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Local man making second attempt at finishing Burning River 100

7/18/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Brian Perusek will run in the Burning River 100 Endurance Run.
Photo courtesy of Greg Murray
GREATER AKRON — Brian Perusek enjoys both running and giving back to his community. On July 27 and 28, the Akron resident will combine the two to take part in the 100.9-mile Burning River 100 Endurance Run.

“The Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run is an ‘ultra marathon’ event which begins at Squire’s Castle in Willoughby Hills and ends at Falls River Square in Cuyahoga Falls,” explained Perusek, a licensed social worker and outpatient therapist at Child Guidance & Family Solutions. “The runners begin on Saturday, July 27, at 5 a.m. and must finish the event 30 hours later, on Sunday morning at 11 a.m.”

In order to be considered a finisher, Perusek said, runners must meet cut-off times at every aid station along the route and finish within the 30-hour time limit.

Up to 300 people are expected to attempt the run, Perusek said, and while the Burning River 100 is a race for some runners, it is simply a challenge for others.

“Like last year, Burning River 100 is the United States Track and Field (USATF) 100 Mile National Championship. People from all over the world take part in this event,” he said. “This is a race for USATF members, while others are just aiming to finish. To put that in perspective, last year the winner ran the event in 15 hours. I am hoping to finish in just under 30 hours. The majority of runners who finish the event finish in over 24 hours. There are cash prizes, but most ultra runners are focused on receiving their belt buckle upon finishing [the prize for finishing most 100-milers].”

This year will mark Perusek’s second attempt at running in the Burning River 100.

“Last year, the Burning River 100 was a learning experience. Training to run 100 miles is not easy, and it’s difficult to balance the goal of finishing this event with a full-time career. Last year, I dropped out of the event at mile 51,” he said. “I made several mistakes that helped my training this year. I ran one major event every month beginning in March 2013. In March I ran a 50K, in April a 50K, in May a 41-miler and in June a 50-miler. This was accompanied by several other weekday runs and most recently several back-to-back and night runs.”

Perusek said he is running in the Burning River 100 “for a few reasons.”

“I began running in 2009 and quickly became tired of running road events. I moved to the Greater Akron area and began spending time in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park hiking trails after work. I met some individuals by chance who were trail runners, and they encouraged me to run with them,” he stated. “Before I knew it, and before even running my first road marathon, I found myself signed up for Buckeye Trail 50K [31 miles]. From this point, I kept challenging myself to run farther. I ran several 50Ks, then a 50-miler and a 100K [62 miles]. The next step was a 100-miler, and my best option was to sign up for Burning River. It’s in my backyard and it’s on trails I know and love. I continue to run and aim to complete this event because I love spending time in the woods and I love challenging myself physically and mentally to see what I can accomplish.”

According to Perusek, the route for the Burning River 100 comprises 75 percent trails and 25 percent roads.

“The trail sections begin in the Lake Metroparks winding south to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park,” he said. “The Buckeye Trail is followed for the majority of the trail sections.”

Another reason Perusek said he is running is to raise money for his agency.

“I am a licensed independent social worker and outpatient therapist at Child Guidance & Family Solutions [CGFS]. This year, I initiated the MILES2MEND campaign to raise child and adolescent mental health awareness, and encourage people to be more active and practice better self-care,” he said. “CGFS has been proactive this year in helping to get out my message by posting information to our website [www.cgfs.org]. They have supported me and the MILES2MEND campaign by designating a portion of the website to include race reports throughout the year.”

For those who would like to take part in the Burning River 100, the registration closing date is July 25 at 9 p.m.

“There is an entry fee [of $260] which covers the cost of holding an event of this size,” Perusek said. “The fee also covers the nutrition that is provided at aid stations.”

For more information about the event, go to www.burningriver100.org.

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