Water Works Ultra Marathon 2017: 100km Solo

Water Works Ultra Marathon: 100km Solo I was fortunate enough to run in the 100km (60 mile) Water Works Ultra Marathon yesterday, taking out the 3rd place trophy for the 100km solo event, winning my first ever prize money which was half of the cost of my race entry. While not quite enough to make a living, it was a pleasant surprise!

Having only run twice in the 4 weeks prior to the race I was unsure what to expect. Driving through pouring rain for an hour on race morning, it naturally brought up the question in my internal dialogue: "What am I doing?".

It was a tougher race than I had imagined...beginning at 6am in the dark and torrential rain, on a 3.6km (2.2 mile) cross country loop course. It was muddy and slippery, with plenty of undulations. For several hours early in the race, thousands of small bugs swarmed, unavoidably sticking your body, and leaving you in a coughing fit as you faced the unexpected challenge of attempting to breathe without taking in bugs. Being a lap race, I soon learned to cover my mouth as I approached the bug hotspots. The Walka Water Works staff were impressive. I've never been in a race before where the staff were literally out with shovels and wheelbarrows to repair the trail as we ran, shoveling gravel and improving drainage in response to the heavy rainfall. In fact, the weather had been heavy rain for several days leading up to the race, and was to continue for the first few hours. And not once did the polite and friendly staff get in the way of the runners.

It was incredibly humid as soon as the rain eased. My toe socks and Vibram FiveFinger minimalist footwear were wet for the first 5.5 hours of the race until the sun finally came out with a vengeance! At that time I took a few minutes break to put on a dry pair of socks and a dry pair of FiveFingers, which was heavenly.

During the race I drank 6 liters of water and 3 liters of freshly squeezed orange juice that I made the night before. The OJ got me through the first 75km (45 miles). For the final 25km (15 miles) I ate 10 medjool dates. The afternoon brought increasing humidity to an intolerable level that forced runners to slow down, as overheating and melting down became a real threat.

I only had to pee twice during the race, which, given the amount of fluids I consumed, should give an indication of how humid it was.

With aching legs after the first 4 hours, I was grateful that my legs weren't sore as I finished out the final 3 laps (6.7 miles / 10.8km).

My race time was 12 hours 42 minutes. I believe the winning time was 10 hours 20 minutes. It was an incredibly supportive event, more like a family-feel community gathering than a race. I don't think I've ever had so many people tell me how inspiring my efforts were...perhaps that was because most of the 250 runners were in teams of 4 for either the 50km or 100km event, and running 100km solo was unimaginable to many of them...but I think it was really because they were a tribe of runners, doing what they love, and acknowledging the great efforts of everyone in the community who was out there giving their best. It feels great to inspire others and is why I spent so much time producing the book series Inspired To Run!

I had a 13 banana smoothie after getting home, but before finishing it, I fell asleep, dropping my Vitamix blender jug on the floor, losing about 4 of the bananas...and making quite a mess.

Cronometer says I ate 3025 calories and burned 8840. I'm catching up today! :D

I took in about 10 liters of fluid during and after the race. Guzzling approximately 300g water before walking to the starting line was only thing I consumed in the morning before the race started.


7090 calories burned during 100km running at 12:15/mile (7:37/km) @ 163 pounds (74kg) bodyweight, 44 year old, 6'5" (195cm) male
1750 calories burned as Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
8840 total calories burned for the day


665 calories consumed in medjool dates (during race)
1415 calories consumed in orange juice (during race)
945 calories consumed in bananas (at 9pm after getting home. The bananas contained 800 grams water.)
3025 total calories consumed for the day


6 liters of water consumed
2.8 liters water consumed in my food during the race
800 grams of water consumed in my food after the race
9.6 liters total water consumed on race day

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