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Q&A with our runners in the Eastern States 100

Runwell is proud to be the official charity for the inaugural Eastern States 100, which is sure to be both gorgeous and grueling, winding through scenic Eastern Pennsylvania and the Tiadaghton, Sproul, and Tioga State Forests. We caught up with a few of our own runners that will be competing in the race and asked each a different question about training, nutrition, and motivation needed to push oneself to the limits.

Brian and Ashley, a married couple, are competing in the marathon portion.

What's the best part about running a race with your spouse? What makes it difficult?


"That's a hard question. I would like to say now that I am a little faster, beating her is the best part of the race. However, having my wife out on the course running with me, pushing me when I need a little extra shove, and giving me motivation just to keep one foot in front of the other. We can lean on each other when we need to. Most people don't have that type of support.

The only difficulty we have is our competitive nature. We like to be very competitive and since I was the slower runner for a few years she would beat me. Now that I am faster, I'm starting to beat her in races and watching her try to accept that I am faster has put a little tension on our relationship.

Both Ashley and I had some issues with drugs and alcohol for years. Now we are sober and work at Father Martin Ashley, a treatment center that helps drug addicts an alcoholic get sober.  We are fundraising through Runwell. Runwelll promotes the destigmatization of addiction, supports healthy lifestyles, and helps addicts and alcoholics receive treatment that might not otherwise afford."


“Some of the best parts about running a race with Brian are, at the same time, the most difficult parts!  I could say so much about this but I will try to keep it concise.  I have a feeling that Brian may say similar things.

Brian and I are extremely competitive with one another.  This pushes us to not give up or slow down and to go beyond what our perceived limits might be.  However, we can sometimes be a little too competitive, which has cause many arguments and frustration on the trail.  The only time we ever argue with each other is during long runs.  Brian is faster than I am now which was not the case our first few years of running together!  It's hard to not be a little resentful sometimes ( but I am proud of him either way!).

I have noticed that we can function very well as a team for longer events. Some of my strengths are Brian's weaknesses, and vice versa.  I tend to go out slow and finish strong while Brian is likely to go out fast (I guess that's a man thing) and begin to slow down after a while. We balance each other out. Back and forth, throughout a race, one of us may feel strong while the other is struggling.  We make it to the finish line using our combined strengths and efforts.

Racing is actually a perfect metaphor for our relationship off the trails, too.  As we "run" through life together, both literally and figuratively, our main objective is to be our best selves and have fun!  That's probably the best part about running with my husband!!  Now I just have to learn how to be okay with him beating me sometimes!”

Awww - that’s cute you guys! So I expect to see a couple in embrace or a Rocky III-style foot race at the finishing line of the ES100.

Visit Brian and Ashley’s donation page

What nutrition/snacks are you depending on?


"For ES100 I am going to try and rely primarily on Generation Ucan and sampling the selections from the aid stations”

I was thinking, meat on a stick. I guess scientifically engineered nutrition featuring superstarch is better. I guess.

Visit Tim’s blog: NC Ultrarunner

Do you have a mantra prepared to motivate you during the low mental points? Care to share?


"For the last couple years my mantra has been: There will come a day when I can no longer do is not that day!"

Mike. We are sooo going to steal that one from you. Seriously.

Michael Schaffer is a lead Ambassador for Runwell

What's the most valuable lesson learned while training for this race?


“A couple of things immediately come to mind. The first was my family and fun. You know that training for a race like this is time consuming to say the least. We had to learn how to make it fun for our kiddos and include them! One of my workouts, for instance, was to pull a car tire with a rope, guess who sat in the tire? One of my girls. She had a blast! The second thing I learned was that the impact is far greater than just me crossing a finish line, it is literally about changing lives beyond the scope of anything we could ever imagine! When I would have days where I was exhausted, I was reminded of the homeless population that I work with who so desperately need a break or a second chance. It doesn't have to be a homeless person whose life could potentially be changed but I see the addiction/disease that infects them daily. My heart aches for change. I would go with that in mind, hoping for change for someone in need.”  

Support Stacy and her fundraising goal. We want all those hours of dragging her kids around to pay off!

100 miles of trails! Many people would ask why? What makes you do this?


"What's funny is that I tell people that I don't even like to run. However, each year I seem to find myself drawn to these 100-mile adventures along these incredible trails. I guess I just like to set a big goal and challenge myself to FINISH what I start. This started back in 1996 when I decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail without ever backpacking a day in my life. Nine years after completing that challenge, when I started running, I jumped in with both feet and ran my first marathon. Then I found out about ultra marathons and within a year had completed my first 100 miler, and within two years had completed the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning."

Throughout it all I've tried to encourage other ordinary people to get out and do extraordinary things at my online community, Just Finish"

Wow Kevin! That is plunging into the deep end! I'm hesitant to mention something like bungee jumping because you will be base jumping off the Burj Khalifa next week.

Runwell members will be standing by to support our runners and all competing in this physical and mental test of spirit and endurance. If you would like to run in a Runwell event visit here or if you would simply like to donate to support our efforts to lift the stigmas attached to the disease of addiction and get treatment for those in need then go here.

Images of runners from the official Eastern States 100 website

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