I'm glad Adam Monke said it because I was starting to feel bad.

The 32-year-old Arlington High School grad, who now lives near Fontanelle, said competitive running is a relative sport. For some people, a mile-long run is an accomplishment. For others, a top-50 finish in a 100-mile, world-renown Ultramarathon is satisfying. Both, though, are OK.

You can guess which side I'd fall under.

I called Monke on Monday to talk about his most recent 100-mile challenge, “The Race Across the Sky.” The Leadville Trail 100 Run is a trek through Colorado's Rocky Mountains with the elevation never dipping far below 10,000 feet.

“It was always something that scared me,” Monke admitted as a “flatlander.”

Though he's an experienced, high-performing runner, it took him several years to get into the race, which only allows qualifiers.

“Most competitive race I've ever run in,” he said.

Before the Aug. 17 event, Monke warmed-up for it in a 100-mile Black Hills race. But I can't imagine anything getting you ready for 831 entrants all starting at the same time like they do for the Leadville 100. The starting gun, the runner said, is a 20-gauge shotgun.

Monke said the first 35 miles or so were his most challenging. Elevation, it turns out, can make you a little ill.

“Running 100 miles is your entire life condensed into one day,” he said. The trail has its ups and downs, but so do your emotions.

Exactly 23 hours, 15 minutes and 27 seconds passed before Monke crossed the finish line. He was 41st out of 831 entrants. Of those 831, only 377 finished the hellacious race founded in 1982.

Isn't that quite the accomplishment? Amazing.

But Monke's running career has recently taken on a new meaning. It's not just about him. He and his wife, Sarah, have three little boys now, all of whom have yet to reach school age.

“I don't really play by the rules when it comes to recovery,” Monke said, meaning he doesn't really take breaks. But he and his family also get to indulge in a rare treat after 100-milers. It's one of two times during the year where they treat themselves with sweets — with the other being Halloween.

Fortunately, Monke races 100 miles more than once a year, so they get to cheat the “two times a year” thing a little bit.

When he's not running, Adam is in the seed business with Nebraska Irrigated Seeds. He is, after all, a “flatlander” like you and me. Which is why it was nice that he informed me that running is a relative sport almost all of us can do.

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