Running 24 Hours With Bart Yasso

This past weekend I ran in the in24 Philadelphia Urban Ultra Marathon. The in24 takes place on an 8.4 mile loop around the Schuylkill River and includes multiple relays, a midnight madness run, and a 5K on Sunday morning. But I ran the Lone Ranger, which means I set up camp Saturday morning and run as many 8.4 mile loops around the river as I can/want to in 24 hours. I finished with 50.7 miles. I think the winner(and defending champion) did over 120 miles.

But I am not going to give you a race report. Instead I will tell you about how awesome a man Bart Yasso is and also tell you how I made myself look like an idiot.

in24 CampSaturday morning Jamie and I are setting up camp. Runners are allowed to camp out at the start/finish area at Lloyd Hall and we can stop by our camp whenever we need to. This is very helpful during a 24 hour run, but it can also be too tempting when you are tired and just want to sit for a few minutes(or hours).

After we set up camp we chat with some friends, re-acquaint ourselves with old friends, and meet new ones. One of these friends mention that Bart Yasso is running the Lone Ranger.

What? I did not know that!

I pull up Facebook on my phone and find the Bart Yasso fan page. Scroll a couple of posts and sure enough, there he is saying that he is inspired to run the in24 Lone Ranger. This is fantastic! I can’t wait to see him.

And then sure enough, not even twenty minutes later, there he is. We are sitting in our chairs relaxing and talking about how we should take a nap since there is still two hours to the start. I look up and say, “There is Bart Yasso.”

He was walking along the sidewalk, stopped to talk to a few people, and then went on his way. Jamie said she should have went over and asked for a picture with him. I assured her we would probably be seeing him again, and we did ten or so minutes later.

Us and BartThis time he walked right by our tent carrying a cooler. I asked if we could get a picture and he obliged with a smile on his face. I took a selfie of the three of us and then he took his own selfie. And then friends ran over and took their pictures with him. He took his cooler to his spot and I immediately Tweeted/Instagrammed/Facebooked my picture.

He walked by a few more times carrying supplies to his secret spot around the back of Lloyd Hall, stopping to chat for a minute every time he passed. It never dawned on me I should have offered to help him carry his stuff, but that is not even the most idiotic thing I did that day.

Bart and FriendsNot long before the pre-race meeting he came over and chatted us up again. He told us he was almost ready to run and showed his taped up nipples to prove it. I also raised my shirt and rubbed the bandage covering my own nipples. I immediately felt a bond form between the two of us.

Bart left and of course I checked the social networks to see who might be liking my pictures with Bart, and who might be jealous of my pictures with Bart. Guess what I saw? Bart replied to the picture on Twitter. He said he was going to start hanging out at our tent. I said come over anytime, we have beer for the after party.

I did not realize it at the time, but that was the second idiotic thing I did, and we will come back to that.

Fast forward a couple hours and we are running. Thoughts drift in and out of my head while running, and one thing that comes to my mind is the memory of seeing a Runner’s World video about this very race a few years back. I was sure it featured Bart Yasso’s wife.

So we end up seeing Bart in the distance and try our best to keep up with him. He is doing a run/walk plan just as we are, but it seems like every time we start gaining on him he starts running again. FINALLY we are able to catch up with him and I fall in stride alongside him to chat for a minute.

I ask him, “Didn’t your wife run this race a while back?” And his reply to me was…”my ex-wife.”

DOH. Another stupid thing. Sorry, I didn’t know she wasn’t your wife anymore.

But he didn’t even falter. He immediately went into a short narrative about the race and the Runner’s World runners that took part in the race and the success his ex had in the race.

At this point let me tell you how awesome Bart’s voice is. For a moment I thought I was listening to a documentary about running, and I don’t know why Bart has not been commissioned to narrate a documentary yet. I swear, if he was my uncle I would sit next to him for hours and listen to him tell me running stories.

So back to that Runner’s World video about the in24 race. I was watching that shortly after I started running and when I started thinking about getting into longer distances, and, now here I was running the race and talking with Bart Yasso.

Amazing.

So we chatted for a minute more and went on our way. Jamie yelled out to him, “Stop by our tent after the race for a beer.”

He said, “I don’t drink, but I’ll definitely stop by and say hi.”

He doesn’t drink? Then it hit me. NO he doesn’t drink. I had read his book, My Life On The Run, so long ago that I forgot…he had a drinking problem when he was younger. I felt so stupid as we ran on. Remember that tweet I sent him earlier, yeah the one with the beer remark.

I am such an asshole.

The race went on. I saw Bart a couple more times and chatted a little each time. Later I saw that he commented on a picture on Instagram. He said so nice to meet you, congrats on the race. I then replied to him…Great job Bart. It was an honor meeting you and talking. Sorry if we were a nuisance, lol, we were star struck. And his reply was as awesome as everything else that day. He said No way I loved meeting everyone. You crushed me in the race.

Well…I didn’t exactly crush him. He did a lot of miles and I still don’t have any Badwater or Comrades to my name, so I still bow down to the Godfather of running.

Bart is an incredible guy, and if you are reading this Mr. Yasso, sorry for sticking my foot in my mouth a couple times.

50 MilesAs for the race, I passed the 50 mile mark around 12:30 at night and decided to rest. I got in the tent expecting to take a nap for an hour or two before trying to do a couple more laps. I fell asleep, woke up around 5, and thought nah…I am done running.

That is my second 50 mile finish and I did it stronger than my last and better than I thought I would. Now it is time to become a Marathon Maniac and focus on the Atlantic City Marathon and Marine Corp Marathon, both in the last weeks of October.

 

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