Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Outdoor trail runner up for the challenge (Video - News 8 Austin)

A story and video from News8 in Austin on Joe Prusaitis, a local ultrarunner. Be sure to click through to the News8 Austin page and watch the video - this guy is a hoot!

- SD

Outdoor trail runner up for the challenge

By John Hygh

If running 100 miles a week sounds like no problem, try doing it over some of the most difficult terrains in a single race.

Some might call 50-year-old Joe Prusaitis crazy. Over the past nine years he's run in more than 20 100-mile races on rocky outdoor trails and in the mountains.

"I did the road races for a while. I did the marathons. I just prefer to be out in the woods running. I like running, I like camping, I like hiking, and this is all of them put together. I'm going to places that most folks just don't go to," Prusaitis said. "Most of these races, unlike the road races, has a finish rate of 50 percent or less. So there's a lot of folks that are good runners out there that you know are not finishing. It's a variety of different things. It's not because they're not fast enough. It's because they had a problem with their stomach or they got their feet really jacked. Or they got lost in the woods or something like that. There's a variety of things that will take you out of one of these races."

While running these 100-mile races, Joe has experienced a variety of weather conditions. He's had to run through snow, ice and hail. And he's actually won both six- and 24-hour races, but for Prusaitis, winning isn't what it's all about.

"It's exhilarating to get close to the finish of one of these things. Part of the reason you do it, part of the reason is the beauty. And then part of it is just this amazing feeling of accomplishment,” he said. "It's not like I'm trying to run a 100-mile race. I'm going to play in the mountains. I don't care about the 100 miles. If it's 130-50 miles, I don't care. It's trails, it's backwoods, it's off the roads."

And as crazy as that may sound to some, it makes perfect sense to Prusaitis.

In about two weeks, Prusaitis will race in the Leadville 100 in Colorado. Then in September, he'll compete in the Bear 100 in Idaho.

(Copyright 2005, News8 Austin, All Rights Reserved)

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