Local resident Brian Kochanski conquered the long and arduous race this past Saturday, March 7, spanning 101.5 miles along the bank’s paved Hwy. 12 in 25 hours and 44 minutes.
During the race, Kochanski and the many other runners ran the flat course with a total elevation gain of 139 feet and a loss of 138 feet and were given a 30 hour cut off time.
Along the course, Kochanski had the chance to see three of the famous NC lighthouses and cross the 2.5-mile long Bonner Bridge, which spans the Oregon Inlet to Bodie Island and Hatteras Island at the halfway point.
Kochanski, who began running roughly five years ago and has run two 50 mile and one 100 kilometer endurance races, said he decided to run a 100 mile endurance race as the next step in running.
“I had been looking at this race for a while and thought I’d give it a try on a flat road,” he said about choosing the Graveyard 100.
Kochanski explained that he trained for the run by going on short and long runs throughout the weeks leading up to the race, running his longer distance on the weekends when he had more time available.
When Kochanski started out early on Saturday morning, he said the temperature was in the 50s for most of the day and the wind was low, with quite a bit to look at in the beginning of the race.
“The first 40 miles were pretty much your typical beach towns and the last 60 miles was pretty remote, with only power lines, street signs and sand dunes,” he said. “The wind was okay until the very end and there was a pretty big headwind and the temperature got back down into the 30s.”
Although he prepared well for the race, Kochanski said he underestimated a few aspects.
“I kind of underestimated the pounding on the asphalt for 100 miles and the isolation,” he said. “There were stretches where it was dark with nothing on either side of the road and the nearest town being 11 miles away.”
Kochanski said he wished he’d had an extra pair of shoes, possibly a half size larger as a person’s feet tend to swell during a race of that capacity.
While Kochanski was alone for much of the race, he did have support from family from time to time.
“My wife, Brooke, would meet me at each aid station, reset my water bottle and help me with anything I needed,” he said. “My brother-in-law, Doug Mackie, was with me for the last 40 miles or so. He was the only person I really talked to during the race.”
Kochanski explained that his most enjoyable moment during the race was around mile 58 when Mackie started running with him.
“I kind of got my second wind then and ran well until around mile 73, and when I came around the last corner and saw the finish line,” he shared.
Luckily, he did have Mackie and Brooke there supporting him along the course since his most challenging point was around mile 73.
“I was kind of staggering and falling asleep,” he said. “I ended up getting to one of the water stations, getting in my truck and taking a short nap.”
Kochanski said if it hadn’t been for Mackie, he might have been too tempted to drop out of the race.
“After I woke up from my nap it was tempting not to keep going, but Doug was sitting there in the truck right next to me. He’d come all this way to support me, I couldn’t just give up,” he remarked. “He supported me by just talking to me and being a fresh set of legs.”
And so, Kochanski continued on.
Kochanski explained that running along Hwy. 12 can be isolating.
“It’s so quiet and isolated,” he remarked. “I saw a lot of other runners getting delirious.”
Different than other endurance runs he’d done, Kochanski said upon finishing he was less excited than normal and more relieved.
“I was so exhausted it was more of a relief than anything. I have been a lot more elated with other races, but I was more relieved and need some sleep,” he said Sunday afternoon having had only three hours of sleep since finishing the race.
Kochanski said while there isn’t anything currently planned for the future, he is interested in doing another 100-mile run.
“I’ll do another one, but probably a trail race,” he said.