Winning a 100 mile Race at 80
By Chuck Warren: Today's contribution came from a friend of the show and my dear friend, Katrina Nickle. Her father shows all of us, it isn't too late to explore, start a new passion and keep moving forward. As 76 year old Sylvestor Stallone said, "You have to grab life by the throat and squeeze before it grabs you by your neck and breaks it. Own your destiny." Whatever you decide to pursue, today is the day to start it. Start a new chapter.
By Katrina Nickle
David Blaylock is proof that age is just a number. At 80 years young, he just finished his 60th 100-mile endurance run. He trains six days a week and tries to get over 70 miles per week while he's training for a race (which is most of the time, he always seems to be training for the next race).
David started running when he was about 50 years old. Prior he had a passion for racing dirt bikes. He figured he couldn't shatter his femur in the middle of the desert training for a marathon like he could (and did) on a motorcycle. After dozens of other broken bones, racing on foot seemed like a better option.
In the early 90’s when he was 50 years old, he signed up for his first hundred-miler, the Utah "Wasatch 100" (one of the most challenging races in the country due to the drastic elevation changes). The one hundred mile course consists of constant mountain climbs and descents over and over. Around mile 35 his knee "was gone" and he was unfortunately at the top of one of those climbs. His knee couldn't go downhill, but he found if he turned sideways, he could get down this peak. When he got to the bottom, he told himself "as long as I can proceed, I'm going to" He asked his wife to get him a cane. He kept going. Up a peak, down a peak, up another peak and down following the course of the tricky Wasatch 100. As the race neared the cutoff time of 36 hours, the race director let him know he wasn't going to make it in time and unfortunately would be disqualified. David accepted he wouldn't be getting a medal (actually the awarded belt buckle) but asked if he could still keep on course and finish on his own. As the race had their award ceremony and cleaned up, David kept going with his cane in hand and his wife following him to where each checkpoint would have been. He crossed the finish line after 40 grueling hours.
Another noteworthy 100-mile race was March of 2021. Due to Covid, there was a virtual race where each runner would run their own 100-mile race sometime during that month. David set early March to complete his 100 miles. Exhausted at mile 95, he lost his footing and took a nasty fall. He suffered a couple cracked ribs, broke his sternum, and bloodied up his face. If you ask him, his pride was what hurt the most (as he told his family and laughed about it). Anyone else would have called it quits, but not David. He waited a few weeks for his breathing to hurt less with the broken bones and at the end of March, he set out and completed all 100 miles (repeating 95) of the virtual race.
So, what's next for David? He finished his last 100-miler on March 3 and now he's training for a six-day race in June where each runner can run as many miles they can in six days. Last June he did this race and completed 242 miles in six days.
The most amazing part is he just keeps adapting. When he can't run anymore, he walks. When he got a total knee replacement a few years ago, he paced his home three days post surgery to walk a mile regularly as he recovered. He continues to come what may and "as long as he can proceed '', he'll keep going - one foot in front of the other.
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