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Humor columnist completes century run

By: Staff report
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So what’d you do last weekend? Mow the lawn? Set out the Halloween decorations? If you ask Lincoln’s Tony Overbay, he’ll tell you something a little bit different. “I ran 100 miles,” he said. “Actually about 102 miles; we got lost for a while sometime around 2 a.m.” Overbay was only one of 50 runners who finished the ninth annual Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance run held in Granite Bay last Saturday. More than 100 signed up, 20 didn’t make it to the start and 46 DNF’d (did not finish). Overbay finished in 25 hours and 12 minutes, good for 24th place overall. The 100-mile trail course took runners on a 67-mile out-and-back from Cavitt Elementary School up to Cool through Auburn. Once runners returned to the school, they ran a 33 mile out-and-back route that took them along Folsom Lake into Natomas. They finished back at Cavitt. “I still can’t believe I ran 100 miles,” Overbay said. “I’ve run several marathons in the past, but I only started running ultramarathons one year ago.” An ultramarathon is any race over the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. From October 2007 until Rio, Overbay competed in and finished six 50k races (approximately 32 miles) and one 50-mile race. He fell in love with the sport after volunteering at an aid station during last year’s annual Western States 100 Mile Endurance run, which takes runners from Lake Tahoe to Auburn. “A friend of mine suggested I volunteer at Western States just to see what it looked like to run an ultramarathon,” Overbay said. “I spent an afternoon and an evening helping runners at the mile 78 aid station and it was absolutely inspiring to see people coming through. Some looked much better than others.” Overbay met Lincoln resident and ultrarunner Jeffery Johnston at the aid station and the two have trained together ever since. “I had seen Tony running around town,” Johnston said. “We realized that we lived very close to each other, so the Monday after the race we found ourselves running together. From that time on, we’ve ran and worked out together almost every day of the week.” The original plan was for Jeffery to finish a 100-mile race first. Jeffery was scheduled to run in the 2008 Western States race in June and Tony was going to pace him the final 40 miles. Unfortunately for Johnston, the race was cancelled for the first time in its 35-year history due to large amount of forest fires. Johnston, in what he called “100-mile shape,” talked Overbay into joining him at Rio. “I really had no plans on running a 100-mile race this year,” Overbay said. “But Jeffery talked me into it. I figured I’d run as far as I could and cheer him on at the end.” Jeffery came down with a bad case of Achilles tendonitis, however. His doctor told him he needed to stop running for a couple of months. “That left me by myself,” Overbay said. “Jeffery wasn’t even going to be available to pace me.” Runners in 100-mile races often run with pacers over the last 50 miles. The pacer’s job is typically to keep the runner moving, helping him stay in tune with when to eat and drink along the way. “You kind of get into a different place mentally,” Overbay said. “It’s nice to have somebody worrying about the trail markings, your food and hydration issues.” With the average runner burning between 100 to 125 calories per mile, the nutritional needs on a 100-mile race run anywhere from 10,000 to 12,500 calories throughout the day. Johnston became Overbay’s crew chief, meeting him several times along the route and providing him with fresh water bottles, food choices and buckets of ice for his head and neck. Temperatures on race day made it into the high 90s, part of the reason for so many drops. “Overall it was a wonderful experience,” Overbay said. “I can’t describe the feeling of accomplishment that comes with training for and then running 100 miles. My family was there at several aid stations and they were there to see me finish. The final mile, seeing the kids waiting with their signs, seeing my wife who has been so supportive, it was very emotional. This is an experience I’ll never forget.” When asked if he’ll run another 100-mile race anytime soon, Overbay said, “I was officially retired from running forever for the first couple of days, the days when it’s hard to walk up and down the steps. But I can’t lie; I’ve already started scanning Web sites looking for the next one.”