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'Actually, I hated running': Ultramarathoner goes from zero to 100 miles in two years

Posted at 7:00 AM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 07:00:30-05

LANSING, Mich. — From Lansing to Detroit is about 100 miles. It is also the distance some ultramarathoners run for fun.

“Actually, I hated running. I picked my high school sport completely based on how little running was involved,” said Brandess Wallace, a Williamston running coach and running enthusiast.

Wallace started running around the time she was 29 years old.

“I had never intended to run 100-miler ever in life. It's crazy. I don't know why anybody would ever want 100 miles,” Wallace said. “But sometimes it just takes somebody deciding that they believe in you, and that you're ready to do it. Actually, it went much better than I ever imagined, but it did take me 28 and a half hours.”

An ultramarathon is any race over the traditional 26.2 miles of a marathon and usually starts with a 50 kilometer distance, about 31 miles.

“You are running overnight, so what the other great things about it is those aid stations, so you have a lot of food via volunteers that are amazing,” Wallace said.

Wallace actually stopped running for three years.

“What happens is you are a mom, and your kids get older, and then they start having activities. And, you know, typically, your needs get put on the back burner sometimes. That is what ended up happening to me. What I didn't realize is that when I was doing all this running, it was a way of coping with some undiagnosed anxiety, some undiagnosed depression. So, when I stopped, which ended up being for three years, that really kind of came to a head,” Wallace said.

She re-started two years ago with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic was really hard, but the blessing that came out of it is that I rediscovered running. And my love for it actually.”

Wallace said the mental challenge is the hardest part “because you know, you come to a certain point when you're running, and everything in your mind is telling you to stop.”

To overcome this challenge “you have to think that this is all temporary. You have to make sure that you are being positive. It’s all about positive affirmations and trying to tell yourself and building your confidence to say ‘Hey, you know, this is only temporary, the pain is temporary’ What is it that you need? Do you need electrolytes because you are cramping? Do you need calories because you are cranky? Do you need water because you are dehydrated? Usually everything that you are feeling during those races, there is a remedy for,” Wallace said.

Now, she participates in many marathons as a pacemaker and helps others to start running.

“Running really is attainable for anybody I like to say that running is for anybody in any body, there's really no magic pill or secret to running, it's really just consistency,” Wallace said.

Upcoming races in 2022 in Michigan can be found here. Wallace plans on pacing both, the She Runs Grand Rapids Half Marathon in May and the Dexter Ann Arbor Half Marathon in June. She is also hoping to run another 100-miler in 2022.

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