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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

24 Hours of Curitiba, Brazil - May 17th, 2008

What a fun run!!!
This race was very different than most ultras I've ever competed in. There was about 60 runners seeing how far (how many laps) we could run in exactly 24 hours. This race was held in Curitiba, Brazil on a college campus sport's track (400m track).

My goal was to try and run 110 miles or more, but I finished with about 98.3 miles (398 laps). Below are tons of pictures and my race report.

click here for:
Official Results

First we had an awesome dinner at a local Churrascaria (Brazilian Steakhouse) that specializes in pasta....17 kinds of pasta selections to make...MMMmmm...

Morning of the race. The race didn't start until 10am so we had plenty of time to get ready and set up our own rest areas. Lots of people brought tents for their family, friends and support crews.

I was selected to participate in a special research project (medical/scientific research). The day before the race and race day morning they had some of us do several exams, including an Echocardiogram and blood draws. We repeated this process of exams immediately after the race ended.

And they're off!!! The race started with the signing of the Brazilian National Anthem. Standing next to me at "Attention" is my friend and Brazilian Marine, Sebastiao DaGauia Neto. He ended up running well and took 4th place overall. After the nation anthem we did the count down and started running....only 23 hours 59 seconds to go...hehehe.

I had only run 3 laps around the track when Mario Lacerda asked me and Joao Sackes (who will be running the Badwater ultra marathon with me in July) to stop and talk for a while. It was killing me to stand there and watch all the other runners doing lap after lap while I was getting behind. But Mario, a Badwater Veteran and finisher, had his reasons to stop us from running at the beginning of this event.

We stood there and talked about our goals and plans for the Badwater Ultra for an entire 30 minutes. The other runners were starring at us and making funny comments about us, but Mario's whole point was that we needed to learn to hold ourselves back at the beginning of a long race like Badwater (135 miles). He explained that most people who do not finish Badwater drop out soon after passing StovePipe Wells (42 miles)...because it's the flattest and hottest part of the race and people start off too fast and too hard.

It was a great lesson to learn and then after calming my nerves Mario let Joao and I get back to the race and start running laps. For the next couple hours I ran and ran and ran...

and ran and ran...I had several friends show up to run with me for as long as they could. (This girl above, running with me is a deaf friend of mine. She only speaks and communicates via sign language...she ran about 5-6 miles with me. Thanks Katherine!

Above is a picute of me and Raphael Bonnato, a local Brazilian, I think the youngest runner in this event. Raphael and I stayed very very close (distance wise) the entire duration of the race. The last few hours of the race I pulled 5 - 6 miles ahead of him after recovering from nausea and a blister on the bottom of my foot.

Just as the day was heating up....along came Mario again to perturb me and distract me from reaching my goal of 110 miles...hahaha. He told me I need to use this race as training for Badwater. Then he gave me a big winter coat and gloves to simulate the extreme heat and sweating that I will encounter in Death Valley.

He told me to run with the coat on until sunset!!! I've never sweat so much in my life.

Medical staff was available during the race and Mario encouraged Joao and I to check our blood pressure often while running in the heat with our coats on. My blood pressure was fine every checkin.

There was music playing all day and all and drink available anytime, even several hot meals provided to the athletes.

I figured I'd just eat and run at the same time so I could try and meet my goal despite loosing half an hour at the beginning of the race. I also knew that putting my body through such extreme heat and losing so much fluids and electrolytes that later during the cold night I would probably feel nauseated and loose some more time lying down and doing a lot of walking to recover.

Yep....sure enough after 14 hours of running (about midnight) I started to feel sick to my stomach. Many of the other athletes had already dropped out of the race due to stomach problems on that day. Several had dropped before night fall too.

The temperatures dropped as the night went on and I ended up changing into dry warmer clothers 3-4 times throughout the night.

I want to personally thank everyone who sent me emails during the race. Here I am running with a handful of emails the race director handed me in the middle of the night. Everyone was jealous because I recieved more emails than probably everyone else combined...hahahaha. Your words of encouragement helped me get through many hours of the race. THANK YOU!!!

I've discovered that one of the best things to help my stomack feel better when I'm nauseated is Non-Alcoholic Beer...the bitter taste and lots of bubbles sure does the trick and gets me back to running quickly.

As morning came I knew I was too far behind my 110 mile goal, but wanted to try and reach the 100 mile mark (162km). I had sweated so much the day before wearing that darn coat that my feet had gotten very wet and resulted in a painful blister right on the bottom of my foot that normally I never get.

My nausea passed finally and I felt good and strong and knew I could still run a lot if my foot felt better after popping the blister.

I ran like a crazy man the last two hours. I think people showing up for the finish thought I was winning the race because I was running laps around people...hahaha (most were just walking and trying to survive two more hours).

My wife and daughter and sister-in-law and brother-in-law were there to see me finish running the 24 hours. Above is my daughter Taila reaching her hand out to give me five (which she did on nearly every lap for almost an

Finally the clock was getting closer to 24 hours. When I finished what I thought would be my last lap the clock said 23:58:?? something and I wondered to myself if it was possible to run, well sprint, one more lap before 24hours. So I ran as hard as I could and barely finished another lap just seconds before the end of the race. It was AWESOME!!!

398 laps - 159.2km = Approximately 98.3 miles in 24 hours.

I wanted to just lay down and die after that lap but I had too many people congratulating me and taking pictures so I tried to stay on my feet until after the awards ceremony.

Here I am recieving my finisher's medal from the Race Director, Mozart. Congratulations and thank you Mozart. The race was a HUGE SUCCESS. This was the 3rd annual 24 Hours of Curitiba and I was the first ever american to compete in the race :o)

Below is a picture with everyone who was present that participated in the BR135 Ultra back in January in Minas Gerais, Brazil. It was a fantastic "family reunion".

This was my first podium finish and trophey I've ever received running ultra marathons. I placed 2nd in my division and took 11th overall.

Taila of course wanted to join me as I recieved my trophy from the incredible Monica Otero, first ever Brazilian woman to finish Badwater and the first Brazilian to ever finish the Sahara - RunningThePlanet race too.

Is there anything more wonderful than sharing what you love with your family and friends?
I love you and miss you Taila!!!


Gary said...

Awesome, Jarom. I have been waiting and waiting to read about this. You also continue to inspire me to do better.

Anjie said...

I still think you are crazy, but what a wonderful accomplishment! Way to go. I am looking forward to hearing about the race in the desert in July. Good luck!

Carl said...

Amazing race! I can't begin to understand running in a parka for hours during a hot day. You must be in terrific condition as you head towards BW :-)

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