New for 2021
Not comfortable racing in person? We’ve got you covered. Virtually run the old course (203 miles). Runners who select this option may run the the 203 mile Olde 96er course on their own time. Submit proof you’ve covered the distance any time during the month of September 2021 and earn the old school Olde 96er 200 buckle.
This is the Buckeye Ultra
In the space between life and death, we’re met with what we’ve been. We meet that person only when we’re faced with being human no longer. And, it makes us feel alive.
After 180 miles, Ben Brucker was down by 7 miles. When I caught up to him, he was despondent and slow, and told me he didn’t have it in him to go faster. This walk— this was it. It wasn’t getting any better than this. I paused, eyeing him in a moment that was as knowingly sad as it was curious with hope.
“You’re only 7 miles back,” I told him. He didn’t look up.
“…from 1st place.”
“What?” he asked, in about as much shocked disbelief as I’d ever seen on a human. Earlier he’d been nearly 20 miles behind Tim Crow, and had spent the entire afternoon avoiding the 90 degree heat in a hotel room. He’d made an early go at it, but the hours and miles had rendered him defeated and depleted, and now, in the middle of the night, he had no more desire to run.
“Tim had some problems and he’s done,” I told him, “and the leaders are walking. You’re 3.5 miles behind Tim Adkins.” Ben ate a cereal bar standing beside my car, staring at the road ahead, no more or less quiet than usual; he’s a quiet entity.
Tim was in full battle regalia, miles ahead. But, he was also exhausted, collapsed in the back of his crew SUV, trying to make nickels and dimes of what was left— until I told him he was being chased. “How close IS that dude?”
Out swung the trekking poles. Tim was on his feet.
And, so they went.
And, so went the miles.
Ben called me less than 2 miles from the finish. He’d been running. Tim had been running. They’d passed John Nakel, and now were within a half mile of each other, but Ben hadn’t seen Tim. I felt sorry for Ben, having given him hope, knowing that at this point he had no chance at catching Tim.
“If you run as fast as you can, you can catch him”, I said. I knew it wasn’t likely going to happen.
You can imagine my shock seeing them sprint down the descent into Walnut Beach, through the lot, across the boardwalk— neck to neck after 203 miles. Into the water they splashed, and then swung their arms around each other.
Tim Adkins won the chase and the race for 2nd place…
…by 1 second.
And the winner? It was a woman: Rebecca Gartrell. Don’t tell me you can’t. Don’t tell me it cant be done.
Never give up.
Should I Do It?
That depends. Are you prepared to be alone on the road, potentially in cold, freezing rain, heat, fog, or thunderstorms? Can you handle following a course that isn’t marked with flags, streamers, or pie plates? The Buckeye Ultra is a point to point road run from the West Virginia side of the Ohio River in Newell to Walnut Beach park at Lake Erie in Ashtabula. The 210 mile event is an out-and-back road journey from the lake. The finish rate from events combined in 2018 and 2019 is around 58% so it’s a challenge even for experienced ultra runners. There are no formal aid stations; roving aid will be available, especially overnight, but runners are expected to be largely self-supported.
Those wanting to run the 100 mile event will need to have completed at least one 50 mile run within the past 12 months, or a 100k run within the past 18 months. The 100 mile begins in Wellsville at the Ohio River on Saturday, September 11th at 0700. The official cutoff is a relaxed 48 hours.
Anyone who wants to run the 210 mile event will need to have completed at least one 100 mile event within the past 18 months, two 100k or longer runs within 18 months, or a road journey of similar distance. The 210 mile event begins Thursday, September 9th at 0700. The cutoff for the 210 is 5 days (120 hours).
Finishers of the 100 mile event will receive a 100 mile buckle and a custom award. Finishers of the 210 mile event will receive a 200 mile buckle and custom award.
New in 2021 will be a unique 500 mile buckle to any runner who has completed the inaugural 100, the 200 mile event in 2019, and the 200 mile event in 2021.