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Morgan trail runner completes 100-mile race

Mar 21, 2024 10:44AM ● By Verlene Johnson

Anthony with friends and family who came to pace him and cheer him on. Courtesy photos

On March 9, Anthony Nelson found himself in Arizona taking on the biggest physical challenge of his life. 

Nelson ran cross country and played soccer at Morgan High School in addition he has always enjoyed running. In his adult life, he has competed in several races, half marathons, and five full marathons, his fastest marathon being three hours and seventeen minutes in September of 2023 at the St. George Marathon. 

Last fall Anthony started trail running and quickly fell in love with it. When he found out there was such a thing as a 100-mile trail race, he instantly set a goal to participate in one.

He officially began training for a 100-miler last November. He clocked over 800 miles over a few months on Morgan roads in preparation for the Antelope Canyon 100-miler in Page, Arizona.

On the morning of March 9, Nelson began the longest run he would have to date. Starting at 6:00 a.m., Nelson would run all day into the darkness of night finishing the next morning. “I have spent my whole life wandering on the beaches and Slot Canyons of Lake Powell,” Anthony said this place has always been his favorite place in the world.

With the help of family and friends, Nelson was able to accomplish a huge goal. Starting out running 32 miles solo through Slot Canyons, along the rim of Horse Shoe Bend and miles of deep sand he was joined at mile 32 by his mom, Karen Nelson, who he said sparked his love for running at a young age. She was able to help pace him through mile 38 as he ran into the city of Page.

Mikelle Kap, joined Anthony to help pace him as he ran the first two loops of six around the rim rail of Page. At mile 58, his long-time friend, Tyler Brooks, pushed Anthony to his limit right from the start, running with him until mile 78. At this point, they were running 12-minute miles.

Knowing he was coming up on the most difficult stretch as the early morning hours crept in he was grateful when his wife, Becca, joined him at 2:00 am to pace him through the remainder of the race. “The closer the finish line got, the more the pain settled in,” Anthony recalls. “Every mile seemed to stretch longer and longer as morning got closer.”

Just before 8:30 am on March 10, Anthony was joined by his son Cove as he ran across the finish line completing the 101 miles in 26 hours and 47 minutes.

Of the 80 runners that started the race, only 34 crossed the finish line with Anthony placing first in his age group and finishing tenth overall. 

His wife Becca said that Anthony is very proud that he was able to finish, let alone place well in the standings in his first attempt. “As his wife, I am unbelievably proud of his hard work and dedication to complete something so difficult! The race was tough, but I watched him wake up before the sun and train in the snow and ice for months and months and that seemed just as tough. His determination is truly inspiring to me and to those who followed his journey. His three boys love watching him finish his races and cheer him on as much as possible.”

During the entire race, Anthony continually told himself “There was no pain that I could feel that Brance Brown hasn't felt and he always comes out of top.” He felt his friend, who is battling cancer, with him the whole way. “Whenever my legs, feet, toes, ankles, knees, back, shoulders, hips or calves started hurting, I would tell myself ‘your brain lies to you.’ My brain was trying hard to get me to quit and to give up so it could feel safe again, but I knew I was capable of more.” λ

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