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Ultra Runner Trains For Hundred Mile Race

Joseph Neuenschwander
Ultra runner Jace Neuenschwander trains at the 580 Sports Complex Feb. 18. He will run an ultra marathon June 14-15.

He runs in the middle of the night with a 4 foot ring of light illuminating the trail. Beaten, battered and broken, he will make it to the finish line of the hundred mile race. 

Ultra runner Jace Neuenschwander ran the Tinajas Marathon Saturday as part of his training plan for the Big Horn Hundred-Miler June 14-15. The upcoming race is considered an ultramarathon because it is longer than a marathon. 

“It’s a lot of pain,” Neuenschwander said. “There’s a lot of suffering but part of the challenge is figuring out how to manage all of the different stresses.”

These stresses include how to hydrate and fuel his body during marathons and ultramarathons. 

“I try to pick out races that are shorter versions of the race I’m going to do and I will do those as kind of a preparation race,” Neuenschwander said. “Generally, I try to ramp up my weekly mileage every week till I’m doing enough that my body is able to handle hours and hours of time on my feet.”

If the race is in a hot area of the country, Neuenschwander will train in the summer. If it is in a cooler area, Neuenschwander will train in the winter months. 

“I try to emulate as many conditions as possible,” Neuenschwander said. “So that I can train in them, and therefore be a little more prepared when race day comes for whatever the course, and the day and conditions, can throw at me.”

Conditions that Neuenschwander has run in include extreme cold, extreme heat, downpours of rain and waves on a beach.

“Game Lands was the most pain I’ve ever been in,” Neuenschwander said. “I was wet initially and my feet stayed wet. I had a pair of shoes that did not fit right.” 

Neuenshwander caught Trench Foot which makes the skin of the feet blister when they have been too wet for too long.

“After the race I realized how bad my feet were,” Neuenschwander said. “[My wife] Karen and I talked maybe about going to the hospital. We eventually opted not [to go to the hospital.]” 

Neuenschwander’s wife crews him on his ultra marathons. This means she meets him at the aid stations and gives him food, drinks and takes care of his feet.

“When I was doing endurance rides, Jace was always there to crew me and help out,” she said. “I like being able to return the favor and crew for him when he’s pursuing his hobby.”

Mrs. Neuenshchwander has crewed her husband on all of his hundred mile races. 

“When he was running last summer in Wisconsin, and it was my birthday, he came running into the aid station and announced it to everybody,” she said. “The whole aid station wished me happy birthday.”

The majority of Neuenschwander’s family has helped on his races.

“I helped Jace on one of his ultras in Bandera in January 2015,” Jace’s brother Joel Neuenschwander said. “I crewed for him on my mountain bike while he ran the race.”

Neuenschwander’s parents let him stay in their house when he runs in Bandera.

“We are very, very proud of his competitive spirit,” Neuenschwander’s mother Susan Neuenschwander said. “We make certain that the food we provide is food that will enhance his performance; we are pleased to provide a place for rest and recovery following his race.”

Neuenschwander’s family has helped him or run with him in 22 races.

“One of my best moments of any race was the Outer Banks 50K,” Neuenschwander. “I had not had a good race.” 

That year the 50K had a tropical storm come through the area. The tide was also  high, meaning the waves were big and he was wading through deep water where water did not normally reach.

“Running on the sand was harder than I had anticipated,” Neuenschwander said. “I wanted to quit very, very badly for most of the race.”

Neuenschwander’s family had crewed him in this race.

“At the end my two boys came out and ran with me and I was so happy to be finishing the race,” Neuenschwander said. “In the last few hundred meters with my boys, they were very happy to see me and I was happy to see them.”

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