Rainwater takes 12th in race without a finish line

| November 15, 2019

COSHOCTON – Gabe Rainwater has been running in ultra-style races since 2007 and last month, he took 12th place in the Big Dog Ultimate Backyard Race in Tennessee, the world championship for backyard ultra running.

The format of the race features competitors who run a 4.1-mile trail loop in an hour, every hour. As the race goes on, more and more participants start to lose steam and drop out. The race doesn’t finish until there’s one racer left standing.

Each participant starts their next loop on the hour every hour and has to finish the 4.1 mile loop in under an hour so they have time to rest and then start again. After running 150 miles in 36 hours, Rainwater dropped out and was 12th out of 75 participants from all over the world.

“It’s a set pace and if you can’t keep that pace, you’re done,” said Rainwater. “If you can’t finish a loop in an hour, you’re done.”

There were 75 runners at the beginning of the race and after 24 hours, that number had been cut almost in half to about 40 runners. After 48 hours, the race was down to four people. Rainwater dropped out at hour 36.

“The last lap, I really didn’t want to do it, but I pushed to be out there,” he said. “When I stopped, I was done emotionally, mentally, and physically. My body just gave out on me.”

Rainwater previously ran two races in Ohio last March in Marietta and in May in Glenville. In the race last March, Rainwater finished second and ran 126 miles. In May, he also finished second running 133 miles. That race qualified him to run in the world championship this October in Tennessee. He said it was the first time he has raced out of state in 10 years.

“I like the competitiveness of racing,” said Rainwater. “I like competing with other people, but you’re also competing with yourself. I’m also drawn to the longer distance races because the farther you go and the longer you go, things can happen that are just magical, to feel this good or to feel this bad, to be running this fast or this slow. It sort of condenses the emotions of a lifetime down to 36 hours or 24 hours.”

Rainwater said meeting new people from other countries in Tennessee was a highlight of the event.

“There were others who were speaking languages I didn’t know and then also listening to the stories of how they got to Tennessee,” said Rainwater.

Because Rainwater did not finish the race, he and 73 other participants received a DNF (did not finish), which is usually a negative stigma for racers.

“This format is as much a mental thing as anything,” said Rainwater. “Getting a DNF was just another mental thing that plays with your mind.”

Rainwater has already signed up to compete in the two races in Marietta and Glenville, Ohio for next year.

“I want to go farther than what I’ve done,” he said.

He said his wife Heather and his family have been very supportive of his running.

“I’d like to thank my wife and my family,” said Gabe. “My parents watch my kids when I’m travelling and usually, Heather gets to go with me.”

Gabe said that running has taught him a lot about life and has made him grow not only athletically but personally.

“The emotions of your everyday life are similar to that of running,” said Gabe. “You don’t want to do it or you’re worried, but you kind of accept that and keep moving. It turns out to be not as bad as you thought or it can be bad, but you keep moving and you get through it. It’s taught me not to get worked up over immediate feelings.”

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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