Fifteen-year-old Tatum Hagen from Wilsonville, OR, recently completed the 100 Miles to Auburn virtual event. She covered the distance in a combined time of 26:08:34 over a two-day period.
Below she describes her experience in an effort to inspire other youth to reach for something that may seem unattainable.
What is your athletic background?
I ran my first 5K at the age of 3 and have run on and off since then. I am a Lacrosse player, a gymnast, and a swimmer. Most importantly, I had back surgery in September, 2019, and this 100 mile race was something that was going to reassure me that even though I still have tough days with my back, it won’t stop me from being passionate about something I want done.
Prior to the 100 miles, I had only run 10 miles and that was mid May.
What on earth made you decide to run 100 miles in two days?
A gut instinct, where I just got the urge to experience this race in such a short amount of time. I knew what I was getting myself into and I was stoked. There wasn’t anything stopping me from at least trying it!
What was the longest run you’ve completed prior to attempting this 100 miles?
Where did you run?
85 miles were on a treadmill in our garage; 15 were outside around the neighborhood and town I live in.
You ran 85 miles on a treadmill. How did you entertain yourself?
Funny story, I would listen to music, watch movies, read stickers on the storage rack above the Peloton screen, and (laughs again) I would do TikToks.
It’s not often a 15 year old does this type of thing; what would you say was your biggest hurdle while running?
The emotional part for sure. I was very aware that it was a big task; something abnormal for people my age to be doing. I was very overwhelmed at times, I was uneducated around how to tackle this type of race; what to eat, how to pace, etc., all the unknown of the barriers that I experienced was hard at times.
What did nutrition look like for you?
I’m plant based. Nutrition was a lot of smaller snack type foods; almonds, granola, granola bars, bananas/honey (thank you Jesse Itzler), a lot of water and electrolytes. I resorted to Starburst for a quick sugar snack sometimes.
Who was your support team?
My Mom and Dad for sure. They both ran with me, talked to me etc. My Mom was a big factor in keeping me positive and keeping me smiling, I had an emotional breakdown at mile 48 on Day 1 and just simply needed to have my Mom talk to me about what I had already accomplished. I needed a reminder to recognize how far I’ve come in this journey. My Dad was always checking in on me, timing, etc. He helped me get through the last 16.15 miles for sure. I was beat down and stressed, he ran with me and kept me going. He could only push me so far however, I had to be accountable for the work that was ahead of me. I am the only one who could finish the race.
What surprised you the most about running 100 miles?
The emotion from running. I had definitely never gave myself enough credit. People always say, you don’t actually know your strengths until you are tested, and it’s so true. I had no expectations other than finishing. My mind was strictly on the goal I had set out. Everything that came up in between was just stuff I had to deal with and move past to get to the goal.
I learned I could easily turn pain into humor thus growth.
What do you hope people will take away from your story you are sharing?
That a single person has so much more mental strength than they think they have. Confidence is key, just go for it. In my eyes, people can only truly experience those cliche sayings about perseverance and goals to the max if they have attempted a big challenge.
What advice would you give another 15 year old who reads your story?
Things in life really are mind over matter. There’s a lot of experiences to be had, keeping a positive mindset can change how you feel. Put something on your calendar that challenges you in a big way, something you fear, something that scares you, then go after it with no expectations!
The biggest question, would you do it again?
Absolutely! Yes absolutely I want to do it again. I’m already searching for races. Next will be some 50 mile runs so I can continue to learn my body. But yes, definitely more 100 milers in my future. Hopefully not virtual, I’d like to be with people.