Rich McKnight

In the short time Rich has been in MURCA, he has brought us some great discounts and also brings some valuable wisdom and experience in our beloved sport. And Rich’s opinion of “junk miles” is music to my ears; there is no such thing as junk miles and it pains me to hear people say those words. So MURCA, here’s more about Rich, in his own words.

I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, commonly referred to as Mob Town USA. A tough hard working steel mill town. My middle and high school years were spent at the local boxing gym getting my ass kicked by my older brothers. Such good memories!

MOS 1833 Assault Amphibian Vehicle (YATYAS). I was based out of Camp Lejeune, NC. and did two 6 month Med Floats in the Mediterranean. I was tasked with a unique job during the Golf War/Operation Desert Storm. I was assigned to a General Engineer Support Unit, GESU. My Amtrak and crew were tasked to breach one of six lanes into Iraq by using 1450 lbs of c4.

I met my wife, Erin, (also an accomplished and bad ass ultra runner) at a trail race and we’ve been running and racing together ever since. And yes, sometimes she beats me. I’ve finished 55 ultras, of which, 15 were 100 miles or longer finishes. My Western States 100 finish was in epic fashion. I literally passed out crossing the finish line. In 2015, I ran Vol States 500k which is a point-to-point race ran across Tennessee in July on the road. Of course, I ran the solo self supported division. Currently, I’m training for Arches 50 mile race in January. I turn 50 the day of the race and am shooting for a PR <9:30. Don’t tell my wife but secretly I’d like to toe the line at The Barkley Marathons.

Words of wisdom:

(1) Ultra running is a mindset. I hear runners all the time saying “I signed up for XYZ Race” and “I hope I can finish” or “I’m gonna try and finish”…etc. With that mindset you will fail. I never toe the line thinking like that. I have 4 100 mile DNF’s and all were because I gave up. I QUIT. My mind beat me. If race directors would list runners as a QUITTER and not a DNF I think more would finish. Webster definition of quitter: “a person who gives up easily or does not have the courage or determination to finish a task.”

(2) Miles in the bank. Each mile you run is one more in the bank. The more miles you have in the bank the easier it will be to have a strong mindset and finish. There is no such thing as “junk miles”. I’ll take junk miles over no miles. Deposit those miles.

(3) Nutrition is tricky. One thing is certain. If you have no gas in the tank the engine can’t move the car. The average or median marathon finishing time in 2016 for men in U.S. marathons was 4:22:07, according to Running USA. Do you know why runners hit “the wall” in a marathon around 18-20 miles? I do. The body has around 3 hours of stored energy available for use. That puts the average marathoner around mile 18 and they bonk “hit the wall”. Simply put, if you’re not eating, you run out of “gas”. This is compounded the longer the distance of the race. Eat early and eat often.

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