Athletics: Brainerd runners participate in Ultramarathon


Even as the rain fell during the early evening Saturday, June 6, Chris Hanson was determined to reach 50 miles.

Hanson along with three others participated in the virtual ultramarathon that started Saturday morning and ended Sunday.

The goal in an ultramarathon is to run 100 miles in 24 hours. Every hour, a participant runs 4.17 miles and if they finish before the hour is up they are still in the race. Then, at the top of the next hour, the race starts again and the runner has an hour to run 4.17. The cycle continues for 24 hours until the last runner is standing.

“If you want to run it real fast you have time to rest, eat, go to the bathroom, whatever,” Hanson said. “But if you want to go real slow then you risk not making it in under an hour.”

Once a runner doesn’t finish the 4.17 miles in under an hour, he or she is out of the race.


“It was a beautiful day,” Hanson said. “It went well during the day, then at 8 o’clock we had storms roll through so it got wet and then it dried out.”

By the time the rain came and went, Hanson was the only Brainerd participant left running. He quit after 50 miles — which is 12 hours of running — and woke up to the next morning to still find people running the race.

“I heard some more thunder and thought ‘this would be a good time to quit,’” Hanson said.

Hanson said he would finish each lap in around 50 minutes giving him 10 minutes to eat and rest before the next lap started.

“Eating and drinking gets harder as the day goes on,” Hanson said. “Then you got to get yourself up to race again.”

Hanson and his three fellow runners named themselves the BUMS (Brainerd Area Ultramarathoners) and the course they ran was the Forestview ski trail.

The original course is in Duluth at Spirit Mountain. With the coronavirus, organizers pushed back the Duluth race to November, but still had the race virtually.

Kevin Robertson is the general manager at the Caribou Coffee in Baxter and also ran in the ultramarathon.


The 31-year-old is recovering from a hip injury and hopes to reach 50 miles like Hanson did one day. He reached 25 miles Saturday.

“Doing a virtual race was very entertaining,” Robertson said. “I thought the people that ran the event did a good job.”

Robertson said the 25 miles is the farthest he ran in a long time, with very little training.

“It was fun,” he said. “It’s always fun to be out in the woods and run around and stuff.”

Candy bars and potato chips were on hand for the racers to eat when they would finish a lap. One of the supporters ordered a pizza for them, so when they finished a lap the runners enjoyed a pizza.

“The strategy is whatever works for putting calories in, that's what you stick with,” Hanson said. “After a while it doesn’t matter how tasty or how good it might be it’s hard to eat things.”

As the race wears on Hanson said it becomes harder and harder to give yourself enough time to get ready for the next hour. It helped that he had his friends running with him.

Once Hanson was the only one still in the race out of the BUMS, one of his friends would bike the path with him to keep him company.


“I had a few die-hard friends out there,” Hanson said.

Overall both Robertson and Hanson hope they can run more ultramarathons in the future.

“It was neat that they were still able to put the event on virtual,” Hanson said. “You could check out the Facebook feeds and see how everyone was doing.”

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

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