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9 ultras in 9 months...fueled by McDonald's burgers

As the saying goes -- “It’s good to have goals” – but that means different things to different people. For North Natomas resident Bill Carr, an IT analyst at Sutter Health, it meant logging hundreds of miles in a short amount of time.

Here’s how it all started. Bill began running about 10 years ago starting with the Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon. Bill liked road running but he had a friend with a passion for trail running so he decided to give it a try. “I got hooked right away,” says Bill. “I liked how you forge friendships on the trail and need to rely on your mental and physical toughness.” That toughness led Bill to challenge himself making a goal to finish nine official races, 50 miles or more, in nine months. “My son plays baseball and a game is nine innings, so I decided to set my goal for nine months.”

Bill started in March 2016 and wrapped up in November. Bill says he has had two DNF’s in his running career but not during this challenge. “The hardest part was trying to find races each month. I had to travel to the Bay Area, Tahoe and Chico and was able to do it,” says Bill. The last race Bill tackled was a 100 miler. He had a self-imposed goal of just finishing it, which he did, and barely missed the famous 24 hour mark by a mere three minutes. “I took a quick nap on the trail twice between miles 80 and 100,” says Bill. “I am ok with that. Time wasn’t important, I just cared about finishing nine races for the season, and it was great ending the season with a 100 mile race.”

It’s not all running when you’re on the trails. Runners need to walk, hike and eat to keep up their stamina. Some runners use Gu, eat trail mix, sandwiches and fresh fruit. Not Bill Carr. “I eat McDonald’s cheeseburgers. People laugh at me,” says Bill. “I eat a Gu one hour and then a cheeseburger the next.” And it’s a special-order cheeseburger, no pickles and extra ketchup so the burger doesn’t get dry. After being tucked away in a running pack, he gets to enjoy the burgers cold.

Bill is part of the Fleet Feet Folsom Running team. He trains with teammates when he can or finds out who is running what race so they can do it together. “I train very early in the morning before work so most of the time, I go it alone,” says Bill. It doesn’t bother him when the alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m. during the week. It’s the only way he can get a long run in before starting his day. “My wife and son think I’m crazy, but that’s ok,” says Bill. “They know it’s important to me.”

So what’s in store for 2017 after reaching the pinnacle with this goal? “I don’t have any crazy goals at this point,” says Bill. He plans to do the Quicksilver 100K in May and hopes to do the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 miler, if selected in the lottery, and will see how things stack up as the year goes on.

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