Ultra-Marathon Kid


On September 1st, I attempted my first 100 mile race. A winding 2.5 mile course through grass, dirt, mud and a little bit of concrete that you would run 40 times. Almost 50 runners originally registered, with about 30 starting the race and only 18 of them finishing to earn the coveted belt buckle. Throughout the early hours of the course I noticed a young kid running with an adult and figured he had to be running the 25K or heck, maybe even the 50K. The hours would go on and the youngster was still trucking along, positive, looking strong and fresh. It was around 18 hours into the race when I overheard someone say to another runner that the kid had recently passed the 50 mile mark and was running the hundred miler. I was in absolute shock! At the 34 hour mark, I shuffled along to complete my race. As I limped to my car I saw Orie, taking a break in his chair, with 7.5 miles to go. I stopped and gave him a work of encouragement and started stalking the races Facebook page for the next 24 hours wondering if young Orie was able to finish the race before the 40 hour cut off. That's when I saw this and smiled!


I was able to get in touch with Orie's family and talk to them about the race. I learned from this 12 year old that we need to remember that running can and should be fun and that there is so much to enjoy about running and life in general. When asked what made him sign up for the race, he simply stated "I like to run!"

What was your training like? Runs, walks, workouts, mileage, etc...

Some days I didn’t feel like getting u,p especially when it was cold or drizzling. We would do 3 weekday work outs usually 4 to 6 miles a day. Then on the weekends we’d do our long runs. At the end of our training we were doing 25 miles on sat and 20-ish on Sunday. My mom tried to find trail marathons or 50K's to use as training runs so I wouldn’t get bored with training.


What was your strategy for pacing, hydration, refueling etc.....

I had my dad, mom and 3 sisters to help pace and crew me. My sister Sabrina tore her ACL playing ultimate frisbee so she couldn’t help pace. But everyone else took a turn and it kept me from getting bored. I tried to drink one bottle of water, then switch to Gatorade, then to tailwind each lap. I like to eat early and eat often. My friend Mr. Mark taught me that. I also wanted to run when it was cool and walk when it got hot out. I always checked my pee to make sure it wasn’t too yellow or too clear.

What was one of your favorite things about the race and why?

My two favorite things about the race were the frogs in the pond. I was trying to catch them and one jumped up and kicked me in the face. I also liked that I could see my crew every 2.5 miles.


What was your toughest moment of the race and why? How did you overcome it?

My knee started hurting and I was getting tired at mile 87. My mom and I stopped and said a prayer for strength and to ask God to let me finish if it was His will. I felt better for a while but then I got tired again at mile 92. I took a gel with caffeine in it and I felt peppy again. I changed my shoes and my crew rubbed my knee with Bio-freeze. That seemed to help a lot.

Did you listen to music? If so, what did you listen to?

I used music for a few laps. My mom downloaded Elvis and LOTS of Johnny Cash song.s I also have Men At Work and I really like the Rhinestone Cowboy.

Did you sleep at all during breaks? If so, how many times, how long?

My first break came at 3 p.m. We showered to get the salt off, changed clothes and rested until 4:30 p.m. I also played UNO for 10 minutes with my sister Erika. I ate a mountain house chicken and dumplings. The second break was at midnight. I showered again, changed clothes and this time I slept until 3 a.m. I was tired when I got up and it took me a few minutes to get moving. I didn’t rest again until I crossed the finish line at 9:45 p.m. Sunday night.


Which did you find harder to deal with, the heat or the sloppy terrain from the rain?

The HEAT! We have way sloppier trails in Pennsylvania. There is a lot of mud and rocks in Oil Creek where we train.

Do you plan to do more of these or was this a one time thing? Why or why not?

This was actually my second attempt at 100 miles. Last year I tried it at the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon 100. I didn’t make it because my knee was bugging me and my mom and dad didn’t want to send me in the dark to the next aid station 13 miles away. So I had to stop at 62 miles. I want to do it again so I can have more buckles than my dad!

One of my favorite things about the race was the amazing aid station. There was everything from the traditional ultra-marathon snacks like M&M's and other assorted candies. There was the fruit, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the salted potatoes, pretzels, pickles, and hydration. But then came the really good stuff like Domino's pizza, cheese quesadillas, bacon, popsicles, grilled cheese sandwiches, and more! When asking Orie, he stated "I really liked the 'special feedings' that the aid station made for me. They let me have gummy bears, oreo cookies and egg sandwiches before they let the others have some."

One of the nice things about ultra's in general, and especially this one was the camaraderie. Constantly seeing people on the looped trail meant runners cheering each other one and encouraging them. Even though I feel like Orie was inspiring us more than us inspiring him, he appreciated the comments during the race. "The other runners really encouraged me to keep going too. My sisters were also really nice to me (that doesn't always happen)." Continuing with his amazing spirit and personality, he wanted to take a moment to give thanks. "I’d like to thank the race director Mr. Thompson for letting me run and for letting us camp in the arena. Also the aid station volunteers for the good food, and Squirrels Nut Butter for keeping me from getting chaffed. Above all I’d like to thank God for protecting me and my family on our trip and during the race and for the strength he gave me to finish".


His family also had some things to say about Orie and his race...

His father Matt: It was a great race to learn how to run a 100 miler.

His sister Jolene: I enjoyed pacing my brother because this will be the last time for a while that I’ll get to spend with him before I leave for the Air Force.

His sister Sabrina: I only got to pace one lap and that was the last one because I was on crutches because of my ACL injury But I was super happy to be there when he crossed the finish line.

His sister Erika: I liked playing UNO with my sisters and dad. I liked seeing Orie every time he came in to the aid station.

His mother Monica: I enjoyed getting to spend tons of time talking about everything from what size engines semi trucks have in them to “I wonder if there are alligators in that pond”. I also didn’t like the cottonmouth snake we saw either!

In the end, I believe we all left inspired by Orie and gained a new love and passion for the sport of running. While most kids around his age, or even adults spent their Labor Day weekend relaxing, a 12 year old set out to reach his goal of running 100 miles and accomplished it.


#Running #UltraMarathon #100Miler #Wildcat100 #WildcatUltra #12YearsOld #OrieHepler #WhoIsRufioRex #RufioRex

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