LAST PERSON STANDING
OUTRUNNING THE REST IN A RACE WITH NO FINISH LINE
The concept of the race caught my attention. It had no defined distance or time. It was unlike anything I had ever done. Called a “Last Person Standing” Race, the entire point of the event was to last longer than all the other runners. Every 15 minutes, competitors would run a 1.04-mile loop…equating to 100 miles every 24 hours. The race only ends when every runner except one has either timed out (taking over 15 minutes for a loop) or decided to quit. The style was unique because the pace was forced. Even if a runner finishes the loop in eight minutes, they must still wait seven minutes before beginning the next lap. Strategy and mental toughness rose to the forefront of this unique race, which is exactly why I signed up for it!
I drove down to Arizona with the hope of organizing my gear along the way. But, knowing that I could change shoes, eat, and hydrate every 15 minutes quickly negated any prior organization or preparations for the event. My baseline of fitness was there, but the strategy eluded me. What was the ideal speed to run each loop? How often should I change my shoes and socks? How often should I eat and drink? Should I set a goal for the race or simply try to stay in as long as possible?
New Year’s Day came, and I still had no answers. The race was at noon, and I arrived two hours early. I started tearing apart my car and throwing it all in a bin. Fashion was paramount, but I also packed spare shoes and socks, nutrition, water bottles, and body glide. Overall, I didn’t pack much. The more I considered the timing of the event, the more I realized that there would never be more than three to four minutes of downtime once the race started. I set up my items around a chair and felt confident.
Ready to begin, all of the competitors walked up to the start line, and we took off right at noon. The endless race had started. Different styles emerged. About half the field took off, leaving me and the slower half behind. I saw no benefit in torching through the laps, so I stuck to my slow pace. If I could stay comfortable running the loop for as long as possible, then I could push this thing far beyond 24 hours. I stuck to my pace, resisting the urge to stay with the faster runners. I settled in, and each lap clicked by between 11 and 12 minutes. It was my sweet spot and offered just enough time between laps to eat, drink, and adjust gear.
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