Fredericton ultra-long distance runner completes two giant races two weeks apart

Drew Wallace’s body is aching, but his mind is light. He is thrilled that he was able to achieve a goal he trained hard for, running 100 miles (160 kilometers) in the Quebec Mega Trail race on July 1 in 33 hours, 3 minutes and 21 seconds.

The ultra-long distance race starts from the town of Baie-Saint-Paul. Part of the route consists of climbing Mont-Sainte-Anne, almost twice. It’s something Wallace tried to accomplish last year but had to stop 90 kilometers away.

« I was moving so slowly and all I could think of was I had 70 kilometers left and number 70 was so big in my head that I guess, like I was lingering there and it is like I can’t do it at this rate. It will be forever.

Wallace didn’t want to repeat last year, so he kept training. He tried to simulate what he would actually go through running 100 miles a week, including hills.

« That was probably the hardest part of the whole hundred miles that I had to tackle was the number of hills, so over 6000 meters of [vertical] in that. So I try to match that in a whole week. So I go to Crabbe Mountain, I go to Odell, I go wherever it was a hill and I do that over and over and over until I hit the required amount for the race. »

A tired runner buy happy at the end of the 100 mile race. (Provided by Drew Wallace)

He knew he was also going to have to deal with extreme fatigue. Runners start at night, go all day and into the following night.

« And so you fight fatigue and you sit in a chair and fall asleep almost instantly and you just try to get up and go. To overcome these things, it’s just a mental checklist of just, you’re just tired and that’s your only excuse, and that’s not good enough, » Wallace said.

Two weeks before running 100 miles, he ran 100 kilometers in another race in Quebec. It didn’t take long for him to recover, but he was ready this time. He knew his biggest challenge would be his mind. Running is 85 to 90 percent mental, Wallace said.

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Drew’s running shoes take a beating on a run like this and sometimes he needs more than one pair. (CBC Jan Lakes)

« There are some really dark times, for sure. I think the more I run the better I kind of get at getting into those little moments where you’re really slow and you have to climb a hill and you don’t want to climb a hill and you have nothing left in you, » Wallace said, « You know you can handle it and your body is capable of so much more than you give it credit for. »

The hardest part of the race was the last 50 kilometers. But runners are allowed to have a pacer, someone who sets the pace and keeps them going for that last leg.

Wallace’s girlfriend was there for him and he says he couldn’t have done it without her.

« There was a time when I was completely exhausted and she just brought me the things I needed. To be at the finish line with her, yes, it was really nice and a time that I will never forget. »

And crossing the finish line was such a relief. « You’re so happy it’s all done and you just want to go to bed and sleep. »

drew wallace
Drew needs to keep things light when running. He takes headlamps for running in the dark and finds it easier to hold his water bottles so the weight doesn’t hurt his back if he carries them in his vest. (CBC Jan Lakes)

Now Wallace is recovering from both races and spending time with his girlfriend and young daughter. But his mind is already on what he’s going to accomplish next.

« I think when we chase hard things, it adds to our character and who we are. And I wanted to see what I was really made of. And as I climb that ladder of longer distances, it’s always been a goal. And it feels good to get there. And the question is always, what do I do now? »

Information morning – Fredericton11:02Ultra long distance runner

Running for a few hours can be tough, but what about 33 hours straight, on tough trails and at high altitudes. ​Jan Lakes spoke to ultra-long distance runner ​Drew Wallace ​from Fredericton​,​ who just finished a 100-mile run in Quebec.

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