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4 Ways to Bring-the-Fun During the Last 40 Miles of a 100 Mile Trail Race

I would like to welcome one of our new Endurance Buzz contributors, Melanie Fryar! Melanie enjoys running fast but also keeps it all in perspective with a big focus on the simple love of running and keeping it fun!

Enjoy as Melanie shares her first article with us!

melanief_artWhat’s Fun About Running 100 Miles?

During the pre-race briefing for a recent 100 mile race I ran (or 104 miles if miles matter after 99.9 miles), the race director bluntly stated that if we were doing this for fun, we better rethink starting this race. He said we needed a why, and our why needed to stand up to our realization that what had seemed like a good idea six months before starting, would seem like the stupidest idea we ever had somewhere after mile 60.

I’ve now thought about this for a few weeks, and have decided he really is right. Running 100 miles is not fun. By mile 45, I was through running for “fun” and kept running out of determination and wanting to conquer myself. But I also realized looking back at my 104 miles, that I did a lot of things to try and keep it fun anyway.

So, for those of you who want to try to have fun while running the last 40 or so miles of a 100 miler, here are a few things I found fun all race long.

1. Stomp in the Puddles


We put so much effort into keeping our feet dry on a run. Early on in this race, I stopped and carefully picked my way across large mud puddles and small creek crossings. But why? How often do we remove socks and have dry feet on training runs? That’s a NEVER for me. Anyone who trains in Texas is sure to have wet feet well before even two hours of running passes, even if there are no puddles to step in.

So why not just have fun with the mud?

Truly, there is something thrilling about splashing through the puddles on purpose. Try it out the next chance you get and see how your feet and mind do.

2. Catch Raindrops in your Mouth

Instead of fretting over the falling rain (or sleet/snow, as it was), why not just play in it?

I opened my mouth, tilted my head back and ran down the muddy jeep road trying to catch rain in my mouth, and found myself giggling at mile 60 instead of worrying over the weather.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Whoop Out Loud

It’s amazing how good it feels to get excited. If you are looking forward to an approaching aid-station, let it be known!

If you are enjoying the sunset (or rise), try whooping out loud and see if it feels good.

When you whack your toes on a ghost rock (or root) and manage not to face-plant, let yourself be happy about the save.

For me, this is an instant mood booster,especially in later miles.

4. Pack Snacks You Liked as a Kid


Chances are, if you were excited to eat Moon Pies and Twinkies as a kid, your runner-self will be excited to eat them when it’s walking time in a long race.

Of course, tummy’s can turn on you in races. And if that has happened, I don’t necessarily recommend this. But for those of us that normally are able to eat in races, take advantage!

I gave my crew a bag with Moon Pies, Oatmeal Cream Pies, gummy snacks and other favorite child-time foods in it, along with instructions to refill my pack with these foods as the night went on. It was a happy surprise to unzip a pocket, reach in and pull out a Strawberry Moon Pie at mile 80, when I thought I had eaten all of them.

When there is truly no more fun in your run, little things have the potential to cause big swings. Planning little mood boosters to help offset the negative things that, unless you are having the run of your life are sure to happen, will help you conquer the down times sooner. Then you can swing up faster. And 100 miles is long enough without spending any extra time on the down. πŸ™‚

– Melanie Fryar

Share Your Thoughts with the Tribe:

What approaches have you used to bring-the-fun during the later stages of an ultra or 100 mile trail adventure?

[Photos: Courtesy Nicholas Wang ( and JD Hancock (]

About the author

Melanie Fryar Melanie Fryar took up running in 1993, she was fiercely determined to overcome asthma and stop needing inhalers. Today, Melanie runs ultra marathons competitively. Though don’t let her competitive nature fool you. This lady runs for the fun and life-changing joy that running has brought into her life. For more information on Melanie, check out the About page.

5 Responses to “4 Ways to Bring-the-Fun During the Last 40 Miles of a 100 Mile Trail Race”

  1. on 01 Oct 2013 at 4:28 pm Amanda E.

    MELANIE! So happy to see you on here! You are awesome and I am so happy to see you had fun with your 104 miler!

  2. on 02 Oct 2013 at 1:34 pm Auntnette

    Sweet, Melanie! Love keeping up with you through your blogs… but, really missed seeing you at your cousin’s wedding while I was in Texas. πŸ™ Focusing on keeping it fun is some great advice even for everyday living! I love you !!

  3. on 03 Oct 2013 at 8:07 am John Sharp

    I tried oatmeal cream pies and Modelo on a training run in the Guads once. Didn’t work so well. Nice read.

  4. on 03 Oct 2013 at 9:55 pm Melanie

    Thanks u all! πŸ™‚
    I missed u too Auntnette!! I had training class though. Wish I was there too!
    John, beer on a run is something I’ll not try. πŸ˜‰

  5. on 23 Jan 2015 at 2:38 pm Steve Humphreys

    Great tips Melanie!

    I like to create my own songs during long races. Then sing them loudly at night to keep away the critters in the woods.

    Sometimes it’s relaxing to just be silly. I was lost in the dark on a long run years ago, and I spotted deer close by, staring at me. So I asked them for directions. I found my way soon enough, and I had something to laugh about as I finished.