100 mile ultramarathon kicks off in Maryville

100 mile ultramarathon kicks off in Maryville

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By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - When most people talk about going for a run, they're talking about three or four miles.

But for some East Tennessee running enthusiasts, that distance is 100 miles. It's called an ultramarathon, and one kicked off Saturday morning in Maryville.

The inaugural Pistol Ultra Race attracted dozens of runners from across the country.

"It's not hard. Just keep moving," said Pistol Race Director Will Jorgensen. And moving they do. 62 runners took off bright and early Saturday at the Maryville Alcoa Greenway.

The race has three different distances. Runners can choose between 50k, 100k and 100 miles.

Nicole Howe of Maryville stopped to get a drink and snack after tackling her first 16 miles. "I'm gonna run at least 31 miles. Probably 62 before it's all over," said Howe.

Like many of the runners taking part, Howe does it for the challenge. "You wanna push your limit. You wanna see what you can do and what you're capable of and everybody is capable of at least twice what they think they can do," said Howe.

Bradley Adams of Knoxville came in first in the 50k, running nearly three and a half hours. "It was great. It was great. Good run. My feet are a little sore but all in all, happy to be done with it," said Adams.

The race director is pleased with the turnout. "To see something that just started several weeks ago, generate that much enthusiasm and interest is really thrilling," said Jorgensen.

Jorgensen says for ultramarathoners, it's about more than just your pushing your body. "On a long distance race like this, it's much more important to work through it mentally. It's much more mental than it is actually physical," said Jorgensen.

Runners take frequent breaks to get food and water and just walk a little bit.

As the minutes roll into hours, the aches and pains start to set in. But runners say they don't mind because they're in such good company.

"There are people out there who could run a 7 minute mile, but do 15 minutes miles because they find somebody nice to talk to," said Howe.

The focus for these folks is more about the overall experience and not the time on the clock. "Fun to come out here and prove to myself I'm not old yet," said Howe.

The 100 mile race has a 30 hour time limit, so a number of the racers will be running all night and well into Sunday afternoon.

The race director hopes to turn this into a yearly event.

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