Local ultra runner Reid Woolsey has broke the world record for the greatest accumulated elevation in the space of a month.
On Monday, October 31, the Burnsville resident concluded his “Green Max Challenge” attempt – in which he ran an average of 30 miles a day – for a total of 500,635 feet elevation and 933 miles. This feat, certified by Strava and the Circus Seriesbreeze Colorado resident Chris Fisher world record 2021 at over 100,000 feet.
“It’s so mind boggling, even for an ultra seasoned runner, to understand the performance he’s doing. It’s really superhuman,” said race director Julian Carr. “The ultra running community is jaw dropping to what he’s accomplished.”
Notably, Woolsey is the sole resident of North Carolina to place in the top 100 – as well as the East Coast alone. The reason for this, Carr explains, is due to the large amount of elevation that is more readily available in places like Alaska, Colorado and Montana.
To compensate for WNC’s relative lack of elevation, Woolsey identified two of the steepest trails in the area (wooded ridge and Staire Creek) and executed them again and again. Typically, Woolsey told us, that meant starting at 5:30 a.m. and running until about 9 p.m., stopping mostly to eat and soak tired muscles in a cold stream beside a trail. On a typical day, he walked the same trail between 16 and 30 times, then slept about four hours a night.
“It was a crazy time,” Woolsey shared. “I was in my head a lot…dealing with the boredom and pain of minor muscle injuries. And there were times when I would go days without seeing another person, so the loneliness was also a challenge.
Another big obstacle was Calorie intake. Woolsey’s partner, Alana Cloud, who worked with family members to support him for much of the trip, said on average Woolsey ate six sandwiches, three or four cups of ramen, four protein shakes, two breakfast burritos, four candy bars, five energy drinks. drinks, a handful of pastries, and then after that…dinner.
“I ate so much food. I almost wanted to have a feeding tube put in me,” Woolsey joked.
What kept Woolsey going, even after injuring his knee days into the competition, was pure grain. He had set out to break the world record and was determined to push himself to the absolute limit.
“I wanted to see what I’m capable of,” he explained. “To see what I could do for an entire month if I was dedicated.”
Now that he’s completed the Max Vert challenge, Woolsey says he can’t wait to sit on the couch, cuddle his dogs and lay still – and then plan his next adventure.
“I probably won’t [the Max Vert] again next year… I will shoot for other goals. But if someone gets my record, maybe I’ll come back and go again.
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