Above two photos by Andy Kumeda
Photos by Anibal Corsi
Taken on the 3 mile road section
I completed the AC 100. 100 miles, 21,000 ft. of climb, 26,000 ft. of descent in 32 hours and 12 minutes wearing Vibram FiveFingers.
More to come...
The following email from Jay "Toots" Anderson answers to why someone may try running such a treacherous course in super-lightweight, flexible, thin shoes.
from Jay Anderson to "
Ken and Ted:
I ran the race too and I certainly was amazed that Ted could finish
the thing. For your readers that aren't familiar with AC, 100 miles
is just one source of difficulty. There is something like 21,000'
cumulative climb and 27,000' cumulative descent. Most of the trails
are rocky and some times very rocky. The first half of the race
stays above one mile in elevation and the first 40 miles probably
averages well above 7000' in elevation. Add to that hydration,
nutrition, and chafing issues and you can see why this is such a
tough race. This race is probably 4 times as difficult as Ted's
previous longest race - Leona Divide 50 miler. Vibrams aside, for
Ted to take such a big jump in difficulty successfully is quite
As for the cutoffs becoming more lenient, I think that running
wearing the Vibrams helps toward the end of a race like AC because
the light footfalls have spared the legs and back a lot of shock to
which other runners subject themselves. So I think Ted's quadriceps
probably felt better than mine did after the race.
At any rate, kudos to Ted for a great accomplishment.
He is absolutely right about the quads and back. For me, I had NO pain in either. However, my ankles are still sore today, and my feet were swollen for three days after the race.
In general I feel stronger 4 days since the race, and will do some light running starting tomorrow. I am planning on a 10 mile cross-country race on Sunday, barefoot in Hansen Dam, but I probably won't go too fast.
Deb Clem helps me at the finish line (hip cramp)
Below is my race report submitted on Thursday the Ultra list
Before I begin, there are many whom I would like to thank, too many. You know who you are. You are the people at the aid stations, you are the race directors and sponsors, you are the smiling faces on the trails, you are the folks who make this a real sport filled with more honor and courage than money. I love you all.
As many of you know, I like to run barefoot.
Why? Well, that's a big question; however, I will say this, three
years ago I could only run for about an hour with shoes on. I had
plenty of energy left after an hour, but had too much pain, especially
in my mid-back.
To make a long story short, running barefoot was the way I found how
to run well, with good form and without pain.
I started running marathons last year...barefoot. Qualified for
I even started running trails barefoot.
Naturally, most people thought this was just bizarre behaviour. Some
thought it was extraordinary. Others just waited to see what would
Little by little I got stronger and pushed my limits.
I found that I could go about 25 miles on tough trails before it
started getting too difficult to continue safely. My goal was to
complete the AC 100, and it became clear that I was going to have to
find some sort of foot protection to go that far.
I started studying indigenous footwear, including yucca sandals worn
by the original Angeles Crest inhabitants. I went down to Mexico and
ran with the Tarahumara and learned to run in their sandals. I tried
prototypes of would-be shoe designers and came up with a few things of
my own. All had pluses and minuses.
Then early this year, I saw a blog talking about Vibram's founder's
grandson's quest to make a shoe that feels barefoot but still protects
the sole while working on his boat.
I called the company, introduced myself and requested a test pair.
The first time I tried them, I knew that they had done something
right. It felt like barefoot to me.
After some further testing, I knew that I had a shoe that could get me through 100 miles. In the meantime, Vibram sponsored me to run Boston Marathon and some other races. It was a dream come true.
As I experimented more on running in in the FiveFingers shoe, I gave
my feedback to Vibram for an upcoming shoe designed more specifically
Finally, I was prepared for the AC 100 - and thankfully Vibram helped with some of the race costs.
This would be my first 100.
Training for me lasted 2 years. It all started with a fun-run
sponsored by Andy Kumeda last year. It was my first 50k and was run along some of the trails on the AC course.
That run was followed by many other training runs on the AC course. This training was very important for my overall preparation for the run. More or less, by race day, I knew what I was getting into.
Perhaps the most important training run happened about 4 weeks before
the race. I ran through the night with a group of runners from
Shortcut Saddle to Millard. It was my first all-night run, and it was
on the last part of the course in circumstances similar to what I
would face on race day.
Most important lessons from my training runs came from failures:
failure to hydrate adequately, failure to intake enough electrolytes,
failure to eat enough. All these lessons led me to be more prepared
for AC 100.
I rode up to Wrightwood with Xy Weiss of Dirty Girl Gators
. She brought three AC virgins:
me, Mark Jacobs and Vinnie Torres. Thanks for the ride Xy!
From the beginning of the race, I had just one goal: to finish. Time itself was not a factor. I wanted to get 100 miles under my belt, to feel it and understand it. There would be other days to go faster.
Ran the first part of the race with Michelle Peot and Mike Palmer. I had read about Mike and knew that this was going to be his 9th AC 100in a row. He had finished 8 in a row mostly in the 31 hour range, so I knew that he was someone I could count on to get to the finish.
Two very important things happened at Chilao (mile 52). For the first
time I started listening to my daughter's MP3 player, and most
importantly, in answer to the prayers of friends, I was blessed with a
pacer even though "I" didn't think that I needed one.
I started out of Chilao, put my headphones on and started jamming up
the hill. A few minutes into my trip, I felt a tug at the back of my
Camelbak. I turned around to find a runner. She was asking me if I
need a pacer. Her runner had dropped. I had already set my mind
to finishing this race without a pacer, yet somehow I knew that this
was a good opportunity for me, so I accepted her offer. She said she
was willing to go all the way to the finish. I just couldn't believe
it. Brenda Bland from Madison, WI turned out to be a real answer to
The inspiration of music and my new running partner gave me a new energy. I was moving. Next stop was Shortcut Saddle, and from there, I knew that I was within striking distance of a success.
Brenda helped keep the path in front of me well lite. I hated the
trail to Newcomb. I don't like hard trails topped with sharp, hard
rocks. From Newcomb, we blasted down through Chantry.
From Chantry, I kept a good pace up to the Wilson Toll Rd., and ran
down to Idlehour. With less than a mile to go to Idlehour, I really
let it all out and ran like the wind to the aid station. I wanted to
see what the legs could still do. They had a lot still in them
although my ankles were starting to bother me. I had been taking
Advil from Newcomb to fight the pain in my ankles, and it was barely
From Idlehour, I got on the heels of Mike Palmer. I knew he was going
to make it, so I hugged his rear until Sam Merrill. He really moved
through this section passing many runners.
From Sam Merrill it is mostly downhill on tough, rocky, narrow, dusty
switchbacks. I hate how long it takes to get to Millard, especially when you can see it is right there.
I was moving and getting more and more confident that I could complete
A bad thing happened at Millard. I used the toilet. While trying to
maneuver my rump onto the toilet seat, my compression shorts fighting
me, I pulled a muscle in my hip!
I noticed something was wrong, but really knew something was wrong
when I couldn't run. Brenda tried to help me, but the muscle in my
hip was too tight and strong for her to massage loose. Sadly, I
was going to have to hobble to the finish line. Luckily, I still had
I would have loved to have run the last section from Millard to
Johnson Field, but it wasn't going to happen.
As we came within view of the finish, I could hear the cheering, only
at that very moment could I find it within me to run the last 100
I did it!!!
Next year? You bet. I want a trophy and the only way I'll get one
is doing this race 10 years in a row.
I spent more than 2.5 hours in aid stations. That won't happen next year.
Next year, I will have a strategy deeper than just finishing.
Music is very useful, and I plan on using it more and more.
A good pacer is a god-send.
Training in similar terrain, or preferably, on the very same course is
Again, there are many whom I would like to thank, too many. You know who you are. You are the people at the aid stations, you are the race directors and sponsors, you are the smiling faces on the trails, you are the folks who make this a real sport filled with more honor and courage than money. I love you all.
Ted Out Cold - Award Ceremony
Photo Coach Jimmy
PS. A big, big thank you to the famous barefoot marathoner and guru of barefoot running, Barefoot Ken Bob, who spent the whole weekend meeting up with me at the various aid stations, filming, photographing and interviewing me as I made my way to the finish. Several of his photos are in this report, and an upcoming video/dvd.