There are so many amazing runners that show up for the Peak Ultra, Brian Nephew is definitely one of them! Thanks Brian for trying to explain the Peak Ultra:
5:30 a.m. race day and it appears I am either at the wrong place, have the wrong day, or am the only one signed up. After all what kind of race starts at 6am on a Friday morning?! I notice lights up the driveway coming from a dilapidated shed. Out of the light to the sound of techno music, wearing a headlamp walks a wild eyed, sleep deprived, ball of energy– ‘Welcome to Peak Ultra’. Our race director! Or as I learned through my time on the mountain, a tour guide through suffering. The only cowbells you will hear are from the cows in the fields below; it will take more than cowbells. There are no inspirational prerace speeches; words won’t be enough. There are no race time PR’s.
There is a magical system of trails that will lead you to places few will ever visit.
Flashback to the 2014 Peak Ultra 30
I had actually been here before, the year prior for the 30 mile (which by all reasonable calculations was 35 miles). On that day I had the most personally inspiring experience. I witnessed people attempting to run 500 miles. Something I wasn’t aware was even possible. Not only did I witness it, I had the opportunity to share miles with one of them. That short time made me start asking myself ‘What is possible, what am I capable of?’ I started thinking about how comfortable life had become and yet how discontent I was becoming. Maybe I needed a good dose of suffering to create an appreciation of my life, and maybe that suffering would quiet this inner drive for things that aren’t essential.
At mile 25 I had the moment, after a long uphill climb as I doubled over, someone on MILE 495 ASKED ME ‘Are you Ok?’
Back to the 2015 Peak Ultra 100
With a running resume consisting of 2 half marathons and the previous year Peak30 my thirst for more of that experience drove me to the 100. It’s brutal, relentless and unforgiving. It will break you, multiple times. And yet you will love it. I choose to keep what I found in me on that course to myself. There is a secret being held on that mountain that selfishly I don’t want to share. I connected with some incredible people I hope to always stay in touch with. Sometimes you finish by crossing the line; and other times that’s actually the start………….so I will see you in May….In the Pony barn, and on the Stairs, and at Shreks, and in the Labrynth……. No not there, you can’t see anything in there.
Brian Nephew’s Peak Ultra 100 by the numbers:
1 super awesome family
44hours (I was the ‘King of Pain’ winner – longest time on course)
3 pairs sneakers
unimaginable amounts of glide
3 full sit down meals
4 hours of Taylor Swift
A handful of memorable hallucinations. Maybe it never happened.
Thank you Pete Coleman, Ryan Jones, and most of all my wife Shontel for epically crushing 30 miles.
And Kale Poland for ‘Are you Ok’, …. I’m working on being awesome.