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Top 100 Mile Times in 2009: Michael Adams at Lean Horse

As we continue highlighting TALON athletes that ran one of the fastest 100 mile time in 2009, Michael Adams cranked out a 17:25:59 at Lean Horse 100. This put Michael as the 27th fastest male 100 mile split in ’09.

I was able to get in contact with Michael and he was gracious in sharing some thoughts from his 100 mile day up in South Dakota.




I had put Lean Horse on my calendar since I had heard it was a well organized race on relatively easy course. The first 16 miles are on dirt roads with lots of rolling hills, nothing too steep, but enough incline to ruin a race if you took them too hard.

Once off the dirt roads, the next 34 miles to the turnaround were all on a nice limestone surfaced trail. It is called the Mickleson trail, which was converted from a rail line to a trail. We would be running a very gradual uphill for around 30 miles, about 1500’ gain to around 5500’ of elevation. Some people told me they noticed the elevation, but it didn’t bother this flatlander.

One of the most challenging parts of the race for me was dealing with the hot temps during the day. I had been watching the forecast for a week and it kept bouncing around, so I wasn’t sure until the night before what to expect. It turns out it would be one of the hottest days ever for this event. Parts of the course were over 90 degrees with no shade and little wind. Fortunately the aid stations are only around 4 miles apart, which would turn out to be a lifesaver for me. I only carried one 20oz water bottle and it was empty as I arrived at every aid station.


The Lean Horse 100 was my 3rd 100 miler. I had learned a lot of lessons from my previous 100 milers and planned to not make the same mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes I made on those races was not getting enough calories during the first half of the race. I’ve found I’m not able to eat much after 50 miles, so those calories during the first 50 are very important.  The only real solid food that I can handle is peanut butter and honey sandwiches, so I put those in each of my four drop bags. I also planned to have a gel pack every hour as well.

Another lesson learned was to stay in the race mentally. Find ways to keep those excuses for dropping out from entering my mind. I just broke the race down to aid stations, just focusing on making it to the next one.

The last lesson was to not spend much time in the aid stations. My goal was to get what I needed and keep moving, even if it meant walking down the trail for a while. I only messed that up once at mile 75, I sat down for about 5 minutes.


It was an excellent event, just as everyone had told me. The race director, Jerry Dunn really does an awesome job. The volunteers were some of the nicest people I have ever encountered at an ultra. I highly recommend this race to anyone, especially first timers. I think they had an 80% completion rate for first timers. I plan to go back sometime in the future.


A big thanks to Mike for sharing some of his experience with us.

There were also some nice tips included for us all:

  • Find what works nutritionally for YOU. What works at the beginning of the race may not work at the end.
  • Have a plan/strategy on how to handle the mind/body chatter in the later stages of the race.
  • Be efficient, keep moving. It’s an aid-station, not a sit-down restaurant.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

(Photos: All photos courtesy of Michael Adams.)

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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