My Birthday Gift: I Signed Up for My First 103 Mile Race!

Long Run
Written by Charlie

I just signed up for my first 103 mile race as a kind of birthday present to me! Check out the details of what I hope to be my first 100 mile race that I finish this fall and follow along for updates as I train for it.

Today (March 26), I turned 36. Yes, I am feeling older just typing that number! The funny thing is that I am exactly twice the age I was when I flew on an airplane for the first time ever! In the last 18 years, I have flown well over a million miles and visited dozens of countries, mostly due to miles and points.

I Signed Up for My First 103 Mile Race!

My Birthday Gifts/Challenges

In the past on my birthday (or the day or two before), I would do something like run my age or do some other self-imposed challenge. A few years ago, I did 31 miles on my birthday when I turned 31, the next year I did 32 miles, and another time I ran for a week on a treadmill at each race distance up to a 50K that I had run and tried to get within 10% of my best time at that distance – that was a lot of fun!

The last couple of years were a bit of tough on me, running wise. This year, I am finally getting back into it again and feeling pretty good. I thought about running my age this year (36 miles) but decided to do something a little crazier instead. 🙂 Plus, I am running a marathon in a few weeks and did not want to waste time recovering from a run of that length.

My First 103 Mile Race Coming Up

My First Experience Dealing with the 100 Mile Distance

Years ago, I had started a 100 mile race, in Hamilton, Ontario. It was fantastic and I was doing pretty good but I twisted my knee (it was a trail race) and it swelled up enough that I knew I wasn’t going to keep pushing it. So, I had DNF on my first attempt at the 100 mile distance.

A 103 Mile Race

So, this will be my first 10mile race! It is 166KM so that is how it shakes out to the 103 miles. The race is called the Sovek Emek (or round the valley) Ultramarathon. It will take place in Israel in October and is a looped course through the Jezreel Valley of about 20.6 miles per loop.

I am really looking forward to doing this and plan on vlogging and blogging training updates along the way as I prepare for my first 103 miler – and it would be my first 100 miler if I complete it as well!

first 100 mile race

If you want to come and run also, they have numerous distances available as well – 12Km, 21Km, 33Km, 42.2Km (a marathon), 66Km, 100Km, 133Km, and the 166Km.

Why Long Distance Races?

I have run over 50 marathons and ultra marathons over the years, including 12 and 24 hour races and 50 mile races. While I love the marathon distance, there is something relaxing about a race of 50 miles or over. You know from the start that it is really going to hurt! But, you also know you will make some friends on the trail and have some amazing experiences over the course of that day.

Plus, the food is pretty good also! 🙂 I mean, it is like a constant picnic – pizza, lasagna, potatoes (dipped in water and then salt!), grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and a whole lot more! I mean, for 100 miles, you are probably going to burn about 10,000 – 15,000 calories so you need some real food to make up that deficiency!

I am running the Belgrade Marathon in just a few weeks and then will work to keep my mileage around 50-60 miles a week until my training program starts in July. My arrival in Israel will be just a few hours before the race starts so I am not thrilled about that (but it is only a 2 hour flight) but everything else about the race sounds good for me!

I am really looking forward to this! I have a training program I feel confident in and a race that has a schedule that works for me. Now, I just have to do that training. 🙂 Be on the lookout for weekly posts and vlogs about the Road to My First 100 Miler starting this summer!

By the way, if you think this is crazy, this is just one of the qualifying races I need to run for an event I REALLY want to run! 🙂

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


    • Thanks! Actually, for now, I want to qualify for the Spartathlon. To do it for this race, I would need to complete it in 21 hours. I don’t anticipate being able to do that but would use this as one of the ultras to fatten up the registration when the time comes. 🙂

      • Best of luck! By the way, as a reader and a runner, I really enjoy your blog. Keep blogging!

          • Just did Catalina Island Marathon three weeks ago. I have my first 50 miler(mokelumne trail race) coming up in a few weeks. Haven’t planned anything for the second half of the year yet. It all depends if I would survive next month 🙂 Best of luck to you with your training and big plan. Wish you keep running injury free ^_^