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Meyers creates ultramarathon challenge with a lot of sole

March 25, 2013|By ANDREW MASON | andrewm@herald-mail.com

The only unfortunate thing about the new Sole Challenge 24-hour race is that Rick Meyers will be too busy to run it.

Meyers, a veteran ultramarathon runner and the owner and operator of The Runner’s Sole store in Chambersburg, Pa., seems to live for events like this. But being the race director might be the next best thing to competing.

The Sole Challenge, which will be held May 25-26 on Memorial Day weekend at Norlo Park in Fayetteville, Pa., is Meyers’ baby. And he only wants it to thrive.

“I’ve been working on this race for about two years,” Meyers said. “I’m always traveling to go to these races, and I wanted to bring one home and show the people of Franklin County how exciting and fun these can be. What other race can family and friends watch their family members or loved ones running over and over?”

And over and over … and over and over, as participants will run continuous loops on a 1.55-mile paved course around the park, beginning at 10 a.m. on May 25 and ending at 10 a.m. on May 26. The top runners likely will cover more than 100 miles.

“There’s a lot of pain and suffering,” Meyers said. “That’s why I call it the Sole Challenge, because it’s all about you.”

The course and event will be certified and sanctioned by USA Track & Field. Meyers said it will be the first ultramarathon ever held in Franklin County and the first sanctioned 24-hour race held in Pennsylvania.

The event also will include six- and 12-hour races, which will start at the same time as the 24-hour competition. There also will be a 5K (two-loop) race to kick things off at 8 a.m.

Meyers already has registrants from as far away as Seattle. He is offering prize money to try to attract some of the nation’s elite endurance athletes.

“We’re just trying to make it one great, big, running, weekend event,” Meyers said.

The festivities will start May 24 at Wilson College in Chambersburg, where legendary ultrarunner Scott Jurek will be speaking and signing copies of his book, “Eat and Run.” Jurek is a seven-time champion of the prestigious Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run and the former American record holder for 24 hours (165.7 miles).

While Jurek won’t be competing in the Sole Challenge, he will be the official race starter.

Entry fees are $150 for 24 hours, $125 for 12 hours and $100 for six hours. Tickets for the Jurek event at Wilson College are $35.

For more information, go to www.therunnerssole.com.

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