A Hundred Miles of Heaven and Hell is officially called the Wasatch 100 Mile Endurance Race. Runners have just 36 hours to run a total elevation gain and loss is almost 48 thousand feet from Kaysville to Midway.
Not all of them finished. But KUER’s Diane Maggipinto talked to one who did: Jack Carrick of Saratoga Springs clinched last place.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Diane Maggipinto: You start in the dark. There was a little bit of rain you had to contend with.
Jack Carrick: Yeah. Which actually was a blessing in some ways. It cooled everything down. It minimized the dust on the trail. So, the beginning of the race you start in the valley and you have 5000 feet of climb. When you get to the top and you feel a bit relieved, but I knew I had a long ways to go. I tried to pace myself and I think that's where I lost about an hour off my pace — slipping and sliding and trying to stay on my feet. So, there's another aid station — Big Mountain — and I was coming into there. My family surprised me and that just lifted my spirits and it really made me think — this is direct parallel to life. When you're when you're down in the dumps and you're feeling low — like you can't go on. There's always a family member or friend to reach out to you and just offer you that extra bit of encouragement.
DM: You pick up the pacer at 50 miles. It's about 7:00 at night. You don't have much light left. Now let's move into the night time.
JC: I would consider my first two pacers Mark Davis and Ben Hooley just kind of my entertainment. They weren't that pushy and maybe that's what I needed. Maybe I could get myself through those first 67 miles.
It was about around mile 85 that things started falling apart.
DM: Were you cognizant that you only had a couple of minutes to make that cut off?
JC: I realized that I wasn't going to make it. I was in a deep gully. It was Pot Hollow is what it’s called. I had a bit of a climb to get up to my last pacer and he saw that I was struggling, and that I'd already declared defeat.
I was like, “There's no way I can make it. I've done the math. My pace is way behind.”
Dave Ellis came running down the hill. “Let's get moving!” He's all, “you cannot quit.” It wasn't even in his vocabulary that we were going to drop out. He just said, “You've trained too hard for this. I know you've got it in you to push forward.”
So, when we got to the top of that hill I just said, “Yeah, I can run.” And made it with three minutes to spare at that cut off. And that's where I realized I was going to finish.
DM: And you run — to the finish. And you make it in — what was your final time?
JC: It was 35 hours and 57 minutes with a little bit of time to spare.
DM: So, you had about like two minutes plus to spare. Something like that. So, you were really right on pace from that last check in.
DM: Did you ever imagine that you would nearly sprint to the finish?
JC: I didn't think it would come down to that. Like down to the wire where I was literally trying to sneak under that last few minutes.
DM: This was your first 100-miler.
DM: What’s next?
JC: Well, I’m going to be honest. There was a lot of negotiation with my wife, Carma. It takes a lot to train for these. And so, she’s like, “I think this is a one-time thing. You get one go at it.”
Maybe that’s what threw me over the top in finishing, I didn’t know if I’d get the second chance. I’ll do some races, it just may not be a hundred.
DM: You posted your story on Facebook. Some 75 comments from people. I'm assuming you didn't know all of them and you answered almost every single one of them. What were you thinking when you posted?
JC: When I posted I really just wanted to express my gratitude for what I had experienced. People genuinely have an interest in seeing people finish and succeed, and I felt that and made that connection with everybody.
DM: So, watching the footage of you crossing the line. Pretty emotional. Tell us how you felt.
JC: Drained. I was very emotional at that time.
DM: And did it make any difference to finish last?
JC: Honestly, it didn't matter to me. I was wanting to finish under the time allotted and I’d had a predicted time but it just didn't work out for me. And that's the way it goes with these ultras — it's just to finish it everything has to go almost perfect for you.