Posted to the ulist by Ray
Life is sometimes strange. I have observed Robert Young, ultramarathonmanuk for two nights now. I have observed him running, very fast at times, slowly at other times, walking and taking rests, sometimes lots of rest. Still, he appears to be running out of energy and drive.
I am reporting here because the ultralist began a crowdfunding effort to have Robert’s run, or at least part of it verified. (I know much of the ultralist on this subject is copied to Letsrun, so welcome to those readers as well.)
Questions about the veracity of mileage being recorded on this effort began within the first few days of the run. Long before Robert reached the place where the famous “Asher video” was recorded people were wondering about the record paces run for segments, and the multiple quality six-day performances being recorded… consecutively.
I had commented that I might go visit when he got to Ohio, thinking I would do so on my return from the Great New York Running Exposition 100 Mile. That was not to be. Boots (running shoes) needed to be on the ground, immediately. I changed plans to meet the run and the other “Geezers” in Indianapolis. As I made my way northwest, it was apparent the Transcon had slowed; perhaps the rendezvous would be in Terre Haute. That was not to be either. I ended up finding Rob, his team and the Geezers a few miles west of St. Elmo Illinois at noon on Monday June 13.
I met Robert, who is indeed a likeable and friendly man. (This does not say anything about his running ability, his previous claims, or claims during this run. My objective was to observe and report. I am doing that now. The fact is, however, that he is friendly and welcoming. He converses about a variety of topics, and as laz has pointed out is somewhat naive about many aspects of running, particularly multiday running.)) We walked about 1/3 of a mile before he marked his stopping place… and took a 6 hour break. Team Geezer went to lunch/dinner and took care of our needs. At 5:30 Geezers were back in place. Rob showed up shortly after six, and by 6:10 he set out walking toward St. Elmo. We watched from behind for a few minutes then drove two miles up the road where I got out of the car to walk with Robert.
Shortly after we began walking, together Robert started to run. We covered the next mile at about 9 minute pace with him gradually increasing the speed. He asked if he was going too fast and I told him I had a 100 miler coming up and wanted to run closer to the pace for that event. Robert then blasted off running the next mile at or around seven minutes, he slowed slightly, got a drink from the RV than began walking shortly afterwards. I plugged along at 10:30 per mile pace, and within a mile (32 minutes from when we began walking together) we were back together three miles down the road and walking again. I got back into Geezer Support Vehicle #2 shortly after that.
We continued to monitor until RY took a break at a Walgreens in Effingham at 11:30 pm. He was still there when the Geezers had a shift change shortly after 2 am. As the shift change took place RY emerged from the RV and began walking again. I saw him next at the 12:00 noon shift change. The entire team Geezer stayed on the job until he stopped at what he and his crew were calling 60 miles for the day. I think it may have been slightly less on the map, but he remained a set distance from NYC, so I was not worried about an exact number. At that point Robert was going to take a break in the heat of the day until 6:00 pm. We recorded a brief video marking the time and place he stopped.
At 6:00 pm Geezer team 2 was in place. RY emerged from the RV at 6:22 and began walking at 6:29. After some walking he began running and recorded a three mile section in about 30 minutes. He continued running and breaking with the running becoming less and the walking more. The entire pace was slowing. He took 1:24 to cover the next 3.2 miles. He did state that he had to take two breaks in that section. He continued to show signs of fatigue. He took over an hour to complete the next 1.8 miles, again with a long break. At one point he walked up to the RV and crossed his arms on the window and lay his head there. He stated he was knackered (a British term meaning exhausted I learned while running a 6 day (463 miles) in 1984.) His crew told him he was ½ mile from the Indiana Border. I sang the chorus from “Indiana Wants Me” by R Dean Taylor) and he set off for Indiana. There was no sign “Welcome to Indiana”. RY hot there and we took pictures in front of a sign that said “Welcome to Vigo County”. At that point Robert sat on the ground for a few minutes before going to the RV to sleep.
The Geezers made a shift change. RY rested until 3:30 am then commenced traveling. There was no running off, he was slow. He completed 40 miles for the day by noon, and went to a motel to rest before resuming again at 6:00 pm this afternoon 6/15/2016. I will be there when he resumes his effort.
A few side notes. Robert expressed concern about not being believed. I told him there were many questions about his data. He claimed people were looking at small sections of data. I agreed that while this was true that there were also people looking at maps and taking point A then point B 10 days later. They were concerned that his 10 day totals were international class, with some sections world class. He stated he would like to run the Sri Chinmoy 10 day race. He said he feels his best talent is in multi day running.
He said he wants to run ultras. I told him that would be good as most runners who are questioned, then challenged to show up at races do not do so. We talked running. He feels he could approach, and hopefully surpass 500 miles in a six day run.
Robert is tired. He is in a place many of us have been, fighting fatigue and pain. Individually they are formidable opponants. Together they are oppressive.
I am off to observe once again. Watch this space. I just may share more observations.