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A Returning Citizen's Journey of Running an Ultra Marathon

Posted on January 18, 2022

Spencer Imbach, a recent returning citizen, ran a 50k ultra marathon this past December and partnered with Thrive DC to fundraise for our New Directions program. He raised a total of $3,369 and placed 7th overall! To learn more about his experience fundraising and running this race, we followed up with a few questions.

What inspired you to run an ultra marathon?

I would say my ultimate source of inspiration was simply the capacity of the human spirit. It is truly amazing what we are capable of and can accomplish even as mortal humans, and the unlimited potential presented by this thought is definitely what motivated me to push myself and venture into a new, unfamiliar territory in which I would have no choice but to rely on my strength and raw spirit to make it through.

What was the hardest part of the marathon? What kept you inspired to finish it?

The hardest part was definitely the preparation, especially it being my first race. This is also where I made the most crucial mistakes, and as a result had to push myself through a whole new threshold of pain I had never known could exist in life. This happened because I had to stop and use the bathroom around mile 12, which was physically detrimental to my performance, and made it extremely difficult to keep going!

What did you wish you knew before running it? How has running played a role in your journey as a returning citizen?

I wish I knew more about the parking and shuttle situation, so that I would not have missed the start of the race! It definitely would have been a different experience had I been running with the rest of the group from the start. I would say I was substantially informed as far as important things to know for a first race, but it really came down to minor administrative details that we should have paid more attention to. This just shows that proper preparation prevents poor performance.

With that said, I am grateful beyond words to have running as a consistent component of my life, and it has helped with my growth and recovery in so many ways. To practice running is to show yourself you are capable, and I've found that it's an amazing way to see and experience the notion of progress, growth, and consistency in striving towards goals.

What is next for you? Any more races or plans for the future?

I am currently working my way through my second round of the 75 Hard program, and I recently signed up for the Eugene Marathon out in Oregon this May! I am still recovering from this race, but I trust time will give me a chance. Absolutely no plans to stop running as far as I'm concerned.

Read more about Spencer's story and his decision to run the 50k ultra marathon here.

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