10 Inspiring Ultra Finishes
Trail ultramarathons are always a test of the human spirit. Sometimes the test is harder than usual
A video by Run Steep Get High showing Timothy Olson's heroic struggle to finish the 2014 Hardrock 100.
At the Hardrock 100 Endurance Run earlier this month in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, Timothy Olson went out with the leaders and was in the lead pack. But the legendary late-charger didn’t have his usual wheels. His race went downhill, hard and fast; soon he was out of contention and off his feet.
No one would have faulted him for dropping out. It simply wasn’t his day, and it takes a great day to run 100 miles on a course as challenging as Hardrock's. Several other big names—past winners of the race, even—would DNF Saturday and Sunday.
But Olson didn’t quit. He got up, trudged on and finished 13th in 30 hours and 18 minutes.
In honor of Olson’s never-say-die effort, we have compiled a list of 10 inspirational trail ultra finishes from recent years. There are countless other examples, but here are a few of our favorites, admittedly mostly from 100-mile races. Be sure to leave your own in the comments below.
10. Rising from the Dead
Jamil Coury, Hardrock 2013
Photo by Criss Furman
Felled by stomach issues early in the race, Coury lay at the Grouse Gulch aid station (around mile 42 on the 2013 course) for over four hours. “Just when I thought I had everything figured out with my nutrition and racing during 100 milers, I’d been thrown another curve ball,” Coury wrote in his race report. “My dream race was crumbling around me and there was nothing I could do at this point.”
But rather than succumb to his calorie deficit and dizziness, he adjusted his nutrition strategy, recovered and rose to clock the fastest split of the entire field from Grouse to the finish (over 40 minutes faster than race winner Seb Chaigneau), which he reached in 31 hours, 19 minutes and 29 seconds.