Running America

Over the weekend I read Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner’s Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America written by Marshall Ulrich. Ulrich is one of the most amazing ultra-distance runners in the history of man and turns out to be a great story teller as well. I founding his book to be riveting and subsequently downloaded the movie about the run across America that he did called Running America 08.

The movie was dynamite. The run across America took place between September 2008 and finished (coincidentally) on November 4th, 2008. There were three stories woven together in the movie: (1) Marshall’s success effort to run across America, (2) Charlie Engle’s unsuccessful effort, and (3) a backdrop of interviews with American’s all across the country during the time of the run.

In Marshall’s book, there was plenty of discussion about the original partnership between Marshall and Charlie which led to the join effort to run across America in world record time. However, Charlie stopped a third of the way through due to injuries and some drama ensued, which wasn’t covered in the movie but was reasonably well explained in the book. All of this just added to the remarkable feat of accomplishment by Marshall Ulrich.

I’ve been running a lot in Europe this summer and am starting to feel another level of base building. My friend, and CEO of SendGrid Jim Franklin did the Leadville 100 this weekend and another friend just asked if I want to do a 50 miler with her in the spring of 2012. I’m also thinking about spending a month running the Colorado Trail next summer. First up however are four marathons in September and October.

I love running and reading about amazing running accomplishments. It’s even more inspiring to realize that I’m not washed up at 45 as many of the great ultra-runners are cranking well into their 50’s and 60’s.

  • Carrie K

    I have a huge amount of respect for long distance runners. I’ve always been a runner but have never done a marathon…only a few halfs. This weekend I’ve signed up for a “Mud Run” (trail, obstacles, mud…) should be interesting. -Carrie

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Awesome – go for it!

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Awesome – go for it!

  • Carrie K

    I have a huge amount of respect for long distance runners. I’ve always been a runner but have never done a marathon…only a few halfs. This weekend I’ve signed up for a “Mud Run” (trail, obstacles, mud…) should be interesting. -Carrie

  • http://reecepacheco.com reecepacheco

    i’ve always been a “runner” (meaning i ran, and did a couple races, but never took it very seriously)

    but i recently started training for the NYC Marathon and it’s a totally different ball game, mentally and strategically

    i love the challenge of it and when i read about races like Leadville, i say “i can do that.” glad to know i’ve still got plenty of time ;)

    keep trucking, Brad. movie looks awesome – thanks for sharing

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      You will love the NYC Marathon. It’s one of my favorites.

  • Ludovic De Paz

    Running is the best way for me to evacuate stress, keep my body somewhat fit and … find new ideas for my business.

    Thanks for sharing this book and video and congratulations on your objective to run 4 Marathons in only 2 months. I know this is possible but it is always another story to actually do it.

  • Pete Griffiths

    Brad – check this out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Graham_Round

    “The Bob Graham Round is a circuit of 42 fells in the English Lake District, including the 3,000-foot (910 m) peaks of Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Scafell and Scafell Pike.”

    “On 12–13 June 1932 the Lakeland fell runner Bob Graham set the peak bagging record of 42 Lakeland peaks in just under 24 hours. Bob Graham’s Round was not repeated again until 1960. Depending on the line taken, the length of the route is between 63 miles (101 km) and 66 miles (106 km) with approximately 8,200-metre (26,900 ft) of ascent and descent. ”

    When you bear in mind that Mt Everest is 29,029 ft above sea level and this has nearly 27,000 ft of climbing it is blindingly obvious that the only people who even try this are totally crazy.  Perhaps equally obvious is that most of these lunatics are English.

    A friend of mine (a Professor of Astronomy from UofH no less!) recently tried it.  He is a major ultra runner but it left him broken and beyond exhausted after about 14 hours.

    Set your controls for the heart of the sun!

  • http://www.aboutventurecapital.com Nate

    Wow.  I need to get off my ass…

  • kevinwarr

    Brad – I got to meet Mr. Ulrich at the Georgetown Half 2 weekends ago. I was spent! Then I saw him sitting in the middle of the football field with a stack of books and an few people gathered around him. I listened to him tell his tale. After, which, I didn’t have much to feel tired about anymore! What a quiet and inspiring man. Beneath the surface must beat the heart of a lion! Haven’t yet read the book but I will.
    @reecepacheco… you will love the NYC Marathon. It is a 26 mile party! Nothing like it , anywhere!

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  • Scott Wharton

    Thanks Brad.  Just bought the Kindle book.  I’m training for my own marathon this fall (the NYC Marathon).  If you need a running speed work group when you visit Silicon Valley, let me know.   We run every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in Los Altos and would allow you to keep up your training.  Scott

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thanks – I’ll holler if I’m there and looking for speed help.

  • Scott Wharton

    Thanks Brad.  Just bought the Kindle book.  I’m training for my own marathon this fall (the NYC Marathon).  If you need a running speed work group when you visit Silicon Valley, let me know.   We run every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in Los Altos and would allow you to keep up your training.  Scott

  • http://kristapaul.com kristapaul

    I had the opportunity to meet Marshall and his wife this last weekend at Pike’s Peak Marathon. He is such an inspiration. I watched the movie as well when it showed in Denver and I’m looking forward to reading his book. 

  • http://bizen.com Jackson Miller

    I “ran” my first marathon last Spring. My training was insufficient, but I didn’t want to give up so I ran it anyway (though I had to walk a bit toward the end). I am starting training now for my second marathon.

    As a startup Founder / CEO who also has kids, it is hard to make the time for the longer runs, but it is also really good for me. I just don’t think there is anyway I could put in the miles necessary for ultras (don’t have a burning desire either). 

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