that has since almost completely healed.

Ultrarunning Idol: Kathy Bratton

Why Do You Run Ultras:  Running long distances is very therapeutic for me.  It calms my mind and soothes my soul.  Plus, I’ve met the most wonderful people, many of whom are my closest friends, in the ultra community.

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Believe you can, and you can. The mind wills the body. Walk if you need, but keep moving.


Personal Hero:  Anybody who has fought or is fighting a debilitating handicap or disease/illness

Personal Philosophy: Always find the good in every situation and in every person.

Short-Term Goal: Complete another hundred miler.

Long-Term Goal: Run ultras throughout the world and run the US coast to coast, not to beat any time record, just to do it.

Most Prized Possession: Photos of my kids.

Most Proud Achievement: Not letting auto immune disease define my life.

Happiest Memory: The births of my kids.

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: Win the lottery and become rich but live like a homeless, in other words…be a wandering nomad, setting up camp in the mountains, and running in and with nature for the rest of my days.

Greatest Adventure:  In Colorado, going off the trail, taking a “shortcut” (DON’T DO THIS, KIDS!!) and almost falling off the side of a mountain as the terrain got very steep, climbing and grasping (sometimes loose) boulders….very frightening situation and also the most memorable adventure.


Least Liked Subject: Chemistry, Philosophy, and Political Science.

Least Liked Household Chore: Dusting above the kitchen cabinets.

Pet Peeve(s): When people are inconsiderate.

Greatest Fear: Losing my loved ones too soon.


Book Currently Reading: May I Be Happy (A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind) and Prophet’s Prey.

Hobbies: When I have time- reading (I like memoirs) and watching movies (especially documentaries).

Collections: Material possessions mean nothing to me (except photos).

What’s next: A spring 100



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Featured Runner “Eric Shebesta” December 2016

frontpageEric Shebesta (in his own words): I’m just an average guy. I grew up in Colorado and relocated to Missouri in 2001. I’ve been married to my wife, Lori for 23 years.  Ever since I was a kid I was always in awe of endurance sports, such as the Tour de France, Ironman, etc. Although I never followed these sports, I quit smoking about 10 years ago and wanted to improve my fitness. I began running a little bit and decided I wanted to run a marathon. While training for that, I began to enjoy running more. After completing a couple of marathons, I began running trails. I had no idea where one would find trail races. I came across a Featured Athlete article in Hammer Nutrition’s newsletter, that athlete was Eric Steele. It mentioned his FlatRock race. I sent Eric an email, and he sent me an invitation to FlatRock. After emailing Eric a couple of times with questions, he was kind enough to call me and answer all of my questions about trail running and ultras. That was my introduction to ultras. My wife Lori soon picked up running as well, and now its’s something we can do together, entering events together and taking turns crewing each other.


Date of Birth: November 11, 1966

Place of Birth: Denver, Colorado

Currently Residing:  Rogersville, Missouri

Marital Status: Married

Job(s): Cabinet maker/plant supervisor

Children: Two, Baillie and Michael

Height: 5’6”

Weight: 160 lbs.

Shoe Size: 9

Best Physical Feature: Eyes

Worst Physical Feature: Gut

Religion: Christian

Political Affiliation: Disappointed

Educational Background: High School

Personal Strength(s): Determination

Personal Weakness(es): Impatient

Make Of Car You Drive: Ford F-150

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive: Ford F-150 newer model

Pets: 1 Miniature Pincher


Favorite Author: Don’t have one

Favorite Book: Can’t pick just one

Favorite Non-running Magazine: Non-running, don’t have one

Favorite Movie: Have several, No Country for Old Men and Tombstone are a couple

Favorite TV Show: Modern Family

Favorite Actor/Actress: Robert De Niro

Favorite Music: Classic Rock

Favorite Musical Performer: several, U2, their old stuff(albums like The Joshua Tree and War) but don’t care for their new stuff

Favorite Time Of Day: Early morning

Favorite Item Of Clothing: Gym shorts

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity: Spending time with family

Favorite Running Shoe: Hoka Challanger

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Lots of coffee, oatmeal, and bananas

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Fruit/tailwind

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Pizza

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): My wife Lori and daughter Baillie

Favorite Place To Run: Busiek State Forest, Missouri and Hobbs State Park, Arkanasas

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: Dirt

Favorite Famous Quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!” –Wayne Gretzky


Number of Years Running Ultras: 3

Number of Ultras Finished:  9

Best Ultra Performance(s): Flatrock 50K, 2014

Most Memorable Ultra: My first Prairie Spirit 50 Mile, 2014

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: 4-5 runs/week, approximately 50 miles/week

Injuries: Stress Fracture and PF

Ultrarunning Idol: Anybody who struggles and digs deep to finish an ultra, you see great accomplishments all the time. If you really want to see resilient people, stick around towards the end of an ultra.

Why Do You Run Ultras:  Challenges, camaraderie, and the sense of accomplishment

Advice For Other Ultrarunners: Prepare to the best of your ability, do not compare your training to others and sell yourself short. It’s a journey filled with obstacles, difficulties, and a bit of suffering but remember to have fun.


Personal Hero: My daughter, Baillie

Personal Philosophy:  Never stop

Short-Term Goal: Stay injury free

Long-Term Goal: Again, stay injury free

Most Prized Possession: Too many to mention

Most Proud Achievement: Raising 2 wonderful kids

Happiest Memory: Welcoming my kids into this world

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: Pace Jim Walmsley at Western States 2017

Greatest Adventure:  Fox hunting in England


Least Liked Subject: Science

Least Liked Household Chore: Dishes

Pet Peeve(s): People talking with food in their mouth and the jackass that needs to take up 3 parking spaces with his truck


Book Currently Reading: Living with a Seal by Jesse Itzler

Collections: Race shirts

What’s next: Back 40 Trail Run Bella Vista, Arkansas

bottomarticleEric, with his ultrarunning
wife, Lori, hot on his heels!



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