MARYVILLE (WATE) - Running marathons has become more and more popular in recent years with people tackling the 26.2-mile race after lots of practice.
That many miles may seem like a lot, but imagine yourself running 100 miles.
It's called an ultramarathon, and it's happening next weekend in Maryville.
It started as a small group of runners, but has turned into a huge race.
Michelle Midnight is one of those runners. On Friday afternoon she went on her daily run, logging five miles.
"I've been working more on distance and long runs," she said.
Midnight got hooked on running about two years ago while training for the Knoxville marathon.
"I ran my first marathon back in November and it's just been great. I love it," she said.
Come next Saturday, she's gonna be running a whole lot longer in the Pistol UltraRun/Race. She has trained for a portion of the full 100 miles.
"100 miles to me still sounds crazy," Midnight said.
It sounds crazy to a lot of joggers on the Maryville Greenbelt, where the race is set to be held.
"If I see them, I'll cheer them on, but I'm not doing it myself," said jogger Jeffrey Melton.
Race Director Will Jorgensen says the race started out small, but spread through word of mouth.
"We just anticipated maybe a half dozen or so and the next thing I knew, there were more people that said, 'Hey I wanna come too' and it just grew from there," Jorgensen said.
More than 60 passionate pavement pounders are already signed up. People like Ken Sirois, who has run nearly 300 marathons.
"For the last 15 years, we've been running probably about 15 to 20 marathons a year," Sirois said.
Having such a rare race come to Tennessee has him itching to lace up his tennis shoes.
"It's nice to have that distance local and in the state of Tennessee," he said.
And while its not for the faint of heart, it's fun to witness the first of it's kind in Tennessee.
"It's something that takes a lot of time. I wouldn't recommend someone start with 100 miles to begin with," said Midnight. "Even if it's only 15 or 20 miles that I do, I'm excited to just be out there and watching it."
The race starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, January 5. There is a time limit of 30 hours to complete the race.
Registration ends Saturday, so if you'd like to take part visit the race website.
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