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.
Shoe Size: 11.5
Best Physical Feature: Shoulders.
Worst Physical Feature: Spare tire.
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.
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.
ACHIEVEMENTS / GOALS / MEMORIES
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.
DISLIKES / FEARS
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!