By Alex Haglund
On Saturday, November 5, ultra-endurance athletes will begin the long run that is the Ozark Trail 100, a 101 mile run through the Mark Twain Forest in south central Missouri. Among those competing in the race is David Droege, of Millstadt, who grew up in Addieville and graduated from Nashville Community High School in 2000.
A 100 mile race is daunting even for Droege, an accomplished runner, but this will be his second ultra-long distance race of this season. On Sunday, September 4, the day before Labor Day, Droege won the Flatlanders Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) benefit in Fenton, Mo.
Flatlanders is a race to see who can have the most distance in a six or 12 hour span. During the 12 hours he ran, Droege covered 73 miles at a time of 9:50 per mile.
“I don’t do these ultra long things often,” Droege said (he had been featured by the Nashville News previously after competing in an Iron Man UltraMarathon.
Droege said that while he might get tired, or hungry, following a race like this one, in the immediate aftermath, it’s just pain that he experiences.
“Worn down? Yeah. It makes it hard to sleep when everything hurts,” Droege said. “Your body is kinda wrecked…in every way it could be, I guess.”
For the Ozark Trail 100, “the best goal would be to break 20 hours,” Droege said. Next down would be to break 24 hours, which he said is a benchmark for 100 mile races. And failing those two goals, “the third goal would be not to quit,” Droege said.
Droege ran track in high school. He is married, and he and wife Tiffany Droege don’t yet have any children. He says that he trains a lot, but “the consistency is not there,” saying he’ll run 40 to 50 miles in a good training week and just 30 otherwise, which, “isn’t great.”
Droege says that where he does do well is that he’s a “natural runner,” and when it comes to races like Flatlanders or the Ozark Trail 100, “the competition makes it enjoyable.”
During the Flatlanders, “I went a lot harder and a lot faster than I would have,” Droege said, “but there was a strong desire to stay in the lead.”
“There things, they just kind of pop into my head,” Droege said, when asked how he finds himself undertaking an ultra-endurance race. For the Ozark Trail 100, “I never would have thought that I would do it, or that I would want to do it, but, I read the email, and I thought, ‘I could do this…’”