Christopher Thomas and I first crossed paths last year, when he volunteered for me at The Canyons Endurance Runs, working the Foresthill Aid Station. I had asked him to sort out the runners drops bags, in numerical order, putting the top male and female towards the front. I’ll never forget his ear to ear smile when he excitedly accepted, similar to a kid in a toy store, able to choose any and every toy he ever wanted.
Chris, our September DPMR Member Highlight, graduated from that toy store and went straight to big boy school, an X-Men Academy, high up in the mountains. This year he completed the triple crown of 100ks! Not sure what that is? Neither do I, but I am pretty sure it was created over pancakes the Sunday after last year’s Castle Peak 100k. Still not sure? Join us every Sunday after Castle Peak, and we’ll have you running 100 milers every weekend in the summer. Speaking of our beloved race, Chris is a two time finisher, crossing the line once again this past weekend. Chris
didn’t couldn’t stop at the triple of 100ks, he added on more 50ks, 100ks, and 100 milers then I have fingers or toes to count on, and he got faster!
There is no mistaking his love for his wife Michele, nor her love for him. The two of them are an ultra-running power duo! Their running club, ReddAntler Running, now owns our Andromeda aid station at Castle Peak, and the Ruck-a-Chuck aid station at the Canyons. Michele will also be toeing the line at her first 100 miler this November at Rio Del Lago, with Chris at her side, pacing.
Read on to determine if Chris is the son of Professor X and why he enjoys his alone time on the trails. A shame really, since I really like hanging out with the guy.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
Sonoma County / Wine Country in Rohnert Park, California
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
My wife who is younger, simply asked me not to die. I was 210 pounds and smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day for past 32 years. So, 3 years ago I began trail running, and still haven’t run a road race.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? if not racing, what motivates you?
I love racing but it does not always bring out the best in me. This year I ran five 100K races and three 100 mile races. Just being alone on the trail is what motivates me, the longer the better.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
I would love to run WS100 of course but really UTMB so I can finally visit my wife’s family in France and run in the mountains. This year I finally have enough points.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy? Favorite post-run meal or beverage?
GU Rocktane Summit Tea and the GU Stroop Waffles for sure. After halfway I survive off of veggie broth and rice ramen noodles. I love water after a race, especially sparkling.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
Being on the Inside Trail Racing Team and completing The California 100K Grand Prix which consisted of running Canyons 100K, Miwok 100K and Quicksilver 100K three weekends in a row over a 15 day period. It was amazing. I actually grew stronger as each race progressed.
What was the best race advice you’ve ever received?
#SmoothFlow. My coach, Bob Shebest, at Point Positive Coaching explains, “It is a meditative state of running from pure focus and rhythm.” or “Go out slow and then really slow down.”
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
I had my first DNF at Angeles Crest 100. After 23 hours and 75 miles I had to stop due to an emotional collapse. Living with the DNF has now sculpted my running in a whole new way. I would not let go of the “RACE” that day, and embrace the “ADVENTURE.” This year was the “Year of Endurance” with 2018 being the “Year of “Adventure”. Next year, I will be focusing on showing others the beauty of mountain ultra-trail running, and how it can sculpt us as the best human we can be.
What race PR are you most proud of?
The Marin Ultra Challenge by Inside Trail Racing 50K in 2016. I had always wanted to break 5 hours. I ran it in 4:44:51, chasing Lance Armstrong all day. He beat me by 20 minutes.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made during a race?
Underestimating a course. I really thought I had Angeles Crest beat.
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
I have the Headlands Hundred coming up next. Then my focus will be my wife Michele, and getting her to the finish line of her first 100 mile race, Rio Del Lago 100 in November.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I am a Construction Superintendent for a custom home building contractor on the Bodega Bay Coast. I run before and after work. Running mainly with my ReddAntler Running and Healdsburg Running Company friends on the weekends, and with Michele during the week.
What led you to join the DPMR?
I needed volunteer hours for Rio Del Lago 100 2016 so I volunteered at Canyons and spent the entire day at Foresthill handling drop bags. I met so many amazing people that day and all of them were DPMR members. I then signed up for Castle Peak 100K and came to the training runs where I met everyone else. I just love what the club stands for. Now our local running club ReddAntler Running (named after Michele’s dad) has taken on the Rucky-Chucky aid station at Canyons and the Andromeda aid station at Castle Peak.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
Definitely volunteering at Canyons was the most fun. No, actually the training runs for Castle Peak was. No, wait, finally running Canyons and then running Castle Peak. But it could be snowshoeing this winter!
Favorite local trail?
The Hole in the Ground portion of Castle Peak 100K.
What’s your typical weekly mileage these days?
Anywhere from 45 – 70 miles, but always an average of 200’ of elevation per mile. Run Steep!
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
Camping, hiking, and hopes to add snowshoeing this winter. I also do transcendental meditation.
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
I don’t smoke anymore, and I haven’t had a drink of alcohol since 2005. My favorite times are spent with my wife Michele and 4 kids Kaila, Kai, Lucy and Luc. They are 32, 24, 13, and 10. I just became a Grandpa to my new love Sloane Lee. I owe everything to my loving Mom. She has always supported me, and pushed me to be the best possible person, just like my Dad, Pop Pop Bug.