Skip to content

Redemption Run: The Antelope 100 Miler

Aum on his redemption run

February was a tough month, one full of many personal and professional outcomes. A lot of good happened, but so did a lot of growth. As I turned the page to 30, I also entered taper mode for Antelope 100. This was my 9th time attempting a 100-mile run and I was looking for my 6th finish. A redemption run wasn’t the first thing that crossed my mind, but the concept definitely had its place in my head. Taper flew by a mixed bag, with a soreness on my right foot being an area of concern. Then came the event.

A Chilly Start 

At 5 in the morning on March 9th, it was a chilly start at the Page Sports Complex. 15 minutes before my own start, I got to see my girlfriend and her friends take off for the 50-miler. I couldn’t be prouder if I tried. Before my race, I got a little chat and pep talk from my coach, Peter Mortimer. He simply told me I would surprise myself. Often, I was asked how I felt about being back for a redemption race. Neutral described my feelings. Having done enough of these, I knew a long battle was ahead and I kept myself even keel. After what felt like forever, the 100-mile runners set off as the sun began to rise. 

Page Rim

I did surprise myself. Maintaining a solid but steady pace, I moved exactly according to plan. Back in 2022, the first 38 miles of the course absolutely shattered me. The Antelope 100 course is a scenic one, but 30 miles of it is run on deep fine sand. This means you are working your stabilizer muscles to the max. In between these sandy miles is a slickrock section around the Horseshoe Bend that requires mental finesse just as much as physical finesse. Staying on top of my nutrition, I set a goal to be at Page Rim 10 hours into the race, where six washing machine iterations of the same ten-mile loop awaited me. I made it in around 9 hours, 40 minutes. 


Battle of the Mind 

At around Mile 12, I passed by my girlfriend and her friends. Seeing her on course was so exciting. I was happy to see everyone doing well, but I had to stick to my plan as long as I was feeling good. Saying my goodbyes, I shuffled on in the sand. The slickrock section came during the hottest part of the day, but I slowed my pace slightly and remained steady, making sure to continue to fuel. At the 50K mark, I cleaned my feet and changed my socks. My Kahtoola gaiters did their job, but I wanted to make sure I did mine. My MTL Long Sky 2 Matryx trail runners were light and sturdy enough to last me the entire event. When I got to the rim at Mile 38, the game changed. After taking a beating from the sand and coming to the rim already more beat up than usual, you now had to find a way to push on this 10-mile loop. I hit my first really rough patch mentally during this time but stayed strong. The loop itself was on compact terrain, so it was more a battle of the mind.

A Tough Course 

When the other distances dissipated and the sun went down, the rim got lonely. I took some caffeine and Vitamin D supplement and prepared for the long fight ahead of me. The 30-hour cutoff made for a fast-paced course and you could not afford to get in your own head. Injury and my own mind forced me into a mile 64 DNF in 2022. This time, I focused on the mile in front of me, maintaining my pace as long as I could. Sadly, I was bummed to find out my people had all tapped out of the 50-miler but was also very proud. This is a tough course, make no mistake.  

A Really Dark Place

At Mile 62, Coach Pete joined me. Heading into midnight, we shared wireless earbuds and jammed to heavy metal while crushing the next 16 miles. Now, I was really running with a redemption run mentally. Eventually, Peter had to stop at mile 78 to manage a niggle. The last loop before sunrise almost crushed me as I began to sleepwalk near sunrise. My mind traveled to a really dark place. Pairing up with another runner brought me back from the brink. The sun began to rise around the rim around mile 88, and I had only about 13 miles left. Struggling with nutrition, I tried to eat what I could and drink. I was playing a balancing act with redlining. Finally, I had made it to mile 99, and had 2 miles off the rim to get to the end.

As Hard as I Could 

Nobody told me the last two miles were uphill in deep sand. I pushed as hard as I could, dealing with right heel tightness. Getting under 28 hours seemed out of reach now, but I wouldn’t go down without a fight. My girlfriend’s texts gave me extra strength. As soon as I saw the finish line, I ran even faster, putting together my fastest mile in 30 miles. I sprinted to the finish carrying my Richstone Family Center banner, my girlfriend and my coach awaiting me. The redemption run was complete. 

The Highland Ultra 

As I write this, I’m 3 weeks away from the Highland Ultra 3-day stage race in Scotland. Recovering from Antelope 100 has been a challenge due to various reasons, but that’s a story for the next chapter. Stay tuned for part 3 on April 27th! 


Aum Gandhi Run Tri Bike Magazine Co-Owner

Aum Gandhi is a social media manager, content writer, and co-owner of Run Tri Bike. An active ultrarunner, Aum has a palpable love for the sport and the trail community. His purpose in all his professional and personal activities is to inspire others by leaving a positive impact. Aum maintains a personal blog on his website in which he shares both his running exploits and features of energizing endurance athletes to all audiences. In his free time, you’d probably catch Aum reading, crewing at races, playing video games, out on the trails, or watching NBA Basketball.