U-Haul customer service representative Devon Kelts didn’t just run an ultra-marathon. He ran one uphill!
Kelts, of U-Haul Moving and Storage of Downtown San Francisco, decided to run the 50-mile ultra-marathon after a friend and lifelong runner challenged him to do it. So Kelts signed up for the Marin Ultra Challenge, a trail race in Northern California that, oh by the way, includes an 11,000-foot elevation gain.
Kelts is an accomplished runner with seven marathons, two 50-kilometer races and a half-marathon to his credit. But this was an entirely different animal.
“I’ve never thought of myself as a superstar runner, but I’m very competitive,” Kelts proclaimed. “I was really scared at first, but I knew a proper attitude would help me overcome my fear.”
Ultra-Marathon Training Regimen
During the three months that followed, Kelts followed a strict training regimen that included hour-long runs Monday through Friday. There were longer 18- to 24-mile runs in the hills of Berkeley, Calif., on the weekends. Also, he stuck to a strict diet that focused on grains, lemon water, lots of fruits and some lean meats.
“It was hard to stick to the routine sometimes,” Kelts confessed. “Some of the long runs were like pulling teeth because I’d be on the trail for three to four hours at a time.”
One of his main sources of motivation came from other U-Haul Team Members.
“I had a lot of support and encouragement at work,” Kelts said. “It was nice to hear that they were inspired by what I was doing, because that motivated me and helped me to stay on course.”
After months of intense and rigorous training, race day finally arrived. And it didn’t take long for Kelts to realize the immense challenge that was ahead.
“There was an intense climb toward the start,” he explained. “I was ready to die in the first hour of the race!”
To overcome all of the obstacles in front of him, Kelts just took it one step at a time. When thoughts of giving up crept into his head, or the pain and exhaustion became almost too much to bear, he dug down deep and persevered.
“It was such an intense feeling to think that I just pushed myself to get 25 miles out and that was only halfway,” Kelts reminisced. “I started wondering how I was going to finish. But I got a second wind around mile 42 and pretty much sprinted the rest of the way. I was just so excited to get it over with.”
He Did It!
Kelts crossed the finish line in 13 hours, 31 minutes and 33 seconds — one of only 136 people to finish the race out of 300 people who started it.
“This experience expanded my idea of what is possible and reaffirmed my ability to commit to things and overcome seemingly impossible obstacles,” Kelts said. “I’ve always been an all-or-none type of person. I thrive at redlining it to see what’s next. The exhilaration when you have that breakthrough is amazing!”
What’s the most you’ve ever pushed yourself? Tell us about your achievements in the comments section!