By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV
Local resident Todd Ramboldt, who is Vice President of Lending at The Bank of Monroe and married with three children, spoke to The Real WV this past week about his hobby of running ultramarathons.
QUESTION: Tell us about your latest 50-mile race.
ANSWER: This race was a 50 mile trail race at the Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. It’s the highest trail race in Virginia at an elevation of over 5,400 feet. It literally goes through different climates. It gets arid on top…a lot of rocks and low shrubs. There are highland cattle roaming free along with Shetland ponies up there. You’re truly running by them while you’re running. They see people all the time so they’re pretty calm.
QUESTION: How did you do?
ANSWER: This was the first time I’d competed in a 50-miler. I ran it in 13 hours and 29 minutes, but I ran an extra 6 miles when I took a wrong turn at one point. My goal was 10-12 hours. I achieved that with 50 miles but the last six made it tough.
QUESTION: Did you take any breaks during your run?
ANSWER: I did stop a couple times and sat down once at aid station (where they have food and drinks available for runners) to change socks.
QUESTION: What did you eat and drink to endure running for over 13 hours straight?
ANSWER: You wear a vest with a water bottle and an electrolyte bottle. You also pack calorie gels and chews. I try to eat every five miles. My goal was to intake 100-120 calories every five miles. I tried to drink both bottles dry between every aid station, which is every 5-10 miles. The people at the aid stations are so encouraging. They have a lot of tater tots, perogies, chips, gummy bears, bacon, and watermelon. You wouldn’t believe how good a salty chip tastes when you’ve been running a long distance! I ate more at this 50 miler than the 50k I ran before. You’re trying to consume as much food as you can without getting too full but also as much liquid as you can. I burned about 7,900 calories during the run.
QUESTION: What did you eat after you were done?
ANSWER: My favorite go-to after run meal is Sheetz. I had a few breakfast sandwiches, a bag of chips, and I really haven’t stopped eating since then.
QUESTION: How is your body feeling afterwards?
ANSWER: Runners typically lose toenails after running an ultra. I may lose a few from this one. The next morning wasn’t too bad. I stopped twice to stretch on the way home the night of the race. I took a hot shower and foam rolled that night. I woke up the next morning and soaked. I walked a couple miles and worked the soreness out. I’m taking a week or two off after the 50-miler. Most runners do that just to let their bodies heal. I feel better after the 56 miler than the 31 miler. I was more prepared this time.
QUESTION: How fast do you go through running shoes running these long distances?
ANSWER: You could get up to 400 miles out of a pair of shoes. I buy a new pair about every four months. I’ve run in a couple different brands. I’ve ran in Asics, Altra, and Brooks. I’m currently running in Asics. I believe you need to try on shoes at your local shoe store before you purchase, being the shoes do change as well as your feet.
QUESTION: When did you start running, and what made you try it?
ANSWER: I just started running in 2021. I got beat by some people who were older than me at a 5K and that fueled my fire. I started training for the ultra’s in Oct/Nov 2022. When I jump into things, I go overboard. My family thinks I’m crazy.
QUESTION: What other races have you run?
ANSWER: I competed in the Cabin Fever 50k in February 2023 that started in Fayetteville and ended at Ace Adventure. I came in 32nd out of 144. The end of April I ran in the Falling Water 100k relay with Travis McClintic, Elise McClintic, and Kris Swofford, once again at Ace Adventure. We won and beat the other co-ed team behind us by like an hour. I did the half marathon at Watoga State Park and 10k Spartan Trail Race last year.
QUESTION: What drives you to run such long distances?
ANSWER: The competition is what drives me the most. You don’t have to be the fastest but you can be the fastest in your age group and get rewarded for it. It’s also a good stress reliever. You can run to truly clear your mind from the daily stressors. And you get to be outside and take off and go.
QUESTION: What is your running/training schedule?
ANSWER: I run five days a week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday. Normally Monday and Saturday are recovery days. Tuesday is an intermediate day. Sometimes I’ll run twice. Thursdays is speed day so I go to the track and do speed work. Sunday is my long run day, which is anywhere from 8-18 miles.
QUESTION: Where do you like to run locally?
ANSWER: I like to run on 219. That stretch of road provides another challenge with the passing cars. My favorite loop is going from Court Street to Church Street and going to Walmart and back. That’s about 5.25 miles. That’s enjoyable because you have hills and straight stretches. Running in the state forest is always fun as well. The change of scenery is what you need sometimes. It keeps you going.
QUESTION: Are there other folks running ultramarathons in the Greenbrier Valley?
ANSWER: Yes, I know of 5-6 other guys here that do the ultra thing as well. Adam Perry lives in Lewisburg. He ran the 100k in April and is running an 100 miler in November. Brian DeRouen who manages the Alderson Hospitality House. He’s run a bunch of 100 milers. Jesse Smith is starting to run some of those events. Those guys run together some. Tyler Cannon runs long distances also. I usually run by myself but occasionally join with groups.
QUESTION: What is coming up for you the rest of the year in terms of running events and goals?
ANSWER: I’ll do the half marathon at the Spartan Trail Race this year and some local spots too. I also want to help a friend qualify for the Boston Marathon. The coaches have the middle and high school programs rolling and they’ve got a new track coming. They have more kids’ running track than I’ve seen. There are 4-5 girls that are really, really good. The thing about running is anybody can do it at any speed for your health. It’s also exciting to see people doing it for the competition and succeeding.