Casual runners knock off 5k or 10k races, the serious ones attempt marathons, but not many even consider what John Sheedy took on in late July.
The product manager who works primarily on the B2W Track and Schedule products covered the distance of nearly four marathons, completing the Vermont 100 Endurance Race. The event raised close to $150,000 for Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, a non-profit organization that provides sports and recreational activities for people with disabilities throughout New England.
Sheedy finished in 26 hours and 46 minutes, well under the official 30 hour cutoff limit established by race organizers. He was tired and sore, but happy to have conquered what he set out to do. His longest race prior to this was a 100-kilometer (62-mile) event last summer.
“The whole experience was surreal, and I would recommend it to anyone,” he says with a smile. “I really have to thank my incredible crew of friends and family members for their tireless work following me, pacing me and taking care of me at each aid station along the way,” he adds. “I felt like a NASCAR driver with a professional pit crew.”
Sheedy was one of about 350 runners to leave the starting line in West Windsor, Vermont at 4:00 am, guided by headlamps. The event was run primarily on dirt roads and trails over a course that climbed and descended a grueling total of 17,000 vertical feet, compounding the challenge of the 100-mile distance.
“The best way I find to approach a daunting challenge like this is to break it down into more reasonable chunks and take them on one at a time,” says Sheedy. In Vermont, the chunks were the distances between each of the eight aid stations spaced along the trail where race organizers and his own “crew” provided food, water and all-important encouragement.
Sheedy reached the checkpoint at mile 76 before the distance and the steep climbs and descents began to really slow him down. Still, he remained confident he could finish. “When I reached the last aid station at mile 95, relief of being within five miles of the finish was amazing,” he recalls. That and some waffles and maple syrup at the final rest stop provided a boost of energy. “That last stretch was really special, because my daughter Ashley met me there, and we had some wonderful father-daughter time together as she paced me to the finish line.”