In running, some of the most difficult workouts involve longer distances. This is because of the stress being put on the body for an extended period. Professional athletes such as Mohamed Farah can run more than twenty-five miles at a time. However, at the high school level, these types of workouts are obviously much shorter in distance (even though some can get as high as fifteen miles).
In July of 2017, Nathan DeRose and seven other runners from the Batavia cross country team set out to do what had been planned for months: run twenty-four miles in twenty-four hours. The plan was that every hour of the day they would have to run a mile. While that is difficult, that distance can be accomplished relatively easily for a properly conditioned athlete; however, there was a catch: the team was not allowed to sleep during this entire time.
They drove to Lake Waynoka, where they would begin their challenge. At the beginning, “It almost seemed as if it were too easy,” DeRose said. “The first five to seven miles were not that difficult; we were having fun around the campsite and the lake.” They did run into a problem, however. While they were swimming in the lake, one of the other senior runners cut his foot open. At that moment, there was a panic; nobody knew what to do. DeRose called his dad, who told him to call an ambulance. They took him to the hospital and he had to get several shots (to make sure it did not get infected) and he also received several stitches. While this was going on, the rest of the team were completing another mile—at the hospital.
The rest of the night was infinitely more difficult for the runners. “We had to use every ounce of energy we had towards the end, just to stay awake.” As they continued to run, their times got much slower, to the point that some of the runners had to almost go at a walking (some might call it sleep-walking) pace.
While it was a painful experience, all the runners, inducing DeRose, enjoyed the experience and were glad that they completed it. Once the 24-hour period was over, most of the runners fell asleep on the ride home, and DeRose even said, “I don’t think I have ever felt so exhausted.”
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