Meet Pat Noonan-
An ultra marathon runner from Brooklyn that decided to live in his tent at 11,300 ft., in an area called Alta Lakes, about 6 miles south of Telluride.
His goal this summer is ultra marathon nirvana. For people like you and me who can barely even imagine a one-mile jog, ultra marathon nirvana is basically when you run gazillion miles without breaking a sweat.
Pat runs 100 miles a week! Rest days call for an easy 10-mile jog up and down a peak or two. Push days call for a 10-HOUR run up and down several peaks.
After initially hearing this, I took time to gasp and then I asked myself what I ever do for 10 straight hours. I mean, I can’t even bring myself to sleep for 10 straight hours!
For those who are not familiar with the ultra marathon world, I will fill you in a bit, because it is crazy amazing. An ultra marathon is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 26.2 miles. The most common ultra marathon distances are 50 kilometers, 100 kilometers, 50 miles and 100 miles. 100 MILES! What??!!!
Just an FYI, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body of track and field, recognizes the 100-kilometer race as the official world record event.
The 100-kilometer Castle Peak Race, which will take place in Tahoe, CA at the end of the month, is Pat ‘s current object of desire. It is what he has been relentlessly training for all summer.
When asked what comes after the Castle Peak Race, he simply replied that he would just keep running and see where it takes him, no pun intended.
At 27, he can see himself reaching his peak in his 30s, when he hopes to be living with the Kalenjin tribe in the Rift Valley, Kenya.
The Rift Valley is what Pat considers to be running paradise. The love affair with the Rift Valley began when working at a running store in Brooklyn, where Pat befriended Eliud Heldy Ngetich.
Ngetich was born and raised in the Rift Valley where the Kalenjin tribe resides. He grew up hunting antelope, literally “running errands”, sprinting to school, and then eventually joining a cross-country team. He found his way to the states in 2013 at only 22 years old. Ngetich participates in ultra marathon races around the world, collecting prize money for his wife and daughters back in Kenya, where they are all saving for their dream home.
According to Pat and Ngetich, one of the more pertinent ultra marathon takeaways is the classic Kenjin saying, “train hard win easy.”
So when you are dreading the weekly trip to the gym in hopes of clocking in 15 minutes on the elliptical, think of Eliud Heldy Ngetich, Pat Noonan, and that classic Kenjin saying. Perhaps it will all put a little pep in your step.
If not, Pat recommends peanut butter.