By Evan Berti
It’s the last week in October, my bags are packed and the training is done. As I fly to Arizona from Philadelphia to race the Javelina Jundred, I can’t stop thinking about why I want to run for 100 miles. My roommates don’t understand it, friends don’t get it, and my family can’t comprehend why someone would want to run for 20+ hours in the desert.
In this ultra-modern life we all live in, convenience is the theme. Anything you might do or need in life can probably be achieved without much effort – even college (for me). Nothing in my life is challenging and as a young, motivated 23-year-old I think I need a little suffering to grow as a person. Ultrarunning gives my mind the strength to get through anything life throws at me and I think it would do the same for anyone else who embraced this crazy lifestyle of ours.
The Javelina Jundred in McDowell Mountain Regional Park provided the perfect amount of suffering that I was looking for. After running five long laps in 20 hours and 45 minutes for my first 100-mile finish, I was overwhelmed with inner peace and satisfaction that was truly authentic and no one could take that away from me. All that was required was some hard work, grit and PMA (positive mental attitude).
So why would a 23-year-old want to run 100-miles? Because working towards a goal larger than life and crushing it just slingshot my life into overdrive. And as I now live life on my terms, I thought only of this quote by Denis Johnson that fits this great personal accomplishment perfectly: “I make the road. I draw the map. Nothing just happens to me. I’m the one happening.”