This next story still blows my mind every time I think about it. Have you ever run a marathon? The running boom was HUGE back in the '80s, everywhere you looked it seemed, people were hitting the streets, training for their first (and for most of them their last) 26.2-mile race. I have run 14 of these myself, it's a time-consuming event that demands SOME preparation - by that I mean you need to log some miles under your belt to tackle this event. It hurts, truly does. When you get to the 20-mile mark, there is what's called The Wall - and no I'm not talking about a Pink Floyd Album. This is the point of the race your body is screaming at you to STOP, it's a major mental roadblock that tests everything you got. The last 6.2 miles seem to take an eternity.

Now, imagine tacking on another 79.8 miles. Yikes. This is what my friend Michael LeDoyen will be doing from July 31st to August 1st. This beast of a race is called Maah Daah Hey Trail Run -  There are a series of different distances you can choose - 3.1+ Miles / 6.2+ Miles / 13.1+ Miles / 26.2+ Miles / 56 Miles / 81 Miles AND 106 Miles!!!!!! Starts in Watford City and ends at Medora - wow.

This will be his 2nd attempt to complete the Ultra-Ultra-Ultra marathon, two years ago, Michael took a wrong turn and ended up 20 miles further away from the trail, eventually got back on track, but it was too late -- You see, besides the unbelievable mental and physical grind of completing the race, the runners have a 36-hour window once the gun goes off at 6 am July 31st, to finish. Generally, there are about 10-15 people that enter, and about half of them actually finish. Weather conditions range anywhere from high 30's to high 90's. Obviously, this is not your typical fun-run, this is a serious challenge to every bone in your body, but more so it will test just how strong your mental state of mind really is. There are aid stations throughout the course, anywhere from 10 - 20 miles apart. Michael will be allowed a crew (his wife and dad) to be there for him at strategic areas the whole way. His wife is from right here in Bismarck, he has family all over North Dakota. There is one advantage he has living in Ormond Beach, Florida - the weather. He puts in about 70 miles a week and will do several 50 mile long runs in training. Check this out, he has finished 5 100 mile events.

What possibly goes on in the mind of a person who is RUNNING 106 miles? "I walk as little as possible"  ----  Sorry, but that is IMPOSSIBLE for me to even try and imagine. What does he do to pass the time? What does he think about? He doesn't listen to anything but his breathing and his footsteps. No music, No distraction - just the solitude of the wilderness, and sometimes (could be hours on end) he'll latch on with another runner. "I Live In The Moment"  His mind focuses literally on every step, knocking the miles off one-by-one.

This race will have a winner, yes. Someone will finish with the fastest time - understood. However, those that choose to test all the elements that the Maah Daah Hey Trail Run 106 Miles brings - deserves to be recognized a trillion times over - Michael is a charming, modest guy - with a mental strength that very few people have, or would ever want to find out for themself.

 

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