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Apr. 29, 2008
Ultra For A Cure
Running's a good time. Especially when the weather turns a bit more favorable. But when you're an ultra runner, you've got to really like running, regardless of weather the sun's out. I mean, you must really really like running. Just take a look at Michael Kanning, who, at 16 years old, does a lot of running. Even when the weather isn't so hot...Here's the latest and greatest of what he's got up his sleeve—just a little 100-mile race and a bit of fundraising while he's at it. Not too shabby if I shall say so myself.

In September 2007 I wrote a piece for the Clif Blog describing my intent to run the Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance Run as an “Ultra For A Cure” fundraiser for cancer research. Finishing this race would fulfill my goal of completing a 100-mile race at age 15 for a worthy cause. It would also be the most difficult goal to reach.

It was cold, dark, and raining as I stumbled into the Willow Creek aid station, and I was exhausted at an extreme previously unknown to me. I had been running, shuffling, walking, and now staggering for the last 23 ½ hours, and, having reached Willow Creek, mile 86.4, collapsed into a chair. It had taken me 1 hour and 40 minutes to cover the previous 2.8 miles. I stared into the dirt, crushed granite illuminated by the feeble light of my headlamp. In my mind I was desperately striving to cultivate the strength to propel my broken body 13.6 miles further to the finish line. But why? What drove me, someone still too young to drive a car, to push myself to such an extreme?

Perhaps the ultrarunner’s determination to reach his goal cannot be neatly defined. But 10 minutes later I arose from that chair and continued to hobble down the trail, because my heart understood that finishing the run would be the fulfillment of a worthy goal, an inspiration to others, and a service to humanity. Four hours later, I finished the Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance Run in 27:47:44, becoming the youngest person ever to complete a 100-mile race. Crossing the finish line, my face radiant with the beatific feeling of victory, I felt like the happiest person in the world.

Seven months have passed since then, and I’m going to run 100 miles for the Ultra For A Cure cause once more. On June 7, 2008, I will attempt to break the 100 mile Junior National Record of 19:13:12 at the San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run as the 3rd Ultra For A Cure to fund cancer research.

I can’t wait to cross that finish line, and I will persist without exception to get there.

To donate to Michael's cause, head on over to his blog. Proceeds go directly to the ACS, which funds innovative and groundbreaking research to find the cure for the millions alive today and so that future generations never get the disease.

Posted by:
Amy, Miss Web Gal
Team Clif Bar

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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