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EB51: 100 mile Nightmares and the Journey of Personal Excellence – Sierra Vista Trail Run 50k Champ – Our Chat with Michael Bursum


“I was running as hard as I can and the race officials said I was done…because I was not running to my potential.” – Michael Bursum’s Tahoe Rim 100 dream nightmare

Michael Bursum of New Mexico lived and breathed basketball.

In college, Michael’s exploration in running was sparked by a girl he wanted to get to know. She ran cross country. Michael would become a walk-on for the men’s team. Their relationship blossomed and would eventually lead to marriage four years later.

After college, basketball was still a big part of Michael’s passion and one of his main hobbies. Running faded away.


In 2011, Michael and his wife returned back to New Mexico to raise their family. Through some friendly competition with his wife’s extended family, the running shoes were dusted off and pulled out of the closet in prep for the iconic La Luz Trail Run in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Unlike the flat basketball court, this adventure guides runners nine lung and leg burning miles up the Sandia mountains with the finish line sitting at 10,678 feet sharing beautiful views with everyone.

Michael enjoyed it and would continue to run.

Get a little faster.

His La Luz times starting coming down.

A passion for the sport began to grow and Michael began to run more races, explore the ultra distances, and explore personal excellence within himself and the sport.

Michael recently won and set a new course record in 4:04:17 at the Sierra Vista 50k Trail Run in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Enjoy our chat that includes the following musings and other useful goodies for you:

  • from basketball to the trails and finding love through running
  • memories from that first trail race at La Luz Trail Run
  • the trails waiting out Michael’s backdoor
  • typical training week and new appreciation of yoga
  • the Tahoe Rim 100 nightmare
  • Michael’s story of being inspired by a fellow runner to keep moving and keep pushing to the finish
  • the 50k dash at Sierra Vista, nutrition for the day, plus a great post-race moment how we can positively impact and inspire others, and not even know it

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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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