HomeRunningPete Ripmaster, Owls, and 100-Mile Runs – iRunFar

Pete Ripmaster, Owls, and 100-Mile Runs – iRunFar

Working for a trigger is nothing new within the sport, however Pete Ripmaster of North Carolina has devoted a lot of his life to utilizing operating as a fundraising device to assist others, and his new enterprise is unquestionably out of the atypical. After a life-changing encounter with a snowy owl throughout a low level whereas racing the 2014 Iditarod Path Invitational 350 Mile (ITI 350) in Alaska, Ripmaster determined to begin his Owl Runs 100s venture.

He goals to run a 100-mile distance in every state whereas fundraising for the Owl Analysis Institute. Most just lately, on April 13, 2024, he ran a “selfmade” 100-mile run in Malvern, Iowa, his twenty eighth state, and he’s raised greater than $37,000 within the course of.

Ripmaster isn’t any stranger to ultrarunning, having accomplished occasions similar to Leadville 100 Mile, Tahoe 200 Mile, and the Arrowhead Extremely 135 Mile. He’s additionally gained the Iditarod Path Invitational 1,000 Mile, a foot race throughout the inside of Alaska within the depths of the Alaskan winter. Ripmaster could also be greatest identified for finishing a number of the most tough races on the market and fundraising for numerous causes via his operating, however he’s most excited to speak concerning the operating group and the way it’s impacted his life.

Pete Ripmaster - posing with owl art

Pete Ripmaster makes use of his Owl Runs 100s venture to fundraise for the Owl Analysis Institute. All pictures courtesy of Pete Ripmaster.

An Owl Encounter on the Iditarod Path Invitational

Owls hadn’t been a spotlight of Ripmaster’s life earlier than his time on the ITI 350 in 2014. Members have the choice of racing on foot, by bike, or with skis. There are additionally two distances the shorter 350-mile model from Knik to McGrath, and the 1,000-mile possibility from Knik to Nome. Most years, it’s held solely on snow. It was Ripmaster’s first yr doing the race and issues didn’t go as deliberate. By day two of the journey, he had wrecked your complete bottoms of his toes and, as a result of a navigation error, discovered himself utterly alone on the path and in final place.

In a second when he was beating himself up and feeling all-around terrible, he had an encounter on the path that modified not solely the trajectory of his race however his total life.

When describing the expertise, he says, “Subsequent factor you realize, a snowy owl flies out of nowhere, lands on prime of the tree proper subsequent to me, and simply stares down at me.” He continues on to say that the expertise felt like far more than a lone man looking at a snowy owl. “As a really religious individual, I felt there was some connection. My unique thought was that I had misplaced each my mother and father and I used to be like, is that this my dad or mum coming to test on me? It simply felt so highly effective, and prefer it was one thing greater than what it was.”

This expertise modified Ripmaster’s total outlook on the race, and he went from being in final place and dejected to ending the race that yr.

After finishing the 350-mile model of the race 4 years in a row, from 2014 to 2017, he moved up in distance to the total route in 2018. He ended up profitable the 1,000-mile distance in 26 days, 13 hours, and 44 minutes.

Pete Ripmaster dragging sled in Iditarod Trail Invitational

Pete Ripmaster dragging a sled throughout the inside of Alaska.

Fundraising and New Challenges

Upon returning dwelling after the 1,000-mile race, Ripmaster began brainstorming new challenges for himself. By this time, he had already run a marathon in each state and raised $62,000 for breast most cancers analysis in his mother’s identify, however he wished to do much more.

Almost 50 years of age, Ripmaster says, “I used to be like, effectively I’m not 80 but. I nonetheless have some good years of endurance in entrance of me, what’s my subsequent venture?” With marathons in each state executed, he began researching how many individuals had run a 100-mile race in every state and got here up with nothing. Ripmaster defined his thought course of when deciding on his subsequent problem: “I used to be like, I believe I may do this. I believe I’ve it in me to do this.”

He then began trying into the Owl Analysis Institute. After supporting them via donations on his personal, he determined to do one thing greater by together with them in his mission to run a 100 miler in each state. He determined he would intention to lift $50,000 for the Owl Analysis Institute via his efforts and began his Owl Run 100s venture. When requested why he didn’t intention for a conventional ultramarathon in every state as an alternative of a 100 miler, Ripmaster acts like that had by no means even crossed his thoughts. All or nothing appears to be his mindset, and that mindset is making a distinction within the lives of individuals and animals.

Pete Ripmaster - face during Iditarod Trail Invitational

An encounter with a Snowy Owl on the Iditarod Path Invitational 350 set Ripmaster’s life on a brand new trajectory.

Owl Runs 100s

The Owl Run 100s venture formally took flight in 2019, and on April 13, 2024, Ripmaster accomplished his twenty eighth 100 miler of the venture in Iowa. He has raised greater than $37,000 so far.

The Iowa occasion was one in every of his “selfmade” occasions, the place he creates a route and runs it outdoors of any sanctioned occasion. Ripmaster believes that an essential a part of this self-made problem is the assist of the operating group and the power to highlight it — especifically the path operating and ultrarunning group.

“​​As I get nearer to ending this venture, the cool factor is that the operating group is at all times supportive. It’s an awesome group to be part of, however when you may excite different individuals who aren’t even presently part of the group to acknowledge the group and grow to be conscious of issues like ultrarunning, it helps develop the game. It helps get extra individuals concerned, and you realize, it wants that. It could seem to be a giant group, however evaluating it to different sports activities, it’s not. It’s area of interest and it’s tiny.”

Ripmaster isn’t selecting simple routes for these 100-mile runs. He’s raced occasions such because the Leadville 100 Mile, West Virginia Rim to River 100 Mile, and the Rocky Racoon 100 Mile as a part of the venture. Ripmaster has additionally accomplished a 100-mile run on a monitor, had a swarm of horseflies chew him a whole bunch of instances at one in every of his support stations, and run a two-mile out-and-back course 50 instances.

Pete Ripmaster running 100-mile events

Ripmaster is utilizing a mix of sanctioned and “selfmade” 100-mile occasions to run 100 miles in each state.

It’s not at all times fairly, and it’s by no means simple, however Ripmaster is dedicated to elevating cash for owls and taking full benefit of the wholesome years he has left. Ripmaster hopes to complete the Owl Run 100s within the subsequent 4 or 5 years by finishing 5 or extra 100-mile runs annually.

If you wish to be part of or comply with Ripmaster’s unbelievable journey, try his web site and cheer him on from afar, or perhaps even in individual in a state close to you. His subsequent cease is the Vermont 100 Mile in July.

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  • Have you ever ever undertaken a giant self-created operating problem?
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