The First Peyton’s Wild & Wacky 5k Ultramarathon
I had the great honor of running in Peyton’s Wild & Wacky 5K Ultra at Middleton Place Plantation in Charleston, SC, on Saturday, March 10, 2015. The layout of the race was one 5K every hour, on the hour, for ten straight hours. If you’ve done the math, that means it was a whopping 50K finish line victory. But the purpose of the event was more than just accomplishing a personal goal or training for future races.
Finish Time – 4:50:23
Overall: 14th Place
Age Group 30-39: 10th Place
All proceeds from Peyton’s Wild & Wacky 5K Ultra go towards Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund, Mount Pleasant Track Club, and Mount Pleasant Academy, in honor of Peyton Moore, a 9-year old boy who passed away in his sleep on June 4, 2013. Peyton loved sports, being outdoors, spending time with his father, Noah, and giving his all towards anything he set his mind to in both sports and life. Even at a young age, Peyton understood the importance of being part of a greater community and encouraged others always to give their best, which inspired those around him.
Three weeks prior, I had managed a 21-mile run in 2 hours and 31 minutes, about a 7:10 pace. I was hopeful that if I took care of myself, I would maintain a similar speed for the whole event. The day’s outcome would help determine my training focus for Quest for the Crest 50K (May 31) and Tahoe Rim Trail 100 (July 18). I supplied myself with about 24-ounces of Tailwind Nutrition (200 calories) and another 50-100 calories of solid food to consume during each rest period.
As we gathered for the 7:00 AM start in the dark, it began to downpour. The runners cheered despite the sudden heavy rainfall because many knew that Peyton loved to run in the rain with Noah. THen, twenty yards after starting, the pack came upon an unexpected 90-degree right turn. I quickly realized that no one was familiar with the course, including myself. It was going to be an interesting first lap in the dark, rain, and mud.
Once I got familiar with the route, the first five 5Ks rattled off quickly. My times were 23:13, 22:21, 21:31, 21:33, and 21:51, which meant I was at a reasonably steady 7:30 pace. With these 5k splits, I was left with a little more than 35 minutes between each 5K, which allowed me to get off my feet, hydrate, eat and chat with fellow racers. The course was muddy, but it held up pretty well considering the heavy amount of foot traffic it had endured already throughout the morning. At this point, I had already changed my socks three times and used up half a stick of Body Glide to keep any blistering at bay.
Pro tip: Always check the weather in advance and prepare accordingly.
As I entered the second half of the run, I began to debate my pace. Slowing down a little would maybe ensure a stronger finish, but trying to hold onto the current rate would genuinely test my current fitness levels. So I decided to let my body run whatever felt most comfortable, which resulted in a lap six in 21:39 and a lap seven in 23:15. Then, I finally felt my energy escape me during the next rest period. All I could do was keep up my fueling and remain optimistic about the effort that I had already put in.
The Finish Line
I took off on lap eight at the same 7:30 pace, but the wheels came off at mile two. I accepted that my tank was empty and was more than satisfied with my effort. I ended up walking the majority of the last two 5K’s, crossing the finish line with an exclamation to Noah and Jen Moore,” I figured I had run up front all day, so I might as well spend some time in the back!”
The Overall Experience at Peyton’s Wild & Wacky 5k Ultra
Despite a challenging race concept, it was a fantastic day on the trails with great friends. I’m sure the experience and the cause will be bringing people back for years to come! So I tried to keep Peyton at the top of my mind throughout the race. He would have loved to see so many people out there running hard and pushing their limits to reach their goals. He might have even tried to convince his father to let him run the whole event by himself!
While setting personal goals for each occasion is essential, the community and mission often get me to that starting line on race days. On that day, Peyton’s legacy and his memory were motivation enough for me to push towards that finish line.