Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seasoned Runner Pushes Limits with 100-Mile Ultramarathon

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seasoned Runner Pushes Limits with 100-Mile Ultramarathon

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

For many, running a marathon is the ultimate test of endurance. For Fernandina Beach resident Chris Twiggs, it's old hat.

Standard marathons are 26.2 miles long, and Twiggs has run 26 of those. So, on July 19, the 32-year-old college English professor decided to push his limits.

Twiggs ran the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run, a 100-mile ultramarathon, in less than 24 hours, earning himself a genuine Vermont 100 belt buckle and a few bragging rights.

"It's been a great summer for me," Twiggs said. "I don't get many personal thrills -- most of my thrills now come from helping people run marathons for the first time -- this was a personal thrill."

An ultramarathon is any running event longer than the standard 26.2 miles. They often measure 50 kilometers (31 miles), 100 kilometers (62.1 miles), 100 miles or more. They can cross asphalt, deserts, mountains or trails. And they can last from six hours to days on end.

The Vermont 100 is Twiggs' fourth ultra, but his first 100-miler. He ran it in 23 hours and 15 minutes.

Despite protests from his father and wife, who are area doctors, Twiggs wants to run more 100-mile ultras.

"I enjoy marathons, but marathons have become normal to me now," he said. "I don't think ultramarathons become normal for anyone."

Twiggs' wife, Diana, convinced him to take up running soon after they married. Initially appalled at the thought, Twiggs has more than warmed up to the sport.

"My first reaction was, no way. I thought she was crazy," he said. "I wasn't athletic in high school. The most athletic thing I did was be a member of the chess team."

But the couple ran the Disney marathon together in 1994. Now, he's a member of the Jacksonville Track Club and trains first-time marathoners in Jacksonville. Diana Twiggs continues to run marathons, but has no interest in taking up the ultras, he said.

"We began our marriage running together, and it was the best thing in the world," Chris Twiggs said.

Running also reunited Twiggs with his Boy Scout troop leader, Bill Barnes. …

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