What's Stopping You?

posted Dec 23, 2016, 12:48 PM by Running Club   [ updated Jan 22, 2017, 10:18 PM ]
Many people are in awe of ultra-runners. I know I am. The farthest distance I have ever run, and I've been a runner since 1986, is 15 miles. (Well, maybe 17 miles if you count getting lost on the trails.) People start running because they love the outdoors, because they get caught doping and need a new sport to win at, because they are being chased, for the health benefits, and maybe the most common reason is because they want to lose weight. Here is an inspiring story from one of our members that might get you off the couch or perhaps run longer, train harder, and dig deeper...

Let me introduce myself, my name is Ron Arnall and I am an Ultra Runner. The proceeding sentence sounds so foreign to me as I have only been running 3 years and 5 months as of Dec 2016. So you may ask yourself how does a 53 year old (58 now) take up running this late in life. No I didn’t have a major health scare. No I didn't lose someone close to my age. No I didn't get divorced and start looking for a new bride (I’ve been married to the same lady 39 years come Christmas Eve). 

I woke up in January of 2012 and thought to myself, I’ve gotten away with treating my health like I was a invincible teenager long enough and it’s time to get healthy so I can see another 53 or so years. I started by cleaning up my diet and walking on our clothes hanger (Treadmill) and started to shed some serious weight (started at 305 lbs). I was down to around 265 and was getting very bored with being on the treadmill, and my older daughter Wendy said, "Dad, come run a 5k Color Run with me." I of course asked how far was a 5K. She laughed and said it was 3 miles. That caused me to laugh and I told her my life insurance isn’t that big an amount for her to try and kill me, but she took myself and Mom under her wing and trained us. We ran slower than a herd of turtles but we ran. Little did I know how addicted I would become to running. The running thing became a great way to exercise, and my daughter and I run 3 times a week at 5:30am 3-5 miles each time. 

Since I ran that 5k in 2012, I also did my 1st Half Marathon that year with her too. So in 2012 I ran approximately 197 miles, 2013 - 345 miles and in 2014 - 369 miles and in 2015 - 1135 miles. 

Wait. What? 

Yep, I joined a running club and my mileage went up dramatically, I paired up with a training partner (Stephanie Fagundes), and together we ran our 1st Full Marathon in Nov 2015. It is also the year I met Peggy Davidson (President of STRC) at the Trkac Community Running Classes at Nevada Union on Monday nights in the spring. I cannot say enough about what she has taught me. I joined the Sierra Trailblazers in 2016 and told Peggy my desire to run longer distances. She told me she would be more than happy to mentor me and I ran the following races: 
2 - 10 milers, 
9 - 1/2 marathons, 
1 - Trail Ragnar, 
1 - Full marathon, and 
My 1st 50k in 2016 

My total mileage in 2016 is a little over 1620 miles and counting

I can't tell you how much running with Peggy has motivated me into doing what I thought I could never do. The 50k race was a distance I had my doubts about, but Peggy assured me I was capable. She and I have spent many an hour on long training runs and I cannot thank her enough for that. 

The morning of the 50k race, which I had many members of the STRC there to support me in my attempt, I awoke a bit nervous and worried of what the day would bring. We arrived at the race-site, picked up our bibs, and did final preparation for the run. As we approached the start I was feeling apprehensive about the run but the energy of the other runners and the support of the friends from the club eased my mind as I wrapped my head around what I was about to attempt. The weather was perfect for the run, a bit cool but clear as a bell. The starter counted down the last few seconds and at 8am we were off. 

The 1st mile or so was a gentle downhill single track trail for the most part and then the fun started as we approached the first climb - 5 to 6 miles of uphill trail wide enough to run side-by-side and single track switchbacks. The trail was very runnable... well, except for the spots where tress had fallen across the trail from the storm the week before, but that wasn’t a big issue. When we crested the top we got a reprieve from the climb with gentle rollers for a few miles. Then the turnaround was at the bottom of a 4 mile downhill run, and you would think downhill is easier but that is not necessarily true. My quads were a bit tight at mile 16, as we made the 1/2 way mark we started back up, up, up the hill; somehow it seemed further than on the way down. The aid stations were always a welcome site, and we stopped just long enough to grab some fuel and water and we were on our way again. The day was flying by I was surprised at how quickly the time was passing. Strange how a trail looks different on the way back than it does on the way out but that makes for great run. I’m sure the others were holding back a little for me so I could cross the finish line ahead of them (Thank you, All!) and as I saw the arch of the Finish Line my emotions were on edge. I can't describe it but it is a great feeling that I wish everyone could experience. 

I am still very touched by those that helped me achieve this goal and look forward to running with them all again. I look forward to what lies ahead in my 2017 runs and want to thank everyone that I ran with this year from the bottom of my heart, especially my wife Marilyn that puts up with this BSC runner. I blog ( about how my health and running; if you are interested please feel free to go take a look, and be sure to start at the beginning of the blog in the archives to get a feel for how I went from a 305 lb Couch Potato to a 170 lb Ultra Runner…