Alum runs 100 mile race, reaches new heights

By By Amanda Vinner Features Editor

Question: What is 12,600 feet high, 100 miles long and run all over? Answer: The Leadville Trail 100 Race in Leadville, Colorado, that CHS alumnus, Bryan Sperry, completed this past summer.
Sperry, who graduated in 1981, began running the race Aug. 21 at 4 a.m. and did not stop until 8:47 a.m. the following day, for a total running time of 28 hours.
“I enjoy setting challenging goals for myself each year,” Sperry said. “I knew that if I committed myself to participating in the race, the byproduct would be that I would be in the best shape of my life.”
Fellow ’81 CHS alumnus James Kiernan paced Sperry during the final 50 miles of the race.
“My role as a pacer was to carry fluids, food, extra clothing [and] lights, but ultimately it was to make sure Bryan finished,” Kiernan said.
Although Sperry and Kiernan were successful, training for the race was not an easy task.
“[Sometimes] I would take a half a day for long runs and make the drive to Leadville to run sections of the actual course,” Sperry said. “The weather in Leadville is unpredictable, and there were many days that I was scared off mountains by storms. I recall one run where I was forced to hide in the entrance to an old mine while the lightning subsided.”
According to Kiernan, running along the actual course was an integral part of training because most of their running time was in the dark and they needed to be familiar with the course.
Sperry had never run a full 100 miles prior to the race. Instead, he trained at different time and distance intervals.
“Generally, my week consisted of running 50 to 85 miles broken up in various lengths and speeds,” Sperry said. “The longest run [I] did to get ready [was] the JFK 50 mile race in Maryland last November.”
Both Sperry and Kiernan were involved in sports while at CHS. Kiernan played soccer and Sperry was on the wrestling team, and both said that their experiences at CHS taught them to set their sights high.
“One important lesson I learned at CHS was how to set goals, and more importantly, how to reach them,” Kiernan said. “Along the way, I made plenty of mistakes, but staying focused allowed me to remain on track.”
According to Sperry, his completion of the race can be attributed to his detailed planning for the future.
“You will compete against some very well-trained and smart people, [but] many don’t finish,” Sperry said. “[You need to] set your goals each year, plan your path from start to finish and stay on plan for results.”
After training and competing in the race, Sperry can note a difference between himself and others his age.
“At a time when many of my peers struggle to walk around a golf course, I cannot tell you how good it feels on a daily basis to be in the type of shape that I am in,” Sperry said.