April 14, 2020
By: Scott Cunningham
Those words hit me hard as I had dropped out of my previous 2 attempts at 100km and swore to myself I would never do it again. I am competitive and I love a challenge, and those words challenged me to go for the 100km again, and to not quit no matter what.
On top of training for 100km, I also invited the Amigos staff to run juntos (together), with me on the on the island of Ometepe. On top of running juntos, we also decided to raise awareness and funds for Amigos for Christ during the training process.
Race day started at 3am for the 100km. I was fine with that, since I can never sleep before a race anyway. Before the other runners even began, I thought to myself, “you are not finishing this run today.” The second climb was mostly alone, until I was able to catch up to various other runners from Amigos for Christ along the way. As I got closer to the 50km mark I told myself that I can’t quit in front of my kids, so I continued on, not thinking that I had a chance.
As I approached the 3rd climb the people at the aid station said the climb should only take a few hours, which gave me a burst of energy. I climbed alone in the dark for a few hours. I reached the checkpoint on the top of Concepción volcano, and for the first time in many hours I realized I had a chance. I wasn’t sure I would finish before the cutoff, but when I saw a crew from Run Juntos waiting at the aid station, and one of the 25km participants, Yader, with his running gear on to accompany me I knew my chances were better.
Juntos, Yader and I ran, or should I say “moved” together, saying very little to each other. When I would complain about the pain in my feet, Yader said, “it is in your mind, keep moving.” That was what I needed to hear, no matter how wrong it was, my feet were destroyed. That final climb was brutal, extremely vertical and technical. Did I mention it was about 1am? We made it to the beach and could see the finish line a few kilometers away, and we started “running”.
Around 4:40am we crossed the line to the cheering of my family and some of the Run Juntos crew. 26 hours and 40 minutes of moving, and finally I could “quit”. A couple of hours later I was having breakfast with my kids, because I can’t sleep in. Someone said to me, “well, is the 100km out of your system?” I smiled and said, “probably not”. After all, I love a challenge.
In the end every single person on our team finished what they set out to do. Everyone had to battle the same internal conversations that I did. Juntos we trained, competed and raised over $16,000 for Amigos for Christ. Thanks to all of you who followed, encouraged and supported us along the way. Maybe next year you can join us on the trail!