Washington resident John Cash recently ran 140 miles in 24 hours and hasn’t slowed down yet.
Cash recently won the “24 the Hard Way” race in Oklahoma City, Okla., earning him a spot on the U.S. National 24 Hour team for the world 24-hour race, in which six U.S. competitors will form a running team.
The top three of six mileages will be combined for a team total and the country with the top combined mileage will win the world race, Cash explained.
The 24 the Hard Way race was run on a .97-mile loop certified by the U.S. Track and Field Association.
The runner with the most mileage at the end of 24 hours, which was Cash, won the race. He ran 146 laps to beat out 121 runners from all over the country.
Cash was the only participant from Washington and one of three in Missouri to run the race.
“I was very excited (to win), very surprised. I feel lucky,” he said. “I think there were better runners there than I am.”
Cash, who has been running ultra-marathons for about four years, wasn’t even sure he was going to participate in the race. But the head of the medical staff at another race convinced him to give the championship race a try.
Cash earned free entry into the 24 the Hard Way race by winning a race this past spring, which helped motivate him to enter.
Although no date has been set for the world race, Cash said it’s typically held in the spring. The International Association of Ultrarunning (IAU) will coordinate that race.
To prepare for the national competition, Cash said he spent time running on roads and pavement rather than trails like he’s used to. He said the terrain was similar to that of Washington’s riverfront trail.
His race goal was to run 115 miles without walking — a goal he achieved.
“It takes a lot of practice,” he said.
Cash said he doesn’t have any “secret” training strategies for distance running.
“Once you’re in shape enough to run 12 hours, you can do 24 hours. It’s all in your head,” he said, adding that everyone gets tired and thinks about stopping.
“If you keep making yourself, you’d be surprised how far you can go,” he said.
After winning a 100-mile ultra-marathon last year, Cash said he believes anyone can run long distances.
“I still believe that,” he said, adding that there were people in their 70s running the race. The oldest competitor, according to the race results, was 78 years old.
For Cash, though, running ultra-marathons is about pushing his limits and seeing how far he can go.
“I’m always curious to see how far I can go and what I’m capable of,” he said. “I do it for the challenge.”
Cash is a part of the St. Louis Ultrarunners Group (SLUG). He lives in Washington with his wife, Renee, and two daughters, Megan and Melissa.
He works in the quality control department at Sporlan Valve.