2006 Javalina Jundred 100-Mile Trail Run 17-year Old Boy Wonder Michael Hayden
by Nancy Shura
Michael Hayden first contacted me in August this year, a few weeks before the Bulldog 50K Ultra Run, asking permission to enter the race, at age 16. I promised to check on his credentials before making my decision. A quick search on the Internet confirmed that indeed, Michael had completed two Avalon 50-Mile runs and a couple of 50Ks. I decided to bend the rules to allow this kid to run. Michael delivered an impressive performance at Bulldog, finishing 5th overall, with a time of 4:25:48. Soon after crossing the B'Dog finish line, Michael stated his intentions to run his first 100-mile endurance run at Rio Del Lago, in northern California, while still a 16 year old. Unfortunately for Michael, his attempt at RDL ended in a DNF, having overslept and missed the start, he ran too fast, attempting to make up time; and he lost a large amount of weight, early in the race.
Soon after his RDL attempt, Michael asked if my husband and I would crew him in November, at Javalina Jundred 100-Mile Run, near Phoenix, AZ. Although Michael had his sights set on running 100-miles as a 16 year old, he would settle for running JJ-100 just five days after turning 17. We agreed to help Michael, knowing that an experienced crew would improve his chances of success and hopefully keep him out of harms way.
The Course: 6 loops of 15.3 miles each, with a final short loop of 9.2 miles = 101 miles.
The Plan: Complete loops 1-3 no faster than 3:00 each, then see what Michael could do. After Michael's DNF at Rio Del Lago-100, the ultimate goal was to finish; however we knew a time close to 24:00 was possible.
6:00AM: Reminders at the start… "Be smart Michael… stick to the plan… you are here to finish."
Mile 15.3: At 8:11AM the lead pack appeared at base camp, with Michael hot on their heels. (Split running time = 2:ll). As soon as Michael saw my face, he began to protest, "I know, I know… I'm trying to go slow."
The scale showed Michael's weight down 5% so we gave him a mandatory "time out" in the chair… to replenish him and to let the lead pack get out of sight. A few experienced ultra running father figures gathered around Michael, echoing sentiments, "Dude… slow down". Michael left base camp station at 8:27AM.
Mile 30.6: Michael returned to base camp at 10:45AM (split running time = 2:23)… "I'm sorry… sorry… trying to slow down". Michael's weight was up to within a pound of baseline. Still, we enforced another time out in the chair to hopefully calm this racehorse down. "Michael, remember RDL. You can't keep this up. Get yourself under control. There will be no dropping out here!" Michael headed out of the station at 11:00AM.
Mile 45.9: Michael came in to base camp at 2:09PM (split running time = 3:09). We might be encouraged, however, we knew fatigue was setting in. Michael's weight was down again although he claimed to be eating and drinking. He was having some cramps in his thighs and was heavily salted on his skin and clothing. He said he was taking 2 salt caps every half-hour. We decided to stop the salt caps and had Michael drink a half-liter of ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) that is high in potassium. Michael reached for a turkey sandwich… "Michael, you're a vegetarian!"… "Uhh… whatever"… and he ate it. Michael returned to the course at 2:27PM, accompanied by a pacer.
Mile 61.2: Loop 4 was a challenge for Michael. Shortly after leaving the base camp station, Michael said he needed sleep and after laying down on the trail, he was convinced to go the next station where he spent about an hour sleeping and gathering himself before continuing on. He arrived at base camp at 7:35PM. His weight was down 6%, which is substantial for a guy who only weighs 125 with his running shoes on. His leg cramps were better, however he was feeling depleted. The pacer's descriptions of the last loop sounded like agony and ecstasy… periods of agonizingly slow walking followed by spurts of 7-minute-per-mile running… granted, this kid needs to learn the art of ultra pacing. Considering his 1-hour down time on the course, and stops at two other stations, his split time of 5:08 was still not bad. We gave him enough time to down more ORS, eat, and rest some... we didn't want to risk another DNF. Michael left this aid station at 8:05PM, accompanied by a new pacer, who promised to make Michael eat.
Mile 76.5: I set my alarm to sleep from 9PM-11PM, knowing Michael could appear ANYTIME after 11PM. I finally checked in with officials at midnight and was told that Michael was sleeping again at a station on the course. I bundled up by the fire to wait what would unfold. At 1:25AM, Michael came into the base camp station looking better than ever, and indeed his weight was back up to baseline. Michael's pacer declared that the nap was a huge help and Michael was feeling good. Michael said that he had a mental battle at mile 70 and made the decision to keep going. He spent 20-minutes filling up with hot soup and PBJ sandwich before leaving the station at 1:45AM, promising he would not lie down again.
Mile 91.8: Michael arrived at base camp at 6:10AM... no napping the last loop!!! His split time was 4:25. He appeared focused, ready to wrap up this puppy. He flew out of the station with his pacer at 6:17AM, barely hearing my parting words… "Okay Michael, now you can run as fast as you want".
The Finish: Waiting… waiting… waiting… Michael came into view, legs flying, having a wonderful Sunday morning run! There was no pacer in sight… he had graciously given Michael the go ahead to run his heart out. Michael crossed the finish line in 25:58:42 (split time for loop 7 = 1:41). According to the race timer, Michael's loop 7 split was the second fastest split time among the entire field of runners.
Michael showed tremendous grace under fire, to his crew, to the race management and to the other runners on the course. He is a fine young man who will do well in all his endeavors. Although he may run faster 100s, I'm sure this race will be life changing for him.
(Note: A runner averaging Michael's pace, without the long naps and cutting his base camp station time down to 10-minute stops, would have run approximately 23:15 for the course).Back to story index page