700. “There are no finishers, only survivors” 

Buckeye 200 extended version 

First off, thank you for following this journey. 700 posts and we’re not stopping any time soon. Let’s get right into it: 

Tuesday sept 27, 2022 

Corie champ and I left to get to the starting line, an 11 hour drive since we took our time. Race day is two days away 

We added a few hours onto the trip by driving the course backward which we knew wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t too much out of the way. 

September 28, 2022 

This was the day of recon of the course. We wrote down stores along the route and what the running conditions would be. (no shoulders most of the way) 

We could have traced the map along the route and wrote down at what mile X store was at, kind of like a card (like this, which another runner shared with us) 

We got to the start area early evening and met up with coach Pete. He got a room and let us stay. After some back and forth we started getting our race packs together. I probably should’ve done all that while packing. For some reason I had all my stuff packed, but not how I would have it specifically for the race, which took about 30 minutes to get set up. 

Something I totally overlooked: I bought size 10.5 shoes for the race. I should have bought 11.5s. Even XL socks too. Thankfully I brought a backup pair of shoes that were size 11, this provided some relief but I’d definitely just start with 11.5s next time. 

We met with the rest of our crew: Sergio, Kaylee, and Ma on the night of the 28th. 

With all the pre-race jitters we only got about 4 hours of sleep. 

Thursday September 29, 2022 – race day 

The race started at 7 am. We woke up at 4 to get all squared up. We left the hotel around 6 o’clock and made the 15 minute drive to the starting line. 

It was cool out, 50 degrees.

Feral the Race director handed out our bibs. Pieces of cut up bed sheets with a few buttons glued onto them and roman numerals for our numbers. 

Later I found out that we received our numbers not by the order we signed up, but by what place she thought we would finish in. 

My number was 24, i finished 18th – a few top runners dropped out/ didn’t start for various reasons, she was pretty close on all the other runners too – which was cool – she’s in tune. 

Around 6:45 we made the trek from the parking lot closer to the lake area, the start and finish line. 

After her pre race speech, we were off. 203 miles of the open road. 

“That was the start?” , anti-clamtic.

Take it slow, take it easy, stay disciplined was our plan. This would be our longest run to date by over 100 miles. 

Since we had a bunch of energy and felt great, Corie the crew chief was going to go do her thing for the first day or two, and then meet up with us to be crew. 

I carried more water than needed, now thinking it may have been more than 3 Liters? I brought two nathan 18ooz handhelds and attached a carabiner to them. It turns out that the carabiner hooked right onto my fanny pack straps, no bouncing, unnoticeable – it was perfect. Along with two 10 oz hip water bottles, 2 500 ML water bottles in my vest, along with a liter emergency water bottle in the pack of the vest. It was a great call in my opinion. 

We walked most of this 203 mile journey. The plan is to have 50 mile days, four days in a row, and finish on sunday. 

We saw ohio slowly, Amish country – buggies and horses (which all have their own struts by the way), and these peculiar bikes. 

28 miles in, the people at conversion station provided an aid station. The support was a moral boost. The Goji berries they had were a hit, a superfood that I happen to love. 

They had pickles there to, I gobbled one down. Bad call. I had to pull over for a minute while I belched uncontrollably. That weird issue passed and we kept moving. 

The thing with these ultra races is if you hang on long enough – the storm always passes. 

I’ll learn this lesson more and more with each race, especially this one. 

No real food was on this route for 35 miles. We ended up stopping at a subway in warren around 7:00 pm. I got three veggie hoagies. Another 5 miles to the hotel that we were staying at. 

12 hours later, 50 miles covered, we made it to the hotel. A small win that we all appreciated. We were all hurting. Pete must have said “shew”  about 1,000 times. 

I brought some Tailwind rebuild and started to drink that, mixing it in paper cups. A shower was on the agenda too, along with getting my feet up on the wall (which I fell asleep like that) 

Day 2. 4:30 am Friday, September 28, 2022 

Doctoring my feet up, blister tape, body glide. It’s quiet. Pete says, “got hit by the mac truck or something ya?” 

I could only laugh. 

We were out the door by 5 starting back on our journey or I thought we were.(btw we didn’t cut the course, we left and entered the course at the same point each time.) I had to go back because I forgot a hoagie and two water bottles in the fridge. I told them I’d catch up at the bridge. 

I didn’t feel like carrying the hoagie, I never eat this early in the morning. I ate it in two bites anyway. 

We needed food, dunkin donuts was less than a mile away, on the course. 


But we needed a car to get food, and we weren’t allowed in the drive-thru – so more gas station food next store was our only option. 

We did find bananas there which was at least a major come-up for me. I had two. A bought a gatorade too, something I never do – feeling low about the dunkin thing I guess. It was going to be 27 miles to the next city of Salem.

It was early and the people of the area didn’t seem friendly And again, a stroke of magic, a friendly face walks in. 

I explained what was going on and asked if he could drive one of us through the gas station, BINGO. We’re in. 

We got some coffee and a little food from dunkin and were on our way. 

By 8 am, the sun was out and we were loosened up and feeling good.

People asked us a bunch whenever we went into stores, “are you guys okay” “what are you doing” “where are you walking to?” 

The most touching ones: “do you need a ride?” “Can I help you?”

We received those more than a few times. Such a lookout. God wanted us to finish was another saying that came around a time or two. 

Blisters started to come around 57 miles. Need to stay on top of this. 

Changed my stride up. Pete started getting stomach issues. 

And We made it to Salem. 85 miles into our journey. We met a local ultra runner named Dustin by mere chance. Or was it chance? 

He lightened the mood, told us things around town, and recommended some spots. 

Serigo was ahead of us at choices. Kaylee and I went there. 

Pete and Ma went to some Mexican place. 

This is where we split up, by accident – for one reason or another. Was this how it was supposed to be? 

It’s how it was, and we only dealt with the facts. Pete and Ma ended up staying in Lisbon, we pushed onto Wellsville, the turnaround point – maybe 35 miles away. 

But we eventually caught up to Sergio about mile 85. Which was a blessing. Sergio’s new name is doc, because he fixed Kaylee and myself up more then a handful of times – in BIG ways too.

Corie came around this time to start her role as crew captain, another blessing.  

Spoiler alert: it’d be us three and Corie from miles 85 – 160, with some highs and lows along the way. 

Around mile 93 I started reporting shin issues. We got to Corie, fixed our shit, and pressed on. 

We started our day around 5 am, We got to the turnaround point around midnight – Nicholson stadium in Wellsville.  A long day. 

Where do we sleep? It was starting to rain. The crummy 6-room motel was booked up. Pete brought a tent in the crew car “just in case.” 

The only thing left to do was to pitch a tent right out front of this damn stadium. 

After about 15 minutes and 4 of us trying to get this thing up, we got it up. We noticed there was a worker watching us, we started to come over

Before he can even say a word we let him know that we’re leaving first thing in the morning

And again, by a stroke of ‘magic’

He explains that he can’t let us sleep outside tonight, he opened up the visiting team locker room and told us to sleep there. A roof over our head, surrounded by walls, out of the elements, we had outlets for electricity, a toilet (no doors) running water, and a concrete floor. It wasn’t the ritz but it felt like it at the time.

God wanted us to finish.  

We got to bed after 1 am. 

(PS this man that let us in, I don’t even know his name – again, thank you. He emailed the race director and let her know that they can supply support/locker room at the stadium for the runners next year, how amazing is that?) 

Day 3 Saturday September 29, 2022, 102 miles traveled. 

We woke at 4 am. We realized three more runners found their way into the locker room. Thank God they didn’t kill or hurt us, we joked about it, God kept us alive because He wanted us to finish we reasoned in our sleep-deprived state. 

(It turns out, earlier Sergio found someone’s pants and they caught up to get them, he then of course let them into our penthouse.)

We were on the road by 4:30: Dark. Cold. The plan was to make it 50 miles back to Warren. It was slow rolling for the first few hours. The course leaving Wellsville was hilly and twisty. This was a major low for me, us? 

“Can we stop just for a second?” I asked more than once. 

Light broke and that lifted our spirits. Being that this course is an out and back, we started to pass some other runners that were heading towards the stadium, of course stopping to shoot the shit, especially to the homies. That lifted our spirits too. 

I had a blister forming on my heel – the motto “take care of your feet early and often” 

We stopped on a guardrail so I could fix this. Sergio and Kaylee fixed some issues too. 

Around mile 110, Craig, a crew for another runner saw us coming up and pulled over. He supplied us with some much needed liquids (it was early, Corie was still back getting situated with the car and the dog, etc) But this act by Craig right here, strikes a chord in me. It seems like every time we are pickled out… something comes around, a road angel ‘saves us.. God wants us to finish. 

Our plan into this was going to be “200 meta” (said in Pete’s Burma accent) pretty much 200-meter walking, 200 meter running…

 but by this point in the race, it was “20 meta” 

… and eventually 10 meta 

Even though we weren’t with Pete, every time we brought this saying up it was like he was there giving us laughter, ,strength, and guidance. 

After a few more miles, Corie supplied some much needed aid (and will be leap frogging every few miles / few hours throughout the rest of the journey)

We made it to the next town, Lisbon. I realized my little shin issue has turned into a slightly bigger shin issue because I had a bump sticking out of my shin the size of half a softball…

Need to stay on top of this. Shoes and socks came off, foot elevated, ice (thanks Serg), and another veggie hoagie. 

After 10 minutes I was ready to keep it moving we packed our gear back up. 

As we were heading out Bob and two other runners caught up, they were the crew that came into our locker room spot at the stadium in the middle of the night. We cracked jokes, laughed, and were on our way. 

By this time people knew there was a race going on, the locals of Lisbon were pretty excited to see us 

A few people even set up an aid station out front of their houses for us.

“Free water for walkers” ….. 

….. we joked that we were actually ultra runners

Dustin, the local we met at Salem, was a hit. He wanted to bring his kids out to supply some aid so we were supposed to meet back in Salem, but we were slow rolling on this day. Tried to get in the area around 1, but it was creeping up near 4? His son had his first football game to get to. 

Instead of bagging the whole thing and leaving, Dustin drove down to meet us, set up a top notch aid station right on the side of the road and we got down. 

Water, gu’s, nutritional yeast, pizza, gummies, CBD cream, Biofreeze, bars, tailwind, coffee, chairs. Dustin and his kids were a hit. 

The kids were super inspired, we reasoned with his son, “we can run 125 miles, we still have 75 to go, can you score us a touchdown?” 

He said he’d do it….

And Dustin sent a video later that day of him scoring a touchdown,  a 60-yard run – it brings tears of joy thinking back on this moment. We sent a video back to Dustin, and we were all amped up off the news. 

Not too much further after this did we meet with Corie in Salem. 130 miles in. It was starting to rain.  Fatigue was setting in, I couldn’t think straight. 

How are you doing? Corie asked 

I’ve been better

I knew we had a long way to go, my body was feeling it. 

Corie saw my struggle and went into coach mode, “the hardest part is over, what do you need, food? Water?”

Snapping me back into reality, I realized I hadn’t been drinking as much as I had been. 

It was going to be a late night. We still had 20-something miles to go and it was already 4 pm. 

We knew we wouldn’t get to warren until after midnight. We’ve been going since 5:30 this morning off 2 or 3 hours of ‘sleep.’ 

After some foot care, readjusting gear, and a bowl rip – we were off. 

An awe-inspiring sunset blessed us this evening, and a quadruple rainbow too. It was incredible to witness. 

Reflecting back on this moment, we said it was God’s way of showing us pure beauty before going into a dark place. 

145 miles in and we met up with Corie for the last aid station until Warren, which was 10 miles out. 

Kaylee and I slept at this aid station for about 10 minutes with our feet up, Sergio fixed his feet. 

The cops pulled up on us here too, a little confused asking if we were all good. Once we were explained that we were running that race – they picked up. They told us a story they found someone in a ditch earlier and they thought they were dead but it was just a runner sleeping. 

After some jokes, we were off. Little did I know about the pain cave I was about to go into. 

My fucking feet, my shin, It’s almost 3 in the morning we’ve been going all day.

It’s pitch dark, and I heard something drop on the ground. It was my battery bank. I picked it up to then realize that my money and ID are gone… fuck. 

After 10 seconds of looking, I said fuck it, no point. We kept moving.  

Between the fatigue, and the pain, my mind started to cave. It needed an outlet and tears were that outlet. For 3 hours. So much pain.

We got to Warren, and planned to sleep in the hotel. Corie was posted up out front and has been sleeping in the car for most of this journey (we turned our CRV into a camper style with a bed) 

There were drug addicts running around though. Sergio and Kaylee went into the hotel, I stayed outside in the car with Corie, just in case anything were to happen 

The reality is I don’t know how much of a fight I had if something were to go down, but I was ready to go. I probably looked more of the drug addict role too. 

We made a deal that if we got to warren, we’d do a 5 hour’s slumber. 

Sunday, Day 4. 155 miles in. 7 am. 

I woke up at 7 though, with all my gear still on. Freezing, had to shit, and 4 hours of sleep. Got out of the car and went into the hotel room to get a shower too. Seeing Kaylee and Sergio laughing “bro where’d you go?” brought my spirits up. 

My shin was lit, and I looked like death. Walking in, someone asked “marathon legs?” 

Voice shaking, teary-eyed “kind of, but 155 miles” 

We got out the door by 8:30 and spirits were high. 155 miles in and we all wanted to finish. 

10 miles in for the day, my shin was completely inflamed causing serious issues. I decided to rest, elevate the foot, and separate myself from the pack.

Although I wanted to finish with them, Looking back, I’m glad I made this decision to slow down. (update: It’s taken more than 3 weeks to recover from this injury)

After almost 2 hours of rest, I started to get ready to rock and roll. This was the first time listening to music during an ultra for me. 

I never do this, nor would I recommend it ever, I started using Advil / alleve – which isn’t uhhh – isn’t the best for us – especially under extreme conditions like ultra running. 

It was Sunday and most of the stores along this route were closed. Sergio ran out of liquid, Corie drove up ahead to meet him and supply some aid. She’s been a huge help and had done something like this for the other runners quite a few times. 

I ended up doing another 20 miles, and eventually called it a day with 30 miles total. It was already 10pm pushing to the finish would be a 3 or 4 am finish. Something I didn’t want to do was push it and fuck my shin up even more – although part of me does wish I pressed on instead of sleeping this last night. 

Shin issues have been going on since mile 95, we are now at 183. 

Sergio ran his last 50 faster than his first 50. He came in 10th. 

Kaylee finished by 1 am, drove home, and then went to school. She came in 12th and was the youngest finisher. 

Corie, Champ, and I fell asleep in a dollar general parking lot featuring a special appearance made by the local police knocking on our window.

Some more explaining. I had to look crazy.  

Monday October 3rd, 2022 Day 5 

I started by 4:30 am and finished by 10:15 am. It was pretty smooth sailing. 

Hanging my ass off the guardrail and shitting off the side was probably the most unusual thing on this section. 

Or it was the fact that I ran the last 3 miles faster than I ran any three miles for this race. 

Isn’t that amazing? After 200 miles, we can still run it in. 

An experience for the books and one that I’ll always remember. 

203 miles. 99:09:39. 18th place 

“There are no finishers, only survivors” 

Thanks, guys. 

Corie, thank you for your continual love and support. For being the best crew someone could ask for, and more importantly, always being there. You inspire me to be the best version of myself.

Kaylee, it was real. 160 miles with someone is incredible. Thank you for all the laughs. For the tears, we soared to some highs and had some crushing lows. We tried not to get too high or too low, but day 3 was like a roller coaster. We imitated coach Pete so much that we actually sound like him now😂. You’re Inspiring to say the least, and I’m thrilled to be a part of our journey. 

Sergio, doc, it was real. We did Hainesport together, and now we did buckeye. Thanks dude. So many laughs. More importantly, thank you for all your help, especially with the doc side of things. Without you, I would’ve been going through extreme issues. Thanks for imparting your wisdom to me, for being an open book and not hiding anything, for pushing us to the finish, and for being an example of what we’re capable of. 

Pete shew, it was real. Thanks for caring so much about us. You brought light and wisdom to the group. Way to soldier on and thanks for letting us bunk in the hotel room. Your 200 meta strategy worked damn good and got the mission accomplished.

Ma, thanks for the crew on the back half, and for the stories you shared. I love the way you live your life, especially with that secret group you have going on. Way to get that first 100-miler knocked out. 

Until next time y’all.

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